The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy organization, has targeted conservative commentator Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire; the person who runs the Libs of TikTok Twitter account; and Seth Dillon, CEO of the satire site The Babylon Bee, accusing them of causing violence in a new report titled “Online Harassment, Offline Violence.”
The report argues, “Anti-equality, online extremists are leading a proactive and coordinated campaign of hate against hospitals and medical providers who offer gender-affirming care for transgender, non-binary and questioning youth.”
The report states it consists of “an informal exploration across Facebook and Twitter” that identifies “24 different hospitals and providers, across 21 states, who were directly attacked online following harassing, inflammatory and misleading posts from Libs of TikTok, Matt Walsh, and other right-wing accounts.”
Relying on misleading allegations of “lies” and “misinformation,” the report draws a line of causation from Libs of TikTok posting a video from a particular hospital detailing its own practices to inevitable online outrage resulting in angry tweets, emails, and phone calls from individuals, causing the hospital to stop youth-oriented transgender advocacy and/or practices and ultimately resulting in legislative efforts to ban the practices in the first place. The report gives examples of hospitals and doctors receiving hostile or angry communications, threats, and specifically, the false bomb threats against Boston Children’s Hospital.
The report insists, “What occurred in Boston is just one example of coordinated campaigns of hate, violence, and harassment being waged both online and offline against health care providers and children’s hospitals simply for providing age-appropriate, best practice, medically necessary medical care to transgender youth.” However, its claim of offline violence remains abstract and assumed. It provides no examples of actual violence.
Accusations of Hate Speech
Detailing what it argues is a coordinated campaign to target pro-LGBT organizations, the report notes: “hate speech accounts such as Libs of TikTok or Matt Walsh, a known transphobe at the alt-right news site The Daily Wire, post an inflammatory message full of disinformation about gender affirming care and call out a specific hospital or doctor by name.” The alleged campaign continues with “right-wing politicians looking to rile up the most extreme members of their base join in spreading the same transphobic rhetoric from their platforms, in some cases going so far as to introduce legislation to regulate children’s hospitals and gender affirming care providers.”
The final “stage” of these campaigns involves hospitals discontinuing transition practices for minors or legislative efforts that heavily regulate or ban said practices. The report concludes by placing responsibility on social media companies, arguing, “Social media companies have a responsibility to act and to not be bystanders while angry mobs intimidate LGBTQ+ people and our allies into silence.” Continuing, “Without intervention from social media companies, this will just lead to more hate speech, more threats, and more violence.”
Again, without citing any actual examples of violence, the report’s implication is that all negative interactions, from tweets to illegal activity like bomb threats, are essentially equal. The report’s authors then go further by arguing direct causation between the posting of information and the dangerous response. Their conclusion is that authorities must prevent or punish those posting the original information, which allegedly “caused” the violence.
Attempt to Silence Criticism
While obviously any form of violence or threats against an individual or organization is wrong and should be handled by the authorities, the popular left-wing argument that responsibility falls to commentators is absurd — even more so as the targets of their anger quite literally share the information left-wing activists post themselves. What the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT activists stubbornly refuse to consider is that the outrage and anger are perfectly justifiable. Despite activists’ best efforts, many people reasonably view transgender surgeries on minors as barbaric and destructive.
What these organizations are attempting to do is stigmatize anyone who participates in such criticism by accusing them of contributing to any potential violence that may occur. More to the point, they want to intimidate conservative commentators to prevent them from discussing or sharing provocative LGBT activism, often in their own words, in a way that will result in criticism or outrage. So convinced they are morally justified, they view the natural result of the public viewing this information with outrage and legislative pushback as inherently violent and hateful.
In truth, what we see is the very nature of the democracy they champion in action. A children’s hospital boasts of performing elective double-mastectomies on teenagers as young as 15, as the Boston Children’s Hospital does on its website, and the public is rationally outraged. They express their outrage to the hospital and to their elected representatives, who introduce legislation. The left typically champions public protest and the targeting of organizations with phone calls, tweets, and emails when they disagree with a policy or product decision. Such action only appears to become “violence” and “hate” when the left supports what an organization is doing.
In terms of “causing” things like fake bomb threats or threatening voicemails, the idea that illegal behavior from one individual is the fault of a completely unrelated individual is dangerous and irrational. Libs of TikTok sharing a video produced by a children’s hospital is not a direct link to an unstable person calling in a bomb threat later on. Only the person making the call is responsible. Whatever motivated them to do so is entirely within their control. We simply cannot allow the left to continue bullying critics of their agenda by accusing us of causing violence by doing so.