Fox News’ propaganda campaign to depict transgender people as public enemies just for existing is leading to harassment against private individuals. The Daily Dot writer Claire Goforth details how Fox News has built up an obsession targeting one transgender high school teacher in California, who goes by “Flint” on social media, resulting in a bomb threat and numerous hate mail.
Since September, Fox has published at least five stories about Flint (@justflintisfine), a transgender teacher in Orange County, California. The most recent was published on March 18.
Fox News has repeatedly written about Flint having books in their classroom that include content about LGBTQ sex—which they said were intended for a queer student group—honing in on passages that discuss group sex and BDSM. In its coverage, the right-wing network has not mentioned that the four titles it focused on are rated for the audience they are intended for: teens.
Flint said the district subsequently reviewed and removed the four titles out of hundreds in the library, which were intended for the queer student group. Yet Fox News’ subsequent coverage of Flint elides that, making it seem as if the titles are still available.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Dot last week, Flint described what it’s like to be targeted by Fox News as part of the right-wing push against LGBTQ-affirming educators.
“It was hugely traumatic. I’d never been the focus of any kind of national attention, especially national attention that was homophobic,” said Flint, who uses they/them pronouns and asked to withhold their last name for safety reasons.
Flint also provided The Daily Dot with emails the school received the same day Fox published its first article about them One example declared: “You should lose your job and face criminal prosecution for endangering a minor. You are a straight up groomer.” That and another message also using the “groomer” slur echoed the relentless messaging from Fox News and other right-wing media outlets claiming without evidence that LGBTQ teachers are sexually abusing children.
Things got even more serious in December, when a threatening email falsely claimed that both Flint’s individual classroom and the school district offices had been targeted with bombs:
Flint provided the Daily Dot with an expletive-laced bomb threat. The email used the same rhetoric that conservatives have taken to lobbing at LGBTQ individuals, educators, and advocates. It accused the school of encouraging “sexually deviant and degenerate behavior from its staff” and of being “child abusers.”
“We won’t tolerate this, we won’t stand idly which is why we placed multiple pipe bombs in [Flint’s] classroom, as well as in other locations in the high school,” someone identifying themself as Zamina Tamaro wrote.
“The Capistrano Unified School District Education Center [has] also been rigged with explosives and will detonate shortly after receiving this email. The school district is equally as bad for ENCOURAGING this degeneracy. Fuck you all, we’ll see you burn in hell.”
Once again, Flint found themself in the gripped by terror.
“It was the kind of trauma that’s not easy to recover from,” they said last week.
The bomb threat turned out to be a hoax. The Capistrano Dispatch reports that local police and the FBI are investigating.
Fox News has not been deterred from its propaganda campaign against Flint, however, even in the wake of the December bomb scare. The network has continued to write up messages targeting the teacher, with the most recent one published on March 18. Goforth further reported: “The author of Flint’s articles did not respond to a detailed inquiry sent via email on March 21. Her author profile is filled with stories covering people in the education system. Fox News did not respond to a general inquiry about the articles and bomb threat.”
Fox has copied the playbook of online trolls, targeting individual LGTBQ people and demonizing them as a danger to society. Notably, the network has incited violence and further rage against LGBTQ people in the public education system, then minimized its coverage of anti-LGBTQ violence when it does occur. The network also responded to threats against children’s hospitals by further amplifying its scare scare campaign against gender-affirming care.
The network’s coverage fits into the larger right-wing media ecosystem, which has sought to dehumanize trans people as a “social contagion” and depict them as an active threat against the entire country.