We strongly condemn the violence perpetrated against @iwf spokeswoman @Riley_Gaines_ on @SFSU campus. Riley was violently accosted, ambushed, and physically assaulted during a speech on sex discrimination women face in their own single-sex sports category. pic.twitter.com/uhND8UY2jX— Independent Women's Forum (@IWF) April 7, 2023
SFGate, San Francisco
Videos on social media show San Francisco State University police officers shielding Riley Gaines, an activist against trans women in women’s sports, and escorting her away from a swarm of protesters who showed up to a speech she gave on campus Thursday night.
Gaines, a former collegiate swimmer, rose to prominence as an activist last year after tying for fifth place with trans swimmer Lia Thomas in a race at the NCAA women’s championship. Gaines, who has since gone on a public crusade against Thomas, was invited to speak by the university’s chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative organization founded by far-right media pundit Charlie Kirk.
In a statement to SFGATE, the university said Gaines needed to be escorted to safety by campus police after a “disruption” occurred following her speech.
“We are conducting an ongoing investigation into the situation,” the statement said. “There were no arrests related to the event. The disruption occurred after the conclusion of the event which made it necessary for UPD officers to move the event speaker from the room to a different, safe location.”
Videos on Twitter, including one posted on Gaines’ personal account, show her being hustled out of a classroom and down a hallway by police as protesters follow and begin to yell at her. In the videos, protesters can be heard shouting obscenities at Gaines and taunting her for “running away” and “crying.” Many can be seen holding signs, and chants of “trans rights are human rights” are heard throughout the video.
The saga appears to end shortly after with Gaines being put in a classroom, the door of which can be seen being guarded by campus police as protesters stand outside. In one video, protesters can be seen discussing conditions under which they’d let Gaines leave. It’s unclear how long Gaines was kept in the room or when she eventually left campus.
Several conservative figures — including Kirk, Matt Walsh and Caitlyn Jenner — issued online statements supporting Gaines and condemning the protesters. Gaines herself issued a statement on Twitter on Thursday, saying she was hit twice and arguing that what happened to her serves as proof that “women need sex-protected spaces.”
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