VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Support is pouring in for B.C.’s top doctor after she revealed she’s been on the receiving end of harassing phone calls, notes, and even death threats during the pandemic.
While participating in a panel on leadership “during a time of crisis” at the Union of B.C. Municipalities, Dr. Bonnie Henry — who has been the face of the province’s pandemic response — acknowledged that while she gets a lot of positive responses, there are some people who don’t like what she does.
“Nasty notes to leave phone calls to harrass my office staff. I’ve had to have security in my house. I’ve had death threats,” she said Tuesday.
The revelation quickly prompting many to condemn the abuse.
“Our province owes a lot to Dr. Henry and our public health officials. There’s absolutely no room for this abuse in BC,” said NDP leader John Horgan on Twitter.
“Shocked to hear of threats being directed at Dr. Bonnie Henry,” tweeted BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson. “She’s worked hard to keep our province safe and this is unacceptable. This is not who we are in B.C. #bcpoli”
Many online are also expressing shock and disgust at the threats.
“Ever since the beginning of COVID, Dr Henry has been the voice of calm for all of us. She is everybody’s mom. She’s doing the best she can to make sure we are all safe. How can anyone criticize that?” one person questioned on Facebook.
Another person wrote, “This is totally uncalled for. No one should threaten a public figure performing her duties to keep people informed on a pandemic statistics and guidelines.”
On Reddit, one person simply wrote “People are garbage” while another said, “No wonder she’s asking people to be calm and be kind.”
Henry said she felt that the harassment is partly due to her status as a woman in a high-profile position.
“I sense that people find that it’s okay to do that for a woman who’s upfront, more so than some of our male leaders but I could be wrong,” she added. “Maybe, it is that we just don’t talk about it and we hide it.”
During her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Henry has become a national figure, with shoe designer John Fluevog naming a pair of shoes after her.
But Henry is not the only health expert that has been harassed.
Canada’s top doctor Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Anthony Fauci from the U.S. have also faced death threats and online harassment and backlash.