CINCINNATI (VINnews) — Nicole Baldwin, a Cincinnati pediatrician , suffered a coordinated attack from thousands of anti-vaccine supporters after she posted a TikTok video encouraging vaccination on her Twitter account Saturday evening.
The video depicts Baldwin dancing to “Cupid Shuffle” as she points to various diseases prevented by vaccines, ending with the words “vaccines don’t cause autism.” The video went viral on Twitter and TikTok but also unleashed a torrent of abusive and insulting comments against Baldwin.
Baldwin, 42, sees social media as a useful way to spread public health information to her patients, maintaining an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as well as running a blog with tips on keeping parents and children well. The Blue Ash, Ohio pediatrician said she created her TikTok account last week because she wanted to reach a different demographic than she does with her other accounts.
“Obviously, as a pediatrician, I know that vaccines are safe. And I think there’s a lot of misconception out there about them,” Baldwin told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “I know TikTok has this huge adolescent population as well as some younger adults, so my hope was to spread, you know, that vaccines are safe – spread that message to a different audience than what I’d reached on other social media.”
However commenters on all Baldwin’s social media platforms insulted her, referred to vaccines as “poison” and suggested she was being paid to promote vaccination. One commenter wrote, “Dead doctors don’t lie.” Baldwin also suffered massive negative reviews on her Yelp and Google reviews pages in an attempt to harm her livelihood and reputation.
“I think in this day and age, Google reviews and Yelp reviews are king,” Baldwin told The Enquirer. “And I think that that is the goal for a lot of these people: to hurt my livelihood, to damage my reputation because I believe something different than they do. And it is frightening.”
The attacks escalated to the point that people started calling Baldwin’s practice and harassing the staff, threatening to “shut the practice down.” Police are investigating the harassment.
— Dr. Nicole Baldwin (@NicoleB_MD) January 11, 2020