Riley Gaines, a former champion collegiate swimmer for the University of Kentucky, was allegedly physically assaulted after speaking to students about saving women’s sports at a Turning Point USA and Leadership Institute event on the campus of San Francisco State University, according to reports.
Fox News noted that Gaines’ husband, Louis Barker, said he had a number of brief conversations with her while she barricaded herself inside a room.
“She told me she was hit multiple times by a guy in a dress. I was shaking. It made me that mad. It makes me sick to feel so helpless about it,” Barker said, according to Fox News. “She was under police protection and was still hit by a man wearing a dress.”
Gaines posted a video on Twitter, which shows her being quickly ushered out of the event by police officers while facing a barrage of verbal abuse from the detractors who had gathered around her.
“The prisoners are running the asylum at SFSU…I was ambushed and physically hit twice by a man,” Gaines wrote in the tweet. “This is proof that women need sex-protected spaces. Still only further assures me I’m doing something right. When they want you silent, speak louder.”
The prisoners are running the asylum at SFSU…I was ambushed and physically hit twice by a man. This is proof that women need sex-protected spaces.
Still only further assures me I'm doing something right. When they want you silent, speak louder. 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/uJW3x9RERf
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) April 7, 2023
While Gaines was speaking to the students, some of whom expressed disagreement with her viewpoints, other footage from the event showed that a group of pro-trans protesters had become increasingly loud outside the room, drowning out the swimmer’s remarks.
“Tonight, Riley Gaines spoke at San Francisco State University to share her personal story of competing against a biological male athlete, Lia Thomas, at the Women’s NCAA Swimming Championships last year,” Eli Bremer, Gaines’ agent, said in a lengthy statement to Fox News.
“In the past year, her goal in speaking at universities has been to educate her peers about her experience and what the impact of the growing number of biological males in women’s sports will do to the integrity of Title IX. She has been questioned in civil and somewhat uncivil manners about her views many times, and she thoroughly encourages diverse viewpoints and debate on this issue,” Bremer continued.
“Instead of a thoughtful discussion tonight at SFSU, Riley was violently accosted, shouted at, physically assaulted, and barricaded in a room by protestors. It is stunning that in America in 2023, it is acceptable for biological male students to violently assault a woman for standing up for women’s rights,” Bremer added.
“This will not stop Riley from boldly educating people of the dangers of biological males in women’s sports. She will continue to speak the truth against the radical left that no longer understands the difference between men and women,” the statement concluded.
Charlie Kirk, founder of TPUSA, blasted the treatment of Gaines in a tweet containing additional video footage.
“This is unacceptable at an American college campus, even in San Francisco. Pray for Riley Gaines and for our brave students at SFSU,” he wrote.
This is unacceptable at an American college campus, even in San Francisco. Pray for Riley Gaines and for our brave students at SFSU 🙏 https://t.co/AAbXBkgOlY
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) April 7, 2023
The Golden Gate Xpress, the student-run newspaper of San Francisco State University, posted footage on social media showing a small protest forming ahead of Gaines’ speech on Thursday evening. As the protest grew larger and more chaotic, police officers escorted Gaines out of the room and into a separate room, where she was barricaded for her safety, reported Fox News.
According to the footage, some members of the TPUSA staff were also held up and escorted out of the venue during the protests. Assistant Dean of Students Chris Trudell was reportedly seen attempting to calm the situation.
In a statement to Fox News, a TPUSA spokesperson said the counter-protest to Gaines’ speech was “organized by SFSU’s Queer and Trans Resource Center.”