Riots broke out in Los Angeles in July, spurred by a viral video
in which a woman alleged that a transgender, biological male exposed his penis to her young daughter at a health spa. People who showed up to protest the spa were met by violent Antifa counterprotesters, who beat, maced, and stabbed their way through the nonviolent crowd, leaving them bruised and bloodied.
In the viral video posted on Instagram, a woman complains about the alleged sexual assault against her daughter and is dismissed as a bigot by a spa employee and a customer, who see no problem because the person with the penis is actually a woman.
“So it’s okay for a man to go into the women’s section, show his penis around the other women, young little girls, under age?” the woman asks. “He has a dick—that tells me he’s a man.”
Video of the violent Antifa counterprotest that followed confounds the typical critical race theory narrative of the cultural left: the protestors appeared to be mainly Latino and included people who identified with the political left, while the far-left, masked, Antifa thugs appeared to be mainly white. The Wi Spa riots, which continued off and on throughout July, may be another sign that the more socially conservative Latino wing
of the left’s intersectional coalition is breaking away.
In one of the most memorable moments captured at the July 3 riot, a shirtless Latino man covered with tattoos
fended off a mob. He was immediately arrested by police after swinging defensively at Antifa with his rosary. Elsewhere in the city, masked Antifa beat and kicked Latino evangelicals; plainclothes police in one instance broke up the beatings shouting “peaceful protest!,” but made no arrests. Dozens were arrested at a later protest on July 17, in which Antifa showed up with knives, mace, and smoke bombs to counterprotest a group peacefully calling for women-only spaces.
The American and British establishment media did their usual job in painting the Wi Spa protestors as far-right extremists, while ignoring the shocking levels of Antifa violence altogether. “Far-right protestors called for a boycott of Wi Spa and chanted baseless claims about paedophilia,” The Guardian reported
. Newsweek smeared the protesters as believers in the QAnon
conspiracy theory, based on the thin evidence that they “chanted ‘save our children,’ a phrase associated with QAnon believers across the word.”
These smears run counter to the video evidence and the accounts of people who attended the riots. An anonymous woman who described herself as a Democrat and social liberal described the scene in an online video
Yesterday I went to the protest and I saw them being violent to all these normal people and ripping signs out of their hands and throwing things at them, and attacking people. . . .Antifa is making themselves out to be the heroes who got rid of the transphobes.
The woman said she was protesting because she and her six-year-old daughter also suffered a separate but oddly similar incident of sexual assault by a trans-identifying biological male in January 2020, who exposed himself to them in a hot tub. She recounted the incident:
We were having a great time, we were in there with other women, when a person, I guess, with a penis and beard came over with two girlfriends. They appeared to me to be lesbians, with tattoos and colored hair, and they appeared, the three of them, to be kind of progressive, activist types.
“I’m a registered Democrat…[but] this is different” the woman said. Indeed, she probably voted the same way in the last election as the Antifa thugs who were swinging clubs outside the spa.
Edward Welsch is the executive editor at Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.