A family GP used his Twitter account to intimidate a series of social media rivals opposed to his pro-transgender views, a medical tribunal heard today.
Dr Adrian Harrop, 31, who is an associate GP at Brownlow Health Central in Liverpool, gave his supporters clues that would allow them to identity and potentially target individuals for online and even real-world abuse.
In one case he revealed the name of an anonymous account holder and then demanded that she remove herself from Twitter – and by implication from the entire social media debate on the issue.
The Liverpool-based GP, who is also an advocate and campaigner for the LGBT community, made disparaging references to her health, posted references to her children, and revealed that she and her family lived within 10 minutes of the iconic Wentworth golf course.
Family Liverpool-based GP, Dr Adrian Harrop, 31, used his Twitter account to intimidate a series of social media rivals opposed to his pro-transgender views, a medical tribunal heard on Monday
Ryan Donoghue, for the General Medical Council, told an MPTS hearing in Manchester that in this instance Dr Harrop’s behaviour amounted to a campaign of cyber bullying.
But other rivals suffered similar incidents of abuse intended to be so intimidating that they would abandon the social media platform and therefore the ongoing debate on transgender issues.
The GMC launched its first investigation into Dr Harrop’s pro-trans campaign
In 2018, following complaints not only about the content but also the fact that he was a medical practitioner.
Two years later it decided to take disciplinary action against him, deciding that his most extreme tweets had impaired his fitness to practice and amounted to misconduct.
Dr Harrop sent out hundreds of tweets under his real name and with a ‘biog’ that clearly identified him. He has accepted some of a series of allegations against him, but denies all claims of intimidation.
Mr Donoghue told the tribunal: ‘He was motivated by a different view on transgender rights. He felt so strongly that he was right that he saw it as his job to silence those on the other side of the debate’.
At times his behaviour could be described as ‘sinister’.
None of the GP’s alleged cyber victims were named. But in the case of A, he posted her full name and details of her job, and continued to do so even when she asked him to stop due to concerns for here safety.
He warned her that he would only stop if she deleted her tweets and then her Twitter profile.
The GP derided one Twitter rival, telling her that he felt sure ‘your morning medication will have kicked in’. He then added a pill emoji.
He referred to A as ‘the creepy, stalkerish one’ before revealing her full name. A responded by tweeting back: ‘This is crossing a line. You are directly exposing me to harm’.
He then said he would only do so if she apologised for all she had tweeted, adding that he didn’t want her or others with her views to ‘feel safe or welcome here’.
Harrop, who qualified as a GP in September 2019 and started as a GP a month later, then tweeted: ‘A simple solution here…Delete your profile and remove yourself and I’ll remove all tweets with references to your name’.
At that point he had a Twitter following of around 4,000. This later grew to around 40,000. He sometimes tagged the GMC in his tweets.
Senior medics challenged Dr Harrop over his behaviour, but despite two meetings he carried on tweeting. His case was referred to the GMC in November 2019.
In the case of C, Dr Harrop left a series of clues relating to where the man lived and the university where he worked as a lecturer. A website reference added to the post was for a bed and breakfast near his home.
Twitter user D was said by the GP to be suffering symptoms of a medical condition he described as ’emotional dysregulation’. This was despite D not being his patient, nor ever having been examined by him.
On September 29 last year he referenced a tweet by an ally, and wrote: ‘D has engaged in a sustained and targeted campaign against a number of my friends. It’s time that this was brought to an end, by whatever means necessarily’.
Such language was ‘entirely inappropriate’ for a member of the medical profession to use, said Mr Donoghue.
Twitter user E was another of those to have engaged in Twitter battles with Dr Harrop’s ally, C.
The GP again referred to the woman’s health, despite knowing nothing about it. Then he urged her: ‘Try to stay calm, dear. Don’t get your knickers in a twist’.
He referred to the ‘fabulous’ idea of going on a trans activists’ trip that would take in Westminster Cathedral and Waterloo station before ending up at the iconic Wentworth golf club in Virginia Water, Surrey – close to E’s home.
The tweet was decorated with emojis representing a golf course, a church and a train. Another tweet referred to the schools attended by E’s children.
On one occasion Dr Harrop apologised for re-tweeting a message bearing a ‘misogynistic slur’. ‘It was an honest mistake,’ he wrote. ‘Mea culpa’.
In April 2019, at a time E was crowdfunding for her defence against an injunction brought by C, the GP sent out a tweet warning potential contributors about third-party costs.
He did this despite being a potential witness in the case, and despite knowing he was unqualified to offer advice. His tweet was therefore potentially misleading, said Mr Donoghue.
The case continues.