clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tito Ortiz makes transphobic comment about physician appointed to Biden administration

The Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem’s comments targeted Dr. Rachel Levine, the new assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services.


Tito Ortiz continues to use his social media accounts as a platform to spread bigotry and hate.

The latest example took place on Monday night, when the former UFC champion turned Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem made transphobic and fat-shaming statements targeting Dr. Rachel Levine, the new assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Ortiz shared a photo of Dr. Levine in an Instagram story along with a caption that read, “’I’m an expert on mental health and food disorders’ … says the obese man who thinks he’s a woman.”

Dr. Levine is responsible for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH), which oversees the nation’s public health policy. She also plays a key role in overseeing the White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to joining Biden’s administration, Dr. Levine served as the secretary of health for Pennsylvania for three years, and the state’s physician general before that. Yet despite being highly qualified for the role, the lion share of media attention has instead gone to Dr. Levine’s gender identity. While many have celebrated the decision to elevate voices from a community that has historically had little to no institutional power, others have used it as an opportunity to target Dr. Levine with a transphobic smear campaign that included dead-naming and misgendering her. Ortiz is among the latter group.

“I want to emphasize that while these individuals may think they are only expressing their displeasure with me, they are in fact hurting the thousands of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians who suffer directly from these current demonstrations of harassment,” Dr. Levine said in response to the attacks. “Your actions perpetuate a spirit of intolerance and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and specifically transgender individuals.”

Since being elected to city council several months ago, Ortiz has continued to spread dangerous conspiracy theories related to the far-right QAnon movement as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, which he routinely refers to as a “plandemic.” The former UFC champion is also a fierce Trump loyalist and used his platform to amplify the former president, associate with far-right groups, and propagate dangerous conspiracy theories such as QAnon, all while campaigning with the Trumpian slogan of “Making Huntington Beach Safe Again.” Ortiz even attempted to sell QAnon shirts on his clothing website during his campaign.

Most recently, Ortiz posted a series of anti-Semitic images on Instagram while trying to argue against mask mandates in the United States. One of the images was a cropped version of the Freedom for Humanity mural, depicts a group of hook-nosed men seated around a table under an Eye of Providence (the same symbol depicted on the United States one-dollar bill), playing a board game that rests on the backs of bent over naked figures—all obvious stereotypes attributed to Jewish people.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow