A case of mistaken identity online leads to false accusations and dangerous threats against Dartmouth Health physician

Statement of support for Andrew R. Spector, MD

A case of misidentification and rush to judgment on social media has led to false accusations of racism and threats of violence against an innocent New Hampshire doctor and his family. Andrew R. Spector, MD, a highly respected Dartmouth Health clinician, was falsely accused of being a man who used a racial slur against a woman of color in a video clip that has gone viral on TikTok. The false identification has caused significant harm to Spector’s personal and professional life, tarnishing his reputation and causing undue distress to him and his family.

Dartmouth Health stands united in defending Spector’s reputation and shedding light on the very real dangers of spreading misinformation, and we express our concern for the woman and any trauma she may have experienced as a result of the incident.

“I am not, and have no relation to, the man in the video circulating online, nor does anyone in my family,” said Spector. “My family and I are receiving threatening messages as a result of me being falsely identified as the man in the video. While I can appreciate that people rallied to support the woman who was targeted with vile, deeply hateful words and actions, the repercussions of spreading false accusations have been devastating to deal with, both personally and professionally.”

Misinformation, especially when it spreads rapidly on social media, can have severe consequences. It not only can damage the lives of innocent individuals like Spector, but also undermines the trust we place in our online communities.

“False accusations can be extremely damaging to individuals and their families. They can have a painful and lasting impact,” said William C. Torrey, MD, Dartmouth Health’s chair of psychiatry. “The speed at which false information can be disseminated is alarming, and social media users need to think critically to avoid situations like these.”

Dartmouth Health calls upon social media platforms, such as TikTok, and users alike to exercise greater responsibility in curbing the spread of misinformation.

A statement from Andrew Spector, MD:

A statement from Teresa Malcom, MD, System Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging:

About Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 56 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, which includes Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital, and multiple clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Bennington and Windsor, VT; Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.