According to a report from the House Chronicle, a website the state of Texas maintained that directed at-risk teens to a suicide hotline was abruptly taken offline after a conservative critic -- and Republican primary challenger of Gov. Greg Abbott -- attacked it.
As the report notes, Abbott foe Don Huffines used the existence of the page run by the Department of Family and Protective Services to claim Texas' child welfare agency was "promoting transgender sexual policies to Texas youth," adding "These are not Texas values, these are not Republican Party values, but these are obviously Greg Abbott's values."
Noting that the webpage "linked to a suicide prevention hotline and other resources 'dedicated to helping empower and celebrate" young LGBTQ people,'" the report states that it quickly disappeared.
According to the Chronicle, "Within hours, the webpage was gone. So was the entire website for the Texas Youth Connection, a division of Family and Protective Services that steers young people to various resources, including education, housing and those on its LGBTQ page as they prepare for life after foster care. It was replaced by a message that states, 'The Texas Youth Connection website has been temporarily disabled for a comprehensive review of its content. This is being done to ensure that its information, resources, and referrals are current.'"
While Patrick Crimmins, the department spokesman, claimed the criticism had nothing to do with pulling the webpage, the Chronicle obtained documents that tell another story.
"Family and Protective Services communications obtained through a public records request show that agency employees discussed removing the 'Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation' page in response to Huffines' tweet, shortly before taking it offline," the Chronicle is reporting before adding, " Thirteen minutes after Huffines' [Twitter] video went up, media relations director Marissa Gonzales emailed a link to Crimmins, the agency's communications director, under the subject line 'Don Huffines video accusing Gov/DFPS of pushing liberal transgender agenda.'"
"FYI. This is starting to blow up on Twitter," she wrote.
That, in turn, led Crimmins to ping Darrell Azar, DFPS' web and creative services director, and write, "Darrell — please note we may need to take that page down, or somehow revise content."
According to the Chronicle, Abbott's office refused to comment.