Dr. Joseph Pober claims the sparkling résumé you'd expect of a Park Avenue plastic surgeon: valedictorian of his class at Columbia, Harvard Medical School, a prestigious residency, and 20 years in a thriving private practice a few short blocks from the Met.
But he possesses a rarer distinction still: Pober has recently rebranded himself on social media as "Dr. Redpill," and he’s now the toast of the pro-Trump internet.
The 63-year-old surgeon once lauded by Hamptons Magazine as “New York's Top Park Avenue Plastic Surgeon" has lately been treating some of Trump Twitter’s most notorious figures, while making time to pose pre-op in a #MAGA hat, and appear on Sean Hannity's and Bill Mitchell's radio shows.
Ever since video of the white nationalist Richard Spencer being sucker punched by a masked man on Inauguration Day went viral, the entire spectrum of the pro-Trump media — from hardcore alt-right blogs to Fox News — has fretted about the threat of political violence against Trump supporters. And when a prominent pro-Trumper had his nose broken and face cut in an apparently politically motivated Manhattan bar fight after the launch of conservative rabble-rouser Milo Yiannopoulos’ book earlier this month, the pro-Trump media finally had a grisly example of violence against a Trump supporter who wasn’t a neo-Nazi.
And Pober soon had a Trump-internet-famous patient. Jovanni Valle, the victim, had in June stormed the stage of the now-infamous Public Theater production of Julius Caesar. His fellow showstopper, conservative activist Laura Loomer, immediately began tweeting photos of the bloody aftermath, and attempting to crowdsource his medical bills. A follower put Loomer in touch with Megin Klunck-DeCarlo, who runs Pober’s New Jersey medical spa, and convinced the doctor to arrange a consultation.
Pober was horrified by Valle’s story.
“Political hate crimes should never be tolerated,” he told BuzzFeed News. “If there is anything that can be done to frustrate that development in America, every effort should be made. [Otherwise], it will escalate.”
Moved, Pober offered to perform the necessary reconstruction gratis — operations for which, all told, he would normally charge up to $30,000. Last week, Pober repaired Valle’s broken nose, sutured a cut on his cheek, and drained a hematoma in his lip — “black, coagulated blood,” Pober told Bill Mitchell. In an Instagram during a recent checkup, Valle called him “an American hero.”
“He’s taking a stance and sending a message against people who think it’s okay to destroy someone...over a disagreement in politics,” Loomer said.
During that initial consultation, talk naturally turned to politics. Loomer and Valle found themselves astonished at the degree to which Pober — a Republican and a Trump supporter — was aware of, as Loomer put it, “all this political violence against the right.” They suggested a nickname: Dr. Redpill, for the Matrix-referencing term popularized by the men’s rights movement — and later adopted by much of the conservative internet — which refers to politically incorrect epiphanies about feminist and liberal control of Western culture. And so a new Instagram account and a fledgling Twitter hashtag were born.
“I see no reason not to be the pro-Trump plastic surgeon,” Pober said. “I’m proud to be an American.”
Many of the most popular “redpills” — Jews control the world, the West is under existential threat from Muslim immigration — repeat age-old, highly offensive tropes about minority groups. Pober and Loomer, who is Jewish, insist that the nickname means no such thing.
“My understanding of redpilled is simply to be able to think for one’s self without the fear of violent repercussion,” Pober said.
Loomer added, “I was simply making a reference to the redpill, the truth serum, being awake and aware of reality. It was very innocent - no underlying conspiracy. As a Jew, I don’t think I’d be giving someone a name if it had an anti-Semitic overtone.”
In the next month, Loomer plans to undergo a rhinoplasty, Pober’s self-described speciality. (Loomer described as “absurd” and “sexist” online rumors that she was paying for the $15,000 operation with money from her two crowdsourced legal defense funds related to the Julius Caesar incident.)
“I think having a beautiful nose for whatever reason is a fantastic thing,” Pober said.
Pober, who has appeared on Oprah and CBS, said he would not be performing Loomer’s nose job for free, and that his recent rebranding was in no way “a business opportunity.” He said he would be open to making financial accommodations in the future for cases like Valle’s when "medically necessary," as well as for “burn victims.”
“I want to help as many people as I possibly can,” Pober said. “America isn’t a country where you can’t get health care. Everyone has health care in America.”
Joe Bernstein is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bernstein reports on and writes about the gaming industry and web culture.
Contact Joseph Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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