UC Berkeley Erupts over Milo Yiannopoulos Visit
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Free Speech vs. Hate Speech
February 1, 2017 – A speaking engagement by infamous Internet gadfly, Milo Yiannopoulos, was called off on Wednesday evening amid loud public outcry. Police confronted student protesters on the campus of liberal bastion, UC Berkeley, after an event sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans degenerated into episodes of sporadic violence.
Yiannopoulos, an editor for the preferred “platform for the alt-right” Breitbart News (founded by current White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon) was escorted off the campus after protesters, who were waiting for the notorious online bomb thrower, began rioting outside the school’s Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union. The “controversial” media figure has been criticized for making anti-immigrant, misogynist, sexist, racist and white supremacist comments on social media. He released a statement after authorities attempted to restore order, saying:
“I have been evacuated from the IJC Berkeley campus after violent left-wing protesters tore down barricades, lit fires, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground floor of the building.”
Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter after spearheading a series of lurid, personal attacks against stand up comic and SNL cast member, Leslie Jones. Despite his questionable online behavior the 32 year old out, gay, conservative was most recently offered a publishing deal to the ire of many progressives.
Berkeley is the second UC school that was forced to cancel a planned appearance by Yiannopoulos due to the objections of the student body. While triggering a fierce debate on free speech some school administrators at UC Davis expressed regret over cancelling a planned appearance by Yiannopoulos. The university’s interim chancellor defended the decision to invite the firebrand insisting:
“Our community is founded on principles of respect for all views, even those that we personally find repellent.”
A group of protestors greeted Yiannopoulos on Tuesday evening at an event on Cal Poly San Luis Obisipo’s campus. There were no reports of arrests at that engagement. Berkeley faculty had petitioned to prohibit the talk characterizing Yiannopoulos’ previous public comments as “harassment, slander, defamation and hate speech”.
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