Right-Wing 'Free Speech Week' at Berkeley Goes Down in Spectacular Flames
A four-day parade of right-wing speakers, events and appearances by “alt-right” icons like Steven Bannon and longtime far-right provocateurs including Ann Coulter has collapsed into a disorganized mess with its would-be participants pointing the finger of blame in all directions.
National Public Radio reported Friday that the so-called “Free Speech Week” at the University of California at Berkeley has been plagued by confusion, missed deadlines and miscommunication and — according to Mediaite.com — speakers are canceling and withdrawing their support from what Gateway Pundit’s Lucian Wintrich called “a sh*tshow.”
The series of events was sponsored by UC Berkeley’s campus conservative newsletter The Daily Patriot, but Patriot staff missed a number of key deadlines for informing the university about “Free Speech Week” and its speakers. The university needed that information in order to provide adequate security for the conference’s raft of highly controversial guests.
“The University cannot defend spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide security arrangements for events based on a schedule built on a long list of unconfirmed speakers and/or a news release issued by an external commercial enterprise,” said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof on Monday.
More embarrassingly for event organizers — including disgraced former Breitbart.com writer Milo Yiannopoulos — a number of the guest speakers who were promoted as part of the event not only won’t be attending, they never knew their names were being used to promote the event.
“One dumbfounded speaker after another emerged to voice their surprise at their inclusion on the list, with many claiming to have never been contacted about the event,” wrote Mediaite’s Aidan McLaughlin.
Conservative social scientist Charles Murray said he was never scheduled to appear at Berkeley despite what the events planners say — and went on to call Yiannopoulos a “despicable a**hole.”
“Commentator Heather MacDonald was also surprised to find she was meant to speak at the event. As was the Google memo guy, James Damore (who told Mediaite his appearance on the lineup was an “error” and that he never planned on attending), and a litany of others. Ann Coulter never confirmed her attendance publicly, and neither did Steve Bannon, who is scheduled to appear at a political rally in St. Louis on Sunday,” said McLaughlin.
Yiannopoulos, meanwhile, insists that the event is proceeding as planned. The former right-wing rising star came crashing to earth in early 2017 after video surfaced of him attempting to normalize pedophilia during a talk show appearance.
“It will proceed exactly as planned,” he said on Thursday.
Wintrich disagreed, saying, “It is so incredible to have a potential event that showcases such an amazing collection of speakers....How can you lie to people and still tell them that it is going to go on as scheduled? It is unethical behavior.”