Ann Coulter (AP/Cliff Owen)

Ann Coulter cancels planned Berkeley speech, calls it "a sad day for free speech"

Coulter says that she's in danger, but doesn't realize who's instigating the violence


Charlie May
April 26, 2017 10:00PM (UTC)

After claiming to be threatened with violence, Ann Coulter said on Wednesday is cancelling her scheduled appearance at the University of California, Berkeley. She also claimed she was not receiving the proper support from local law enforcement who said that they could not guarantee her safety, according to the New York Times.

In a message to the Times, Coulter said that “It’s a sad day for free speech.”

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Originally the college cancelled Coulter's April 27 scheduled appearance because of threats due to active security threats, and that a proper venue to ensure safety had not been found. However, even after the cancellation was announced, Coulter said she'd be speaking anyways.

“I was invited to speak by two groups on campus, so I intend to speak,” she said.

The school proposed that Coulter instead speak on a separate date during the afternoon, but Coulter and the Berkeley College Republicans rejected that idea on the grounds that many students would have scheduling conflicts because the event would take place during the day and it was also a period of time in which students would be preparing for final exams.

According to the Times, the biggest blow to Coulter came when conservative groups started bailing on her speech:

Late Tuesday, the conservative group that was helping Ms. Coulter in her legal efforts to force Berkeley to host her, Young America’s Foundation, said it could no longer participate. “Young America’s Foundation will not jeopardize the safety of its staff or students,” the group said.

Without any support, Coulter said, she could not go forward. “Everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away,” she said.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Young America's Foundation blamed Berkeley and "leftist thugs."

"Berkeley made it impossible to hold a lecture due to the lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained leftist agitators."

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But much of the recent violence at protests has actually been started by far-right wingers. A couple was charged in connection with shooting a man outside of an event in late January at the University of Washington where Milo Yiannopoulos delivered a speech. In a Facebook message the day before the event, one of the two charged wrote "'I'm going to the Milo event and if the snowflakes get out off hand I'm just going to wade through their ranks and start cracking skulls,'" according to the Associated Press. And alt-right neo-Nazi's rejoiced after their violent clashes with anti-fascists at Berkeley a little over a week ago.

 The group that invited Coulter and sponsored her planned visit, The Berkeley College Republicans, conceded and also backed out on Wednesday, because things had grown too "hostile," according to the Times.

In a note to the campus on Wednesday Berkeley Chancellor, Nicholas B. Dirks, was upset with the lack of  concern for student safety.

“Sadly and unfortunately, concern for student safety seems to be in short supply in certain quarters,” he said. “This is a university, not a battlefield.” He added, “We must make every effort to hold events at a time and location that maximizes the chances that First Amendment rights can be successfully exercised and that community members can be protected.”

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alt-right Ann Coulter Antifa Milo Yiannaopoulos Protests Uc Berkeley

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