The “Free Speech Week” event at Berkley, which is nothing more than another publicity stunt by the racist far-right, has been exposed as the sham it is and appears to be doomed to fail before it even begins.
The event, organized by Milo Yiannopoulos and The Berkeley Patriot, a conservative student publication, has missed multiple deadlines and organizers have failed to sign contracts to reserve event space and have yet to pay their deposit.
Dan Mogulof, a campus spokesperson, said the organizers of the event have missed three separate deadlines so far.
They first missed the original deadline to sign contracts to reserve rooms and security to protect their white supremacist speakers on August 11. Then they again missed the deadline for the contract and deposit on August 18. The campus extended the deadline to August 25, but organizers missed that too. Once again, the deadline was moved back to September 15. This time, they did manage to finally turn in the signed contract, but they have yet to hand over any money.
Mogulof said that the university as no intention of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on security for an event they aren’t even sure is going to take place:
[If] you want to rent a venue, you have to sign a contract. The university is prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on security arrangements. We can’t provide them with that if we are not sure the event is going to happen.
Yiannopoulos’ press team announced a lineup for the event that can only be described as a who’s who of white supremacists and alt-right extremists. Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter, Pamela Geller, Mike Cernovich, Erik Prince, Monica Crowley, and a host of other fringe activists are all on the schedule for the event — or at at least Yiannopoulos says they are.
Following his announcement of the lineup on Thursday, several of the speakers issued statements saying they never had any intention of attending the Berkley event. So far, only three of the 25 speakers have actually been confirmed.
Charles Murray, who was included on Yiannopoulos’ list, said he never agreed to speak at the event.
“The inclusion of my name in the list of speakers was done without my knowledge or permission. I will add that I would never under any circumstances appear at an event that included Milo Yiannopoulos,” he wrote in an email to The Daily Californian.
Pranav Jandhyala, the news editor for the Berkeley Patriot, said it is Yiannopoulos’ fault that they don’t actually have any speakers lined up:
The Berkeley Patriot was under the impression that those speakers were confirmed and it’s seeming like some speakers didn’t know that they were invited.
Yiannopoulos responded by posting on Facebook that rumors the event was destined to be an utter trainwreck were just “fake news.”
In an email statement, Mogulof again explained the university’s position:
The University cannot defend spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide security arrangements for events based on a press release and inconsistent schedules.
With less than a week to go, it looks like the “Free Speech Event” will be another bust for the far-right regardless of what Yiannopoulos says in his unhinged social media rants.
Featured image via video screen capture