Attempt To Muzzle Milo Yiannopoulos’ Friday Speech at GWU
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An attempt at muzzling Friday evening’s speech at George Washington University [GWU] by Milo Yiannopoulos [Milo], the controversial provocateur who has been banned from Twitter and many college campuses, argues that Milo “should promise to abstain from hate speech,” says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who strongly opposes this emasculating PC-mandated gag rule.
Many of Milo’s recent scheduled campus appearances – including those at NYU, Villanova, Florida Atlantic U, U of Miami, U of Central Florida – all had to be cancelled because of student protests.
In others, activists opposed to the self-proclaimed “Most Dangerous Faggot” and “Internet’s Greatest Supervillain” used disruption to prevent other students from hearing his message.
The irony is that Milo, well known as a provocateur, was invited to GWU in an effort to prove that free speech and academic freedom are still alive and well on the campus after the recent appearance of well known rapper Action Bronson, selected by the official student body chosen to plan such events, was subsequently prohibited from appearing because some students objected to the lyrics in one of his songs.
This event is a vital test of GWU’s commitment to the academic freedom it grants to student organizations to present any speaker regardless of “disapproval . . of his ideas or motives,” says Banzhaf.
Will they disinvite him as they did with Bronson because some students don’t want other students to be able to hear his controversial views, or will it stand by and allow PC activists to prevent Milo from speaking as other schools have, asks Banzhaf, who plans to attend to help protect free speech on campus.
Perhaps responding to the growing chorus of criticism of colleges which suddenly disinvite speakers when small groups of students don’t want to permit other students to hear what they have to say, this piece in the University’s The Hatchet says that Milo Yiannopoulos “should be allowed to come to GW, but he shouldn’t be allowed to target minorities within our student population. Before Yiannopoulos comes, he should assure students and administrators that he will not actively engage in hate speech at GW.”
This newest twist in PC censorship should come as no surprise at a university which banned and almost expelled a student for briefly displaying an ancient religious symbol which was momentarily mistaken for a Nazi swastika – an expulsion which was only halted when GWU’s action was universally condemned both here and abroad, its fund-raising attacked, and legal action against it and its officials was threatened.
Shortly thereafter, a student was required to take down a Palestinian flag when other students objected, even as many other similar flags with less controversial messages were ignored, says Banzhaf.
Students who don’t want to be exposed to ideas contrary to their own, or which they find derogatory to their group, should simply stay away or stage events with other messages, but even the most controversial speakers should not be muzzled by promises to engage in only political correct speech, he says.
Milo’s speech on Friday evening is free, and was initially open to the general public.
However, his controversial talk has now been restricted to GWU students, although the reason for that change has not been announced, says Banzhaf, who notes that there is no exception to the protections afforded under free speech and academic freedom for what some term “hate speech.”