'A Dark Day For Free Speech': Conservative Commentator Ann Coulter's Speech Is CANCELED At UC Berkeley Amid Fears Of Violent Protests And Sponsor Desertion

Ann Coulter's speech at UC Berkeley was officially canceled on Wednesday

  • She claims the University is responsible for the cancellation amid protest fears 

  • The conservative groups who sponsored the event pulled out on Tuesday  

  • By Anna Hopkins For Dailymail.com and Reuters

    Published: 13:15 EST, 26 April 2017 | Updated: 16:32 EST, 26 April 2017

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    Conservative commentator Ann Coulter will not speak at University of California's Berkeley campus after a dispute with school officials, who feared violent protests over whether a safe venue could be found.

    Coulter claims that the University is responsible for the cancelation, and criticized the group who originally sponsored her speech, Young America's Foundation, for backing out yesterday after previously suing the school for the right to host her.

    She said in a series of tweets: 'I'm so sorry Berkeley cancelled my speech. I'm so sorry YAF acquiesced in the cancelation. And I'm so sorry for free speech crushed by thugs.'

    The sponsors behind Ann Coulter's controversial speech at UC Berkeley on Thursday has backed away from the appearance, blaming 'leftist agitators'. Coulter is pictured in Washington DC in 2011

    The sponsors behind Ann Coulter's controversial speech at UC Berkeley on Thursday has backed away from the appearance, blaming 'leftist agitators'. Coulter is pictured in Washington DC in 2011

    She continued: 'If we had continued to fight we would have won.  I’m very sad about Berkeley's cancelation, but my sadness is greater than that. It is a dark day for free speech in America.

    'It’s sickening when a radical thuggish institution like Berkeley can so easily snuff out the cherished American right to free speech. I am so grateful to people like Bill Maher, Chris Matthews and Margaret Carlson for opposing Berkeley’s censorship.'

    All three had previously spoken out about the injustice of the University blocking Coulter's appearance, despite representing different political ideologies. 

    Blame: Coulter also blamed Berkeley and the YAF on Twitter. She complained to Hannity about Trump 'giving away DACA' but not getting his wall because he wanted to look 'humanitarian'

    Coulter claims that the University is responsible for the cancelation, and criticized the group who originally sponsored her speech, Young America's Foundation, for backing out yesterday after previously suing the school for the right to host her

    In an email to Reuters on Wednesday, she said that there would be 'no speech,' and criticized the groups for deserting her.

    'I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team,' she wrote.

    'I have no sponsor, no lawyer, no court order,' she added. 'I can't vindicate constitutional rights on my own. I was just supposed to give the speech.'

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    Coulter, one of the best-known conservative commentators in the United States, had been scheduled to give a speech critical of pro-immigration policies on Thursday. She said she may nonetheless still visit the campus that day.

    Last week, Berkeley officials said there was no safe venue at the campus on that date. They cited violent demonstrations by left-wing demonstrators in February hours before another right-wing media figure, Milo Yiannopoulos, was scheduled to speak.

    Berkeley proposed that Coulter speak on May 2, but Coulter said she could not make that date and accused the school of an effort to limit her audience, noting that it fell in a study week ahead of final exams.

    The YAF said it was pulling out because the university wouldn't meet its demands, including security. Pictured is a sign about Coulter's speech on campus

    The Young America's Foundation, a conservative group backing Coulter's speech as part of a national lecture tour, announced it was pulling out of the event at the university. Pictured is a sign about Coulter's speech on campus

    Just last week, violent protests erupted at the school between more than 200 Trump supporters and detractors, which led to the arrests of at least 21 people.

    The clash escalated when protestors threw stones, lit fires, and tossed explosives and tear gas. 

    On Tuesday, the Young America's Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans, which had organized the speech, sued university officials, accusing the public university of suppressing conservative speakers' rights to free speech.

    Later that day, Young America's Foundation said in a statement it could no longer sponsor the speech, blaming Berkeley officials. 

    On Tuesday, the Young America's Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans, which had organized the speech, sued university officials, accusing the public university of suppressing conservative speakers' rights to free speech

    On Tuesday, the Young America's Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans, which had organized the speech, sued university officials, accusing the public university of suppressing conservative speakers' rights to free speech

    It said they had not offered assurances that campus police would protect attendees from any violent protests, a charge the school denied.

    Their statement read: 'When Young America’s Foundation confirmed Ann Coulter would speak at UC-Berkeley as part of YAF’s nationwide campus lecture program on April 27, we assumed UC Berkeley would take all steps necessary to ensure the safety of students attending the educational event.'

    'In the meantime we discovered that the University of California Police Department at Berkeley has an official "stand-down" policy for any situation that develops on campus as long as the situation doesn’t involve the imminent loss of life, allowing the leftist thugs who have terrorized Berkeley’s campus to do so without consequence.'

    The statement then went on to list a series of requirements it deemed necessary for the event, including a room for 'hundreds' of people, the ability to publicize Coulter's speech, a central location on campus, and security on hand to deal with 'masked disruptors'.

    'Berkeley should be ashamed for creating this hostile atmosphere,' the foundation's statement continued.

    When the violence erupted in Berkeley they were quickly able to arrest one man (not pictured), and soon others were arrested as several fistfights broke out

    Just last week, violent protests broke out between Trump supporters and detractors in Berkeley

    One of the anti-Trump demonstrators was detained by police officers in Berkeley as fights broke out around her 

    One of the anti-Trump demonstrators was detained by police officers in Berkeley as fights broke out around her - 21 people total were arrested in the conflict 

    Dan Mogulof, a Berkeley spokesman, wrote in an email that the university had 'heard nothing' from Coulter or the sponsors. He declined to comment further, writing that he had 'no interest in communicating with her through the media.'

    Mogulof also shared a letter sent to students on Wednesday by Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks in which he wrote that campus police had learned of threats of violence should the speech happen.

    'This University has two non-negotiable commitments, one to Free Speech, the other to the safety of our campus community members, their guests, and the public,' he wrote.


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    Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4448674/Ann-Coulter-cancels-speech-UC-Berkeley.html