Here’s Where Berkeley Free Speech Week Stands

Is it really to celebrate the First Amendment, or is it a PR ploy by Milo Yiannopoulos?

Milo Yiannopoulos (Official Leweb Photos/Flickr)

The speaker list for Berkeley Free Speech Week that went out just one week ago is — big surprise here — either not official or simply a bunch of bullshit.

Given Milo Yiannopoulos’ track record, the latter seems more likely. After the list went public, multiple speakers chimed in to say that this was the first time they were aware of being connected to the event, let alone confirmed.

Charles Murray, a libertarian conservative commentator best known for a book that claimed African-Americans have a lower IQ than white people, told the Chronicle of Higher Education just one day later that his name was included without his knowledge or permission. James Damore, the ex-Google employee with an unsolicited memo, tweeted that he was also added to the list without his knowledge and won’t be speaking.

“I will add that I would never under any circumstances appear at an event that included Milo Yiannopoulos,” Murray said. “He is a despicable asshole.”

UC Berkeley released a speaker list yesterday with far fewer names, 10 of which came with the stipulation that they were expected, but not confirmed. (Steve BannonAnn Coulter, and Mike Cernovich were three speakers with such a caveat.)

The school insists that on multiple occasions, the organizers, Berkeley Patriot and MILO, Inc., missed deadlines to confirm speakers for larger venues, but could still secure smaller venues if they gave proper confirmation. Yiannopoulos and his delegates, if you will, have been pushing the narrative that Berkeley has dodged communication and plainly doesn’t want Free Speech Week to happen.

The institution has resisted calls to ban such speakers in the past and did so this time as well. There are, however, about 200 professors and graduate students who signed an open letter calling for a campus boycott while Free Speech Week occurs.

All the expected speakers may show up without a hitch, or, at this rate, none could. Either way, it’s likely there will be some sort of spectacle.

It’s become increasingly clear that Free Speech Week was never truly about celebrating the First Amendment — which, by the way, is for protection from censorship by the government, not on the part of individuals or businesses —  but to Make Milo Relevant Again. Here’s UC Berkeley’s tentative schedule:

Sunday, Sept. 24 at Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza

Noon to 1 p.m. — Miss Elaine, a pro-Trump Miami drag queen.

5:00 to 6:45 p.m. — Lisa De Pasquale, former director of Conservative Political Action Conference; Lucian Wintrich, White House correspondent for the Gateway Pundit; and Chadwick Moore, LGBT journalist and former liberal.

Monday, Sept. 25 at Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza

Noon to 1 p.m. — Ariana Rowlands, president of the UC Irvine College Republicans and a Breitbart News contributor.

5 to 7 p.m. — Monica Crowley, a Fox News contributor who was nominated to direct communications for the National Security Council during the presidential transition until Politico found she’d plagiarized several sections of her Ph.D. dissertation.

Tuesday, Sept. 26 at Lower Sproul Plaza

Noon to 1 p.m. — Ryan Girdusky, senior contributor to Red Alert Politics.

5 to 7 p.m. — David Horowitz, think tank founder; and Pamela Geller, an activist and anti-Muslim immigration advocate.

Wednesday, Sept. 27 at Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza

Noon to 1 p.m. — Stelian Onufrei, Orange County businessman and congressional candidate; and Mike Cernovich, alt-right social media personality and conspiracy theorist

5 to 7 p.m. — Yiannopoulos, Bannon, Coulter and Alex Marlow, a Breitbart News editor.

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