Less than a full day after Milo Yiannopoulos had his speech cancelled at UC Davis, he was back on campus, this time surrounded by 200 of his supporters and very few in the way of protesters. The outspoken symbol of the alt-right was decked out in flamboyant attire, with a bouquet of yellow roses.
While his brief speech was mostly tame by comparison to others, he pulled no punches calling the university administration “liars” in describing what happened and the events that led to the cancellation.
As he told the crowd and after that clarified to the Vanguard, it is true that the College Republicans had cancelled the speech, but that was because “they were told by police that they would be responsible for property damage.”
He told the Vanguard he was hoping with the march, “I want the university to admit that they intimidated those students into cancelling the event in violation of their First Amendment responsibilities.”
In his brief talk he accused the administration of pandering to the social justice community, “no matter how hateful and divisive they are.
“I don’t have opinions that are particularly outrageous,” he said, but added, “I like to say them in an outrageous way of course. I would never claim otherwise.”
He told the crowd, “One of the things I was going to talk about last night was sort of this weird language that the progressive left use…” At this point he was interrupted by a heckler and the crowd drowned out the heckler with a chant of “USA.” He stated again, “One of things I was going to talk about last night was the peculiar sort of strategy that the left now uses to legitimize their own violent response to your ideas.”
He continued, “This new language of student safety – the idea that someone’s physical safety could be endangered by some sassy gay brit with the wrong opinions – ridiculous. They use the language of physical safety to try to scare you into not speaking up for your values.
“I’m happy to say, and this event demonstrates, it ain’t gonna work anymore,” he said. “There is no threat to student safety from someone with the wrong political opinions.
“The event was shut down last night because the people you’re so happy and proud about were smashing windows,” he told a heckler who again was shouted down. The crowd started shouting “fascist.”
Milo Yiannopoulos would tell the crowd that they were going to have a march and show the university that they would not be able to shut people up “because you have the wrong opinions.”
He would quip, “They like diversity, except diversity of opinion.”
In his comments, he foreshadowed that they would, as he put it, “recreate some of UC Davis’ theatrical highlights” by recreating the Pepper Spray incident from 2011.
The march proceeded – which could only be described as unlike any march that most have ever witnessed. It meandered through campus out through the freshman dorms and then eventually circling back.
Whereas a normal march would have a relatively long straight and narrow line proceeding through campus, this one at times more resembled a mosh pit. Milo Yiannopoulos walked, surrounded by a camera crew, and was being literally dragged backwards by his backpack. Media members pushed into the fray to grab photos or conduct interviews – all as the march moved forward.
Fans and curious members of the public would push in to grab photos and selfies with the man.
“My event at UC Davis tonight has been cancelled after violence from left-wing protesters,” read a post on Yiannopoulos’ Facebook page. “There are reports of hammers, smashed windows and barricades being torn away. The campus police can’t guarantee anyone’s safety so I’m not being allowed anywhere near the building. Stay safe, everyone.”
On Saturday, Mr. Yiannopoulos posted, “I’ll be marching through the UC Davis campus from 1 pm today, with Martin Shkreli and the College Republicans, to protest the cancellation of my event last night.”
The College Republicans added, “We will not stand for the repressive left perpetuating violence, censoring speech, and spreading hate.”
The university claimed, however, that despite some reports to the contrary, “there were no broken windows or other property damage during the protest. Earlier in the evening, one person was arrested inside the venue. No further arrests were made. ”
In a statement on Friday, the UC Davis news service said, “After consulting with UC Davis Police Department and UC Davis Student Affairs officials, the Davis College Republicans canceled tonight’s event featuring Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos. The decision was made at about 7:00 pm, 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the event, after a large number of protesters blocked access to the venue, and it was determined that it was no longer feasible to continue with the event safely.”
“I am deeply disappointed with the events of this evening,” said Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter. “Our community is founded on principles of respect for all views, even those that we personally find repellent. As I have stated repeatedly, a university is at its best when it listens to and critically engages opposing views, especially ones that many of us find upsetting or even offensive.”
Milo Yiannopoulos clearly felt that the university was trying to have their cake and eat it too. In his view, they were covering their rears to cater to the radical left.
Here is a video of the Pepper Spray reenactment.
—David M. Greenwald reporting