Google & YouTube Sued for Discrimination: PragerU Takes Legal Action

LOS ANGELES — Prager University (PragerU) has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to stop Google and YouTube from unlawfully censoring its educational videos and discriminating against its right to freedom of speech.

The lawsuit cites more than 50 PragerU videos which have either been “restricted” or “demonetized” by Google/YouTube. The PragerU videos range on various subjects presenting a conservative point of view, and include a video by noted Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on the founding of Israel. PragerU previously compiled a complete list of their restricted videos here, which includes: “Why America Must Lead,” “The Ten Commandments: Do Not Murder,” “Why Did America Fight the Korean War,” and “The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians.”

In correspondence cited in the filing, Google/YouTube made it clear that the censorship of certain videos was because they were deemed “inappropriate” for younger audiences.

“Watch any one of our videos and you’ll immediately realize that Google/YouTube censorship is entirely ideologically driven. For the record, our videos are presented by some of the finest minds in the Western world, including four Pulitzer Prize winners, former prime ministers, and professors from the most prestigious universities in America,” stated PragerU founder Dennis Prager.

Prager added, “They are engaging in an arbitrary and capricious use of their ‘restricted mode’ and ‘demonetization’ to restrict non-left political thought. Their censorship is profoundly damaging because Google and YouTube own and control the largest forum for public participation in video-based speech in not only California, but the United States, and the world.”

The total number of people who currently use YouTube exceeds 1.3 billion people. Google and YouTube advertise YouTube to the public as a forum intended to defend and protect free speech where members of the general public may express and exchange their ideas. They have represented that their platforms and services are intended to effectuate the exercise of free speech among the public. According to Google and YouTube: “voices matter.” YouTube states that it is “committed to fostering a community where everyone’s voice can be heard.”

“However,” said Eric George of Browne George Ross, the firm representing PragerU, “Google and YouTube use restricted mode filtering not to protect younger or sensitive viewers from ‘inappropriate’ video content, but as a political gag mechanism to silence PragerU. Google and YouTube do this not because they have identified video content that violates their guidelines or is otherwise inappropriate for younger viewers, but because PragerU is a conservative nonprofit organization that is associated with and espouses the views of leading conservative speakers and scholars.”

“This is speech discrimination plain and simple, censorship based entirely on unspecified ideological objection to the message or on the perceived identity and political viewpoint of the speaker,” said former California Governor Pete Wilson of Browne George Ross. “Google and YouTube’s use of restricted mode filtering to silence PragerU violates its fundamental First Amendment rights under both the California and United States Constitutions. It constitutes unlawful discrimination under California law, is a misleading and unfair business practice, and breaches the warranty of good faith and fair dealing implied in Google and YouTube’s own Terms of Use and ‘Community Guidelines.’”

“There is absolutely nothing ‘inappropriate’ about the content of the PragerU videos censored by Google and YouTube; the videos do not contain any profanity, nudity or otherwise inappropriate ‘mature’ content and they fully comply with the letter of YouTube’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines,” said Marissa Streit, PragerU’s chief executive officer who has engaged in a year-long-effort to try and persuade Google to stop censoring PragerU content. Streit continues, “It’s clear that someone doesn’t like what we teach and so they intend on stopping us from teaching it. Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?”

“This is not a left/right issue. It is a free speech issue, which is why prominent liberals, such as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, are supporting our lawsuit,” Prager concluded.

The lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California is available here.

###

Advisory Legal Council:
Former Governor Pete Wilson’s Law Firm, Browne, George and Ross;
Eric George;
Alan Dershowitz;
Barak Lurie, Kelly Shackelford, Mat Staver;
and additional prominent attorneys.

PragerU, founded by Dennis Prager in 2011, is a not-for-profit organization that helps millions understand the values that shaped America and provides millions of Americans and people around the world with the intellectual ammunition they need to advocate for limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom. In 2016 alone, PragerU’s videos received over 250 million views, a figure that will eclipse 350 million in 2017. PragerU is a resource for all who value liberty. It is a threat to all those who do not.

Website | www.PragerU.com        Twitter | @PragerU

Free Speech & Free Speech Zones on Campus: DOJ files statement of interest in FIRE lawsuit

Kevin Shaw on the campus of Pierce College (Dawn Bowery/FIRE)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2017 — The Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a statement of interest in a California student’s lawsuit against his college’s free speech zone policies.

In March, Los Angeles Pierce College student Kevin Shaw filed a lawsuit challenging Pierce College and Los Angeles Community College District policies that restrict student free speech rights to tiny “free speech zones.” The lawsuit is part of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Million Voices Campaign.

“The United States has an interest in protecting the individual rights guaranteed by the First Amendment,” according to the statement of interest, a brief filed by the attorney general expressing the interests of the United States in a pending lawsuit. “The right to free speech lies at the heart of a free society and is the ‘only effectual guardian of every other right.’”

The statement of interest argues that, based on the facts alleged in Shaw’s lawsuit, Pierce College and the district’s policies and practices violate student First Amendment rights and denied Shaw “his right to engage in expressive activity in a public forum.” Shaw is currently awaiting a Nov. 14 hearing on the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

“I am humbled to have the support of the Department of Justice,” said Shaw. “Their statement affirms what I’ve believed all along — that the First Amendment is essential to American progress, and nowhere more so than on a college campus.”

In November 2016, Shaw attempted to distribute Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution and recruit new members for his student group, Young Americans for Liberty, along a main public walkway through campus. As he prepared, he was approached by an administrator who told him that he could not distribute literature outside the campus free speech zone, a tiny area on campus measuring approximately 616 square feet and comprising about .003 percent of the total area of Pierce College’s 426-acre campus.

Shaw was also told he must fill out a permit application to use the free speech zone. He was informed that he would be asked to leave campus if he refused to comply.

“FIRE is grateful for the Department of Justice’s decision to file a statement of interest in our lawsuit,” said FIRE Director of Litigation Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon. “As the department rightly recognizes, these policies severely restrict the expressive rights of all students on each of the nine district campuses. We cannot allow the First Amendment rights that Kevin Shaw and his fellow students possess to be taken away by administrative fiat.”

The lawsuit was filed on March 28 in partnership with Arthur Willner, a partner at Leader & Berkon LLP, who is co-counsel with FIRE in the case. In addition to challenging Pierce College’s unconstitutional free speech zone and permit requirement, the lawsuit also challenges an LACCD policy that requires the president of each LACCD college to designate at least one free speech zone on their campus. With approximately 150,000 students, the LACCD is the largest community college district in the country.

“This lawsuit presents Pierce with the opportunity to move to the right side of this issue by ending its unconstitutional violation of its students’ First Amendment rights,” said Willner.

If you are a student who has been censored on campus, FIRE and its Legal Network partners stand ready to protect your First Amendment rights in court. Students interested in submitting their case to FIRE’s Million Voices Campaign can do so through FIRE’s online case submission form. Attorneys interested in joining FIRE’s Legal Network can apply on FIRE’s website. https://www.thefire.org/

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.

Million Voices Campaign

Free Speech and College Campuses examined in survey by FIRE

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 11, 2017 — A new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education finds a majority of students on college campuses self-censor in class, support disinviting some guest speakers with whom they disagree, and don’t know that hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. The study also finds that Republican and Democratic students have different opinions on campus protests, disinvitations, and hate speech protections.
In the most comprehensive survey on students’ attitudes about free speech to date, FIRE measured student responses to questions about self expression, reactions to expression of other students, guest speakers, and hate speech. Some key findings include:
  • 46 percent of students recognize that hate speech is protected by the First Amendment, and 48 percent of students think the First Amendment should not protect hate speech.
  • Most students (56 percent) support disinviting some guest speakers. Democratic students are 19 percentage points more likely than their Republican peers to agree that there are times a speaker should be disinvited.
  • 58 percent of college students think it’s important to be part of a campus community where they are not exposed to intolerant or offensive ideas.
  • Very few students report that they would participate in actions that would prevent a guest speaker event from taking place (2 percent). Even fewer said they would use violence to disrupt an event (1 percent).
  • In open-ended questions, almost half of students (45 percent) identify speech with a racist component as hate speech, and 13 percent of students associate hate speech with violence.
  • In class, 30 percent of students have self-censored because they thought their words would be offensive to others. A majority of students (54 percent) report self-censoring in the classroom at some point since the beginning of college.

FIRE’s survey also found ideological differences in how students feel about free expression, both inside and outside the classroom. Very liberal students are 14 percentage points more likely than their very conservative peers to feel comfortable expressing their opinions in the classroom. Additionally, 60 percent of Republican students think they should not have to walk past a protest on campus, while only 28 percent of Democratic students think the same.

“There is clearly a partisan divide in how students perceive free speech on college campuses,” said FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley. “This further solidifies the importance of FIRE’s mission. Free expression is too important to become a partisan issue in higher education.”

Additionally, FIRE’s survey found that a majority of students want their schools to invite a variety of guest speakers to campus (93 percent), and 64 percent report changing an attitude or opinion after listening to a guest speaker.

FIRE contracted with YouGov (California), a nonpartisan polling and research firm, to survey 1,250 American undergraduate students between May 25 and June 8. YouGov calculated weights for each response based on the respondent’s gender, race, and age. A copy of the full report, an FAQ, and the toplines and tabulations from YouGov can be accessed here.

The survey project was made possible by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to conduct polling on campus attitudes, engage in legal and social science research, and mobilize a wider audience on and off campus in the fight for student and faculty rights.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.

Did You Like This Facebook Page? Government Seeks Info on DisruptJ20 Activity

Although the page is public, the warrant would require the disclosure of non-public lists of people who planned to attend political organizing events and even the names of people who simply liked, followed, reacted to, commented on, or otherwise engaged with the content on the Facebook page.

—————-

Overbroad Search Warrant Implicates Private Pages of Two Local Activists and First Amendment Rights of Thousands of Facebook Users

 

September 28, 2017, WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia (ACLU-DC) went to court today to block the enforcement of search warrants targeting three Facebook accounts as part of the government’s investigation and prosecution of activists arrested on Inauguration Day 2017 in Washington D.C.

Two of the warrants would require Facebook to disclose to the government all information from the personal Facebook profiles of local DisruptJ20 activists Lacy MacAuley and Legba Carrefour from November 1, 2016 through February 9, 2017. Although the warrants claim to seek only evidence in support of the government’s prosecutions of January 20 demonstrations, they demand—among other things—all private messages, friend lists, status updates, comments, photos, video, and other private information solely intended for the users’ Facebook friends and family, even if they have nothing to do with Inauguration Day. The warrants also seek information about actions taken on Facebook, including all searches performed by the users, groups or networks joined, and all “data and information that has been deleted by the user.”

The third search warrant was issued for the “DisruptJ20” Facebook page (now called “Resist This”), administered and moderated by Emmelia Talarico. Although the page is public, the warrant would require the disclosure of non-public lists of people who planned to attend political organizing events and even the names of people who simply liked, followed, reacted to, commented on, or otherwise engaged with the content on the Facebook page. During the three-month span the search warrant covers, approximately 6,000 Facebook users liked the page.

The ACLU-DC filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the Facebook users whose accounts are targeted, and a motion to quash or modify the search warrants, arguing that the warrants are overbroad under the Fourth Amendment (which protects personal privacy) and are particularly problematic because the lawful political associations and activities of the users and thousands of third parties will be revealed. The ACLU filing asks the court either to void the warrants outright or to appoint a “special master” who is not part of the prosecutor’s office, to review the Facebook information before providing to the prosecutor only the material—if there is any—relevant to their criminal prosecutions.

“Opening up the entire contents of a personal Facebook page for review by the government is a gross invasion of privacy,” said Scott Michelman, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU-DC.  “The primary purpose of the Fourth Amendment was to prevent this type of exploratory rummaging through a person’s private information. Moreover, when law enforcement officers can comb through records concerning political organizing in opposition to the very administration for which those officers work, the result is the chilling of First Amendment-protected political activity.”

None of the ACLU-DC’s clients in today’s filing has been charged by the U.S. Attorney with any Inauguration Day-related crimes.

The public first learned of this case when Facebook revealed it had received the warrants and challenged a gag order attached to the warrants that prevented the company from notifying its customers that their information was sought by federal law enforcement. Public interest groups including the ACLU, ACLU-DC, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Public Citizen, as well as internet companies including Google, Apple, and Microsoft, filed friend-of-the-court briefs arguing that the gag order should be lifted so the Facebook users could challenge the constitutionality of the search warrants under the First and Fourth Amendments. On the eve of the hearing on the gag order before the D.C. Court of Appeals, the government abruptly withdrew the order. Facebook then notified MacAuley, Carrefour, and Talarico of the warrants and the threats to their privacy.

“My Facebook page contains the most private aspects of my life—and also a frightening amount of information on the people in my life. There are intimate details of my love life, family, and things the federal government just doesn’t need to see,” said MacAuley, one of the ACLU-DC clients challenging the enforcement of the warrants. “Jeff Sessions doesn’t need to see my family photos.”

“This is part of a pattern of prosecutorial overreach in the repression of Inauguration Day protestors,” said Carrefour. “This warrant is more than just a violation of privacy. It is a direct attack on D.C.’s grassroots organizing community,” said Talarico. “In a city rife with inequities and injustices, the deck is already stacked against us. This overreaching warrant would strike a devastating blow to organizers working every day to make this city a better place.”

This is second known attempt by the government to conduct unlawful dragnet searches of the internet and social media in search of evidence against activists arrested on Inauguration Day. In a similar case of government overreach, the government had issued a warrant to website hosting provider Dreamhost for the IP addresses of the 1.3 million people who ever visited the DisruptJ20.org website. Dreamhost, supported by several amici and intervenors, challenged the scope of the warrant and went public with the government’s overbroad request. Amidst public outcry, the government asked the D.C. Superior Court to narrow the time frame of the warrant and eliminate the request for IP addresses. The court agreed and went further by demanding strict safeguards for privacy before the warrant may be executed. The government is now litigating the scope of these additional protections.

Today’s motions to intervene and to quash were filed in D.C. Superior Court. The case is formally titled In the Matter of the Search of Information Associated with Facebook Accounts disruptj20, lacymacauley, and legba.carrefour That Is Stored at Premises Controlled by Facebook, Inc.

Legal documents can be found at:

https://www.acludc.org/en/cases/matter-search-information-associated-facebook-accounts-disruptj20-etc

Controversial Speakers & Protesters on Campus

Photo Credit: Chris Meiamed

“Protesters should not be permitted to shut down or shout down the speech, preventing others from hearing the speaker.”

PEN AMERICA REPORT SETS OUT PRINCIPLES TO DEFUSE CAMPUS FREE SPEECH CONTROVERSIES

RECOMMENDATIONS ON HANDLING CONTROVERSIAL CAMPUS SPEAKERS

  • Once a body has decided to extend an invitation to a campus speaker, the choice to withdraw it must meet far more stringent criteria.
  • Except in the most extreme cases, concerns over threats of violence or the potential outbreak of violence should not be grounds for canceling a controversial speech or event.
  • That a campus event may be colored by protests should also not be a factor in a decision to withdraw an invitation.
  • When a speaking invitation sparks protests, those who object and wish to protest should have an opportunity to make themselves heard.
  • Protesters should not be permitted to shut down or shout down the speech, preventing others from hearing the speaker.

Addressing concerns that recent campus controversies may lead a rising generation to grow alienated from core American values of free speech, PEN America released the “PEN America Principles on Campus Speech” to help guide university students, faculty, and administrators to advance inclusion and equality while safeguarding intellectual and academic freedom.

The Principles were released as part of the groundbreaking investigative report titled And Campus for All: Diversity, Inclusion, and Free Speech at U.S. Universities, which examines the future of free speech in American higher education. While declaring that there is no current crisis for free speech on campus, the report notes, “Free speech advocates face an urgent task to articulate how unfettered expression can be reconciled with acute demands for greater equality and inclusion, and, indeed, how such freedoms are essential to the realization of these goals.”

The full report is available here:

https://pen.org/sites/default/files/PEN_campus_report_final_online_2.pdf

About PEN America:

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Founded in 1922, PEN America is the largest of more than 100 centers of PEN International. Our strength is in our membership—a nationwide community of more than 4,000 novelists, journalists, poets, essayists, playwrights, editors, publishers, translators, agents, and other writing professionals. For more information, visit pen.org.

 

Speech Code: What does it mean and is it legal at American Universities?

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) defines a “speech code” as any university regulation or policy that prohibits expression that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large. Any policy—such as a harassment policy, a protest and demonstration policy, or an IT acceptable use policy—can be a speech code if it prohibits protected speech or expression.

Many speech codes impermissibly prohibit speech on the basis of content and/or viewpoint. An example of this type of policy would be a ban on “offensive language” or “disparaging remarks.” Other speech codes are content-neutral but excessively regulate the time, place, and manner of speech. A policy of this type might limit protests and demonstrations to one or two “free speech zones” on campus and/or require students to obtain permission in advance in order to demonstrate on campus.

If universities applied these rules to the letter, major voices of public criticism, satire, and commentary would be silenced on American campuses, and some of our greatest authors, artists, and filmmakers would be banned. These codes also lead students to believe they have an absolute right to be free from offense, embarrassment, or discomfort. As a result, other students begin the compromise of self-censorship.

These attitudes stay with students long after graduation. If students on our nation’s campuses learn that jokes, remarks, and visual displays that “offend” someone may rightly be banned, they will not find it odd or dangerous when the government itself seeks to censor and to demand moral conformity in the expression of its citizens. A nation that does not educate in freedom will not survive in freedom, and will not even know when it has lost it. It is to prevent this unspeakable loss of freedom that FIRE has created FIRE’s Spotlight Database.

The Spotlight Speech Codes Database is searchable by school name or state. Every year, FIRE reads through the rules governing student speech at more than 400 of our nation’s biggest and most prestigious universities to document the institutions that ignore students’ rights—or don’t tell the truth about how they’ve taken them away. FIRE’s Spotlight database will tell you if your school is one of them.

Spotlight

To read the most recent published report on Speech Codes:

Spotlight on Speech Codes 2017: Full Report

https://d28htnjz2elwuj.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/12115009/SCR_2017_Full-Cover_Revised.pdf

 

Milo vs. Refuse Fascism Today in Berkeley 9.24.17: No Masks Allowed

MARCH FOR FREE SPEECH EVENT COURTESY FACEBOOK

The March for Free Speech through UC Berkeley with Milo Yiannopoulos, Pamela Geller, Mike Cernovich, and more speakers will take place this Sunday at 12:00pm (NOON).

COUNTER-EVENT

Sunsara Taylor, a writer for Revcom.us and one of the co-initiators of Refuse Fascism, has called on everyone to stand up against Milo at Sproul at 10 am to preempt Milo’s plans.

“Refuse Fascism along with other groups is planning to be out at Sproul on Sunday to protest and confront the Milo-led fascists, and understand full well that this battle is far from over, and that it underscores the urgency of driving this whole fascist regime from power.” Courtesy Refuse Fascism.org

UC Berkeley Police Department said in an alert that there is still a possibility for large crowds and demonstrations on and near campus Sept. 24.

The list of prohibited items is as follows:

No backpacks or bags

Weapons (firearms/simulated firearms)

Ammunition

Weapons (dirks/daggers /ice picks)

Improvised Weapons as determined by Law Enforcement Officers

Tasers /stun guns or similar devices

Mace/pepper spray/bear spray/wasp spray

Hard plastic, metal, or glass bottles and jars (Nalgene, bike water bottles, etc.)

Wearing masks of any kind

Gas masks

Helmets

Animals other than working service animals

No object/sign larger than 30” X 30” (objects/signs will only be allowed if made of foam core, cardboard or paper)

Shields

Balls or other projectiles

Hard or frozen fruit/vegetables

Sticks /selfie sticks/poles/clubs/pipes (wood, plastic or metal)

Chains with padlocks

Baseball bats

Fireworks

Explosive devices

Incendiary devices

Aerosols/pressurized cans

Batteries

Hard coolers

Umbrellas

Artificial noise making devices

Monos/tripods

Laser pointers

Tobacco products (including e-cigarettes)

Skateboards/scooters/bicycles

Bicycle U-locks

Balloons

Illegal drugs

BBQ Grills of any kind (charcoal, propane, etc.)

Structures, canopies or pop-up tents

Wagons or carts that can be pulled

Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems

Packages

Liquid (other than water in factory-sealed, clear plastic bottles

Milo’s Modified Plan for Berkeley Free Speech Event Outlined in Press Conference

Although original plans for a 4-day Free Speech Week in Berkeley hosted by Milo Yiannapoulos have been tabled, a Free Speech event is still planned for Sunday, September 24, 2017 at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza at noon.

Flanked by conservatives Mike Cernovich and Pamela Geller, who promise to attend the rally, as well as Lauren Southern and others.

Link to full press conference:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/myiannopoulos/videos/?ref=page_internal

Below is his full press release regarding the event and Milo’s official statement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MILO YIANNOPOULOS STATEMENT ON FREE SPEECH WEEK

9/23/2017

We are calling an emergency press conference today earlier than scheduled for two reasons.

First, I’m sorry to say that the student group hosting Free Speech Week has withdrawn its sponsorship. We were not given advance notice of this and I’m disappointed to have been completely blindsided by their letter, a copy of which is available on my Facebook and YouTube.

I do understand their fears and they are right on all counts when they say UC Berkeley is threatening their educational futures. But we cannot host an official university event without a student sponsor.

So: we will be hosting an unofficial university event. My security team confirmed to me this morning that the police department will be out in force on Sproul Plaza tomorrow at noon. We will not be deterred. We will proceed no matter what, in whatever format we can, to realise the promise of Free Speech Week and send a message that conservatives will not be bowed by pressure from academics, the media or anyone else.

UC Berkeley hypocritically named this academic year its “Year of Free Speech”, which is something you’d only do if you had a really serious PR problem. That PR problem will be worse, not better, today, and Berkeley has only itself to blame.

The administration has done everything in its power to crush its own students’ aspirations. UC Berkeley may have a deservedly poor reputation for free speech, and its students will graduate knowing less than when they came in as freshmen, but you have to give the school credit: they are masters of bureaucratic dirty dealing.

Under the terms currently offered to us by the university, Berkeley Free Speech Week could be more safely held in a London no-go zone or in a Paris Shariah-compliant area. It would be safer to stand in a Stockholm ghetto and blame Muslims for the rape epidemic in Sweden than to embrace free speech in Berkeley, a town that considers ANTIFA its unofficial police force. Nonetheless, we will be continuing with our plans, albeit in modified form.

I had hoped to use this press conference to discuss the speakers and events planned for Berkeley Free Speech Week. And I will. But that has become a little more complicated as of late last night. The first thing to tell you is that there will indeed be speeches and rallies this week, beginning tomorrow on the UC Berkeley campus. But before I continue, I’d like to reaf a statement from Mike Wright of the Berkeley Patriot.

*******************************************************************

The Berkeley Patriot, a UC Berkeley student organization had proposed hosting a “free speech” week on the campus later this month. Contrary to their assurances and to their statements to the media, the UC Berkeley administration has done everything in its bureaucratic powers to obstruct and prevent the Free Speech Week event from occurring.

Despite depositing tens of thousands of dollars in reservation monies, submitting to endless forms and duplicate requests for information, and being subjected to overt pressure to discontinue the event, the students of the Berkeley Patriot persevered.

However, after the Berkeley Patriot filed a complaint with the US Department of Justice earlier this week, the UC Berkeley administration began an extensive, co-ordinated campaign of harassment and retaliation against our members. Baseless and unconstitutional charges of “hate speech” and other odious campus rules violations have been leveled against our members, coupled with threats to conduct “investigations.” The adminstration’s threats are reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials.

Several members of the Berkeley Patriot are concerned that there will be consequences up to and including expulsion from the university as retaliation for our sponsorship of Free Speech Week. These threats to the academic freedom and futures of our members are too much to bear. Accordingly, we must regretfully withdraw our sponsorship.

Let there be no mistake. We would not be cancelling the event but for the wrongful, illegal, and retaliatory action by the UC Berkeley administration-actions that escalated after we filed our complaint with the Justice Department. Milo Yiannopoulos and his team at Milo, Inc did everything they could to make Free Speech Week a success, including underwriting the event. They have already spent over $100,000 on security fees and other costs.

Retaliation by government officials against persons who make complaints of corruption or other government misconduct can result in criminal or civil liability. Because of the retaliatory actions by the UC Berkeley administration, the Berkeley Patriot, through its legal counsel, is in the process of filing an additional complaint with the US Department of Justice for retaliation. We will release a copy of the complaint when it is sent to the appropriate federal agencies.

We apologize to the many people who have travelled in to California for this event. We hope you understand that UC Berkeley has placed us in an impossible position from which there is no happy resolution.

*******************************************************************

So, UC Berkeley this week engineered a witch hunt in the form of a formal police investigation against its own students. It’s almost impossible to believe. We learned it in an email from Chancellor Christ. This is the same Chancellor Christ who previously declared that Berkeley is the home of free speech. But as soon as a couple of Republican students put up posters that offended her, she called for a police investigation into hate crimes.

Since when did putting up offensive posters become a crime in America? It’s the foulest hypocrisy imaginable and it reveals what’s really going on. Berkeley has become a police state that sticks the cops on students who say things that the administration doesn’t like.

What’s more, various officials from the university have privately threatened these students’ academic careers, their hopes and their futures. I cannot ask the Berkeley Patriot to risk their entire futures and nor should anyone else.

With the loss of our student sponsor and absent a sensible agreement from UC Berkeley itself about indoor venues, I can confirm today that we will be rescheduling Ann Coulter and Steven Bannon for later in the academic year.

But to repeat, tomorrow’s rally will proceed.

UC Berkeley knew that our headline speakers had to be indoors for security reasons. In fact, their security advisors reached the same conclusion as ours — for speakers like Ann Coulter, who had already experienced Berkeley’s trademark hostility, there was no way an outdoor venue could be made safe. To say nothing of the former chief strategist to the President, Steve Bannon. Or Uncle Steve as he’s known now to the conservative movement.

Berkeley thus made it their mission to shut down the arrangements the Berkeley Patriot made for speaking halls, and forced Berkeley Free Speech Week to be an outside-only event.

To ensure the venues were lost, they wrote contracts with the Berkeley Patriot that lacked a force majeure clause. This means that the six figure security fees they were demanding were non-refundable in the event that Berkeley itself cancelled the event. Why would the students sign a contract without a force majeure clause, when the university has proven time and time again it is happy for Antifa and friends to shut down events as they stand by watching?

Then the administration dodged questions on that very clear and simple point for days on end. A fully annotated email history is available on my Facebook and Instagram and to the people in this room today for those who’d like more granular detail.

While this was going on, UC Berkeley engaged in a co-ordinated and massive misinformation campaign with the willing participation of the press, including some of the journalists in this room, who credulously reported whatever the university told them.

Two narratives have sprung up as a result. The first is that the Berkeley Patriots were hopelessly disorganized. This is largely untrue, though of course I am disappointed by their actions today.

The second is that I somehow knowingly allowed fans to spend money travelling to Berkeley though I suspected the event would be cancelled. This is equally false.

To those fans who travelled long distances and booked hotels to be here, I am sorry that UC Berkeley screwed you like they did. They screwed all of us. I’m out $100,000 on this event with no realistic prospect of ever seeing that money again.

For those of you in the press who think this was all a charade for attention, grow up. There are a lot cheaper ways to make headlines than wiring $65,000 to UC Berkeley. To say nothing of the staff time and other expenses we have already incurred. I would not have asked Mike, a friend of mine, to miss time with his children for a publicity stunt. And I wouldn’t have wired Berkeley tens of thousands of dollars either.

But even though I lay the blame for this event squarely at the feet of UC Berkeley administrators, I am going to make it right for the people who travelled in. Please forward your flight tickets, train receipts and hotel reservations to berkeley@milo-inc.com. We have a huge surprise planned for you tomorrow.

I deeply appreciate the efforts freedom-loving Americans have gone to in order to support this event and I am personally grateful to the fans who came in from all four corners of the earth. I want you to know that I share your frustration with the administration and with the media, and that I will take care of you. Berkeley did this to you, but I’m going to fix it.

I’m also announcing today that I am endowing conservative students at Berkeley with $10,000 so that they can continue the good work of holding UC Berkeley’s feet to the fire. This endowment will be called the Mario Savio Free Speech Fund and it is intended to mitigate the damage done to the Berkeley Patriot and conservatives on campus by UC Berkeley’s bureaucratic machinations.

I have with me here today the Mario Savio Award for Free Speech, which I intended to give Ann Coulter on the final night of Free Speech Week. I considered smashing it on the steps on Sproul Plaza to declare that free speech at Berkeley is dead, but instead I will take it home and keep it in my closet until the day we successfully host Ann on Berkeley’s campus. I’m optimistic that this will be very soon.

UC Berkeley has decided to transition from being the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement to the funeral pyre of free speech. But I will not allow them to win. They may have forced us to reschedule some of our headliners. They may have chased away most of our warm-up acts with fear, uncertainty and doubt. But we will not be deterred.

In my capacity as a private person I will give a speech every day from Sunday to Wednesday on the steps of Sproul Plaza and speak at length on the subjects Free Speech Week was advertised to cover.

Although without student sponsorship we can no longer offer our speakers the police protection that would have come with an officially registered event at UC Berkeley, we nevertheless invite the Berkeley PD to make peaceable assembly in Sproul Plaza safe in the coming week, so that I, and anyone else who would like to speak in his or her capacity as a private citizen, can exercise our Constitutional rights without bodily harm. I will be joined tomorrow on the Berkeley campus by Mike Cernovich, Lauren Southern, Sabo, Ariana Rowlands, Lisa de Pasquale and Pamela Geller.

The reason we’ve gone to all this trouble is simple but important. Free speech is under threat like never before on college campuses. A recent survey from the Brookings Institute paints an even scarier picture: 1 in 5 students are fine with violence as a response to unpopular or controversial speech. This is the devastating legacy of three decades of unchallenged progressivism on American college campuses.

Berkeley is the home of the Free Speech Movement, supposedly. But Berkeley opposed free speech from the Left in the 60s just as it opposes it from the Right today. Both positions are wrongheaded and dangerous. Although the political dynamics of free speech have changed — now it’s conservatives fighting the liberal establishment for the right to express themselves — one thing remains constant from the 1960s to today, and that is UC Berkeley’s unwavering hostility to free expression.

Although I’m disappointed by Chancellor Christ’s and Janet Napolitano’s statements about me and about our speakers, I recognize and appreciate their commitment, however perfunctory, to the First Amendment in their commitment of police resources to Free Speech Week. I respect their difference of opinion, but I think they are deeply misguided about the sort of people we are.

I invite the Chancellor and I invite Janet Napolitano to debate me on free speech. Perhaps Sam Harris or Dave Rubin could moderate, on the Berkeley campus of course. America has been waiting for a clash of worldviews on this most critical of subjects. How about we make it happen?

Planning Free Speech Week has been very expensive and very complicated. We have been asked to spend hundreds of thousands on an event at Berkeley while Berkeley refuses to deal with us directly, insisting on working though students because it knows it can hoodwink, manipulate, bully and intimidate them.

But we soldier on knowing we are on the right side of history, knowing that free speech has to be fought for anew in every generation, knowing that in the end, common sense will prevail and freedom will win. There is no appetite in America for the destruction or erosion of the First Amendment. But only a few people each generation bother to stand up for the rights of everyone else.

The good news is that there are some happy warriors left. The even better news is that Free Speech Week is just the opening salvo in a seven-month long assault on leftist intolerance in American universities. If you thought this was the end of something, sorry, think again. I’m going to be doing this for another 30 years.

We will go through this madness, and we will do it again and again and again, until conservative speakers are given the same rights and privileges as their left-wing counterparts at every college in the country. I will not rest until every student in America feels able to share their politics openly and proudly without fear of being marked down on essays, laughed at in the classroom or punished for inviting their speaker of choice.

Along those lines, Ariana Rowlands, chair emeritus of the College Republicans at UC Irvine, has a plan.

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Due to the constant and increasing suppression of conservative rights by college administrators, as made even only more apparent by UC Berkeley’s cowardly handling of Free Speech Week, I would like to propose the creation of a California College Republicans Legal Defense Team. This team of lawyers would be for the purpose of providing legal assistance to College Republican chapters in the state and is something we do not currently have at our disposal. Our current resources have been organizations like FIRE, Harmeet Dhillon Law Firm, Shawn Steel Law Firm, and Freedom X. Under the current model California College Republicans has not played an essential role in connecting College Republican chapters with legal support, and I feel this has led to the lack in confidence on the part of many college students who end up being too scared to stand up and take action. The purpose of the team would be as follows:

1. To connect chartered College Republican chapters with free legal assistance should they need it.
2. To deter college administrations and instructors from suppressing College Republican chapters
3. To provide assurance to College Republicans that they will be protected and that the organization they charter under will provide that.

It is my hope that announcing my intention to create a California College Republicans Legal Defense Team at this press conference today will not only create an immediate deterrence to prevent college administrations and professors from targeting conservative students and groups, but that it will also gain national attention and hopefully lead other states and maybe the national level to do the same. Now’s the time to show the left we’re going to fight back, and we’re not going to take the suppression of our rights any more.

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UC Berkeley is not the end. It is just the beginning. My new international TROLL ACADEMY tour starts in a month, with dates throughout the US, UK. Germany and Australia.

I’m happy to exclusively reveal today the first four dates of the tour.

Wednesday October 25 I’ll be speaking at Cal State Bakersfield — I’m happy to at last confirm that one, and thank you to the students there who have been working so hard to make it happen
On Friday and Saturday October 27 and 28 I’ll be at the Phoenix Convention Center in front of an audience of 2,000. I understand Ted Cruz and Allan West pulled out when he heard I was headlining the first — you’re welcome, Republicans.)
Sunday October 29 we’re at San Diego State University
And then Tuesday October 31, I’m excited to be at Cal State Fullerton.

To the student groups considering hosting a Troll Academy event, you can be rest assured that we will devote the time and assets needed to help you deal with hostile schools. Most schools are neither as capable nor as black-hearted as Berkeley when it comes to stopping free speech on their campus, and we will assist you every step of the way.

To find the current schedule and more information about the Troll Academy tour, visit trollacademy.org.

Instead of letting the inmates run the asylum, many universities welcome speakers some students find controversial. Among those who still try dirty tricks to keep speakers like me off campus, the vast majority do not possess the resources, clout, and pure malevolent evil of UC Berkeley, so their efforts to keep me off campus will be unsuccessful.

No matter how successful the Troll Academy tour is, it would not be complete if we granted Berkeley a victory in preventing me from speaking in an indoor venue properly policed and ticketed, just as any other speaker would be. Therefore, I am happy to announce that UC Berkeley will be part of the Troll Academy tour. I will return to Berkeley, at the invitation of the Berkeley Patriot, in April 2018.

The administration of UC Berkeley would be well served by not repeating their actions from Free Speech Week with my next appearance on campus. It will not work forever, and they can rest assured that I am just as obstinate and determined as they are. So are Berkeley’s Republican and libertarian students.

Finally, I have some more good news. One of the many things I’ve been able to do with the $12 million investment I received earlier this year is establish myself as America’s most exciting new publisher of dangerous books. My new publishing house, Dangerous Books, established with $3 million investment this year, is today announcing its second title, after my own New York Times bestselling memoir.

The book is called Fatwa: Hunted in America, and to tell you about it, here is the author, Pamela Geller.