FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MILO YIANNOPOULOS STATEMENT ON FREE SPEECH WEEK
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First, I’m sorry to say that the student group hosting Free Speech Week has withdrawn its sponsorship.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.