C-List conservative pundit Ben Shapiro may not have the “right-wing Judy Garland” appeal of Ann Coulter or the alt-right pedophile appeal of Milo Yiannopoulos. But like those two, Shapiro has been invited to speak on the UC Berkeley campus according to the Washington Post. The invite comes in the wake of the recent dustups on the campus over Yiannopoulos' and Coulter's scrapped appearances both on the grounds of maintaining campus safety, though Coulter technically backed out on her own and amidst a conservative backlash on social media claiming suppression of free speech. This particular event has been scheduled for Thursday, September 14 (though the sponsoring Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation do not have a venue yet), and represents the latest chapter in a battle being played out at Berkeley that isn't likely to end soon.
Can Ben Shapiro do what other conservatives could not and speak at UC Berkeley? Find out September 14th at Ben Shapiro vs. Berkeley. pic.twitter.com/NRUcS3W1ft— Berkeley Republicans (@BerkeleyCRs) July 11, 2017
Are the Berkeley Republicans just trying to stir the pot in hopes of sparking physical conflict between protesters and more kabuki theater to pad their persecution complex? Note that the event is billed as “Ben Shapiro vs. Berkeley,” so draw your own conclusions.
Berkeley College Republicans vice president Naweed Tahmas said in a statement that "UC Berkeley has solidified itself as a center for intellectual dishonesty" and "Students at Berkeley want and deserve to hear from Ben Shapiro, and they will this fall."
But as with previous conservative speaker events at UC Berkeley, you have to wonder whether the organizers genuinely intend for the event to happen or if they hope the event gets canceled so they can continue to raise awareness of their victimhood and thereby fame in conservative circles. Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation apparently sprang the date on the university and demanded a 500-seat venue (hoping a publicly funded “Big Government” institution will do the legwork for them). And remember, Ann Coulter’s speech wasn’t canceled Coulter backed out when she was informed that the Young America's Foundation would not be paying her for the appearance.
Shapiro is a Never Trump Republican, and he has been ruthlessly harassed by many Trump supporters with anti-semitic and white supremacist language. Shapiro even quit Breitbart over the assault of a Breitbart reporter by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in March 2016. But Shapiro does espouse a unique brand of hate toward Muslims and transgender people, which is probably what merited his invite.
According to the Daily Californian, Shapiro already spoke at UC Berkeley in 2016 and the event went off without incident but those were, in retrospect, more innocent times.