The IndyBay listing — which pulls from a Medium article titled "So, You’re Hosting Christopher Bollyn?" — goes on to describe Bollyn's other, more alarming credentials as a white supremacist. It reads: "A former writer for the hate group, American Free Press. An neo-Nazi Willis Carto alumn. Bollyn has appeared with KKK 'Grand Wizard' David Duke on his radio show."
In case the above credentials weren't enough to convince you, Bollyn is a problematic figure in that he often finds ways of landing book-tour appearances in places that would typically be considered enclaves of progressive thought. Last year, he had an appearance at the Brooklyn Commons, which one writer for The Daily Beast described as "an anti-Semite [running] down the Zionist conspiracy behind the Sept. 11 attacks." Additionally, Bollyn's "thesis" for his past work says "9-11 is a massive Zionist Jewish crime." Further review of his website shows that he's still a Barack Obama birth certificate truther, and he believes antidepressants are to blame for school shootings.
Here's the thing: Bollyn has a history of essentially co-opting spaces under presumably false pretenses in order to further spread his anti-Semitic message. In the case of the Brooklyn Commons, his history was brought up to the venue's owner, Melissa Ennen, who later admitted to not fully understanding Bollyn's background. Despite that, and despite protests to cancel the event, she allowed it to go on, citing free speech, and invited people to voice their dissent in person. Later, the Commons took down its mission statement, which included language that described the venue as being a platform for progressive speech.
The Medium piece describes other instances in which Bollyn either uses other people or other names to reach out to these spaces, apparently to obfuscate the fact that he's going to be the one speaking at the event. Disturbingly, it also says that any later promotion of the event by Bollyn will make it seem like the space is essentially "hosting him," and thus, support his message.
Thus far, the Facebook listing for tonight's San Francisco event lists 0 people as interested, with 0 people planning on attending. Only time can tell whether that actually reflects the turnout for tonight, though it's probably a safe bet to think that anybody who's invested in Bollyn and his thoughts about 9/11 conspiracies probably isn't going to list themselves on Facebook as going to his event.
We've reached out to the Richmond Branch of the SF Public Library for comment, and will update when we hear back.
Update: Michelle Jeffers, the chief of community programs and partnerships with the San Francisco Public Library system, responded to our request for comment. She said that the media room at the Richmond Branch can be reserved by any local community groups or neighbors. She did confirm that a neighbor of the library was the one who reserved the room, not Bollyn, and wanted to make it clear that the San Francisco Public Library system does not endorse or sponsor any of the private events that occur therein.