Conservative opportunist Ann Coulter has landed in the Bay Area for a speaking engagement at UC Berkeley — making good on her promise to set foot in the home of the Free Speech Movement, albeit two years late.
The Wednesday evening event is being hosted by the Berkeley College Republicans, naturally, and it's titled “Ann Coulter: Adios, America,” after the title of Coulter's 2015 tome that describes the "hell hole" that the Left wants to make of the country with its immigration policy. And as the East Bay Times reports, "UC Berkeley is hoping to avoid another chaotic clash" like the ones it saw in early 2017 — which caused Coulter to back out of a speaking engagement scheduled in May 2017.
Shortly after Donald Trump's inauguration, as you may recall, Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak on the Cal campus, and a chaotic, destructive protest broke out before the event could begin. The melee caused $100,000 in damage to the campus alone, and prompted angry reactions from Trump and many right-wing Twitterers — kicking off a year in which everyone seemed to screaming back and forth about "free speech," fascists, antifa, and Nazis. The city of Berkeley saw multiple violent street brawls that year stemming from protests and efforts to provoke the Left by far-right-wing loons who came to Berkeley to do just that — and get on television.
It remains to be seen how many might be mobilizing to protest Coulter's appearance, or if things have simmered down at all over at Cal now the President is likely to be impeached. But the East Bay Times says that multiple antifa groups say they are mobilizing.
UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof tells the paper that it would be "strictly illegal" for the university to cancel a speaking event just because it anticipates a protest.
The last time Coulter tried to come to Berkeley, university Chancellor Nicholas Dirks penned an 0p-ed in the New York Times saying that the school felt "under attack from both sides."
"The use of force has entered the discourse around the First Amendment in an alarming way," Dirks wrote. "The university has been accused of not responding aggressively enough against our own students, and the institution must now invest more public tax dollars in equipping campus police forces to subdue campus protests — even though the perpetrators of violence have been groups with no campus affiliation." Also, in an email to the campus at that time, he also wrote, "This is a University, not a battlefield."
Broke-Ass Stuart's Nik Wojcik points to Coulter's well-documented white nationalist rhetoric as reason why her presence should be protested.
"Nobody wants to see violence or real destruction," Wojcik writes. "But if her appearance and the words she uses incites such a reaction, it is fair to question whether her expression is actually protected by the First Amendment, remembering that hate speech is not."
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia