UC Berkeley says that “Free Speech Week” isn’t happening. University officials announced late Friday that the student-run event, which planned to feature conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos as its headline speaker, has been canceled just one day before it was set to begin.
Yiannopoulos faced protests from left-wing activists and members of the extremist movement, antifa, when he visited the campus in February. Rioters set fires, smashed windows, and vandalized numerous businesses in downtown Berkeley. Several attendees of Milo’s speaking engagement were assaulted on camera.
The violence prompted police to shut down the event and even elicited comment from President Trump, who suggested that the school be stripped of public funding.
Following the shutdown of his February event, Yiannopoulos vowed to return to Berkeley, which has faced criticism for suppressing free speech by allowing student activists to effectively perform a “heckler’s veto” against speakers like Yiannopoulos and political commentator and author Ann Coulter, whose event was also canceled in April.
Yiannopoulos posted the development on Instagram and Facebook on Saturday. He stated that the student organizers of Free Speech Week, Berkeley Patriot, made a last-minute decision to stop sponsoring the event. The organization ran into bureaucratic problems with the school.
“I’ve just been told that student group the Berkeley Patriot, under pressure from the administration, is withdrawing its sponsorship of Free Speech Week,” he wrote Saturday morning. The students may have pulled out of Free Speech Week but I and my speakers have not.”