Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has successfully blocked video from a controversial talk he gave at the Aspen Institute last week from being posted online.
At the Institute’s Feb. 5 event, the pro-gun control multi-billionaire suggested keeping guns out of the hands of young, male minorities.
Ninety-five percent of murders are attributed to the group, said Bloomberg, who has spend tens of millions of dollars on various gun control initiatives, including the group Everytown for Gun Safety.
“These kids think they’re going to get killed anyway because all their friends are getting killed,” Bloomberg said at the summit. “They just don’t have any long-term focus or anything. It’s a joke to have a gun. It’s a joke to pull a trigger.”
Various national media outlets jumped on the pointed comments, for both the pro-gun control sentiment and the racial aspect.
Perhaps because of that response, Bloomberg, who founded the massive Bloomberg L.P. media empire, has asked both the Aspen Institute and GrassRoots TV, the company that filmed the event, to refrain from broadcasting footage of the talk, according to The Aspen Times.
The Aspen Institute, which regularly hosts movers’ and shakers’ policy talks, accommodated Bloomberg’s request.
“We basically honor the wishes of our speakers and Mayor Bloomberg preferred that we not use the video for broadcast,” Jim Spiegelman, chief external affairs officer for the Aspen Institute told The Aspen Times. “He did not give a reason nor did we have any reason to ask for one. We often feature speakers who prefer that their presentations not be videotaped.”
GrassRoots TV executive director Jim Masters was not necessarily pleased with the request — which he called “frustrating” — but will still comply.
“We’re not pleased about it,” Masters told The Times. “We wish that people who could not make it [to the Institute] and could not afford to be there — they should be able to participate in that information also.”
During his talk, Bloomberg also discussed “stop-and-frisk,” a policing practice he advocated and expanded during his mayoral tenure. He said that one way to deal with the issue of gun proliferation among young, minority males is to “throw them up against the wall and frisk them.”
Bloomberg’s comments prompted a response from the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association.
“Mayor Bloomberg’s statement that black males should not be allowed to have guns echos similar sentiments made by southern white supremacists in the 19th century,” Tom King, the association’s president, said in a statement, according to the Washington Times. “So-called ‘Black Codes’ were enacted by various southern states to discriminate against black Americans and maintain the system of white supremacy that made slavery possible. These included restrictions on firearms possession.”
“If a politician said this about anything other than guns, the mainstream media would be all over them,” King added. “Michael Bloomberg isn’t just any politician, he is the leading voice for gun control in America. He should be held accountable for this slander.”