The National Press Club (NPC) has canceled a planned Friday press conference featuring several members of the alt-right, just hours after the event was announced.
The National Policy Institute (NPI) had booked NPC’s First Amendment Room for three hours Friday to host a press conference featuring three leading figures from the so-called “alt-right,” a mostly online political movement opposing multiculturalism and political correctness, as well as mainstream conservatism. Along with NPI’s Richard Spencer, the event was to include VDare.com editor Peter Brimelow and American Renaissance editor Jared Taylor. (RELATED: What Is The Alt Right?)
The event touted itself as a public explanation of the alt-right and its goals, in the wake of a speech by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton denouncing the movement.
“What is this movement, which has been called ‘dangerous,’ ‘radical,’ and ‘fearsomely intelligent’ by its observers?” the conference’s Eventbrite page said. “How has the Alt Right—born on the Internet in the past eight years—attracted so many passionate fans and critics and become a force in American politics in such a short period of time?”
But now the conference is in limbo, as NPC abruptly canceled NPI’s reservation Wednesday afternoon, forcing it to seek out a new location.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to NPC for an explanation of the cancellation, but did not immediately receive a reply. NPI, for its part, claims the cancellation was an effort to censor their views, and denounced NPC accordingly.
“The press club gave no indication that they would cancel or were uncomfortable with the event,” NPI program manager Hannibal Bateman said in a statement given to TheDCNF. “While they are a private entity, it’s a bit ironic to disinvite us from a ‘First Amendment’ lounge. Ultimately it shows our views are having an impact and the powers that be don’t want to hear dissent.”
NPI has held events at NPC in the past. The organization’s 2015 conference was held there last October, and all the way back in 2011 it held a press conference there for the release of its report, “The Majority Strategy: Why the GOP Must Win White America.” Those events haven’t been without controversy, as the 2011 event was denounced by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Even as the alt-right conference was being canceled, NPC was touting its credentials as an advocate for free speech. Republican nominee Donald Trump announced Wednesday he was ending his blackout of certain media organizations, and in NPC’s statement praising the announcement it extolled itself as, “the world’s leading professional organization for journalists,” which, “works to promote freedom of expression and transparency at home and abroad.”
The apparent ban on the alt-right certainly isn’t because NPC has a general ban on questionable characters hosting press conferences. Just three months ago, the club hosted a (digital) press conference by Bouthaina Shaaban, a senior adviser to Bashar Assad’s government in Syria. Shaaban is currently under U.S. government sanctions due to the Syrian government’s attacks on protesters and other alleged crimes against humanity.
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