Antifa-affiliated groups have announced plans to disrupt a Ben Shapiro speech at the University of Utah.
The editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire, who recently held a speaking event at UC Berkeley that met resistance from left-wing extremists, plans to deliver a scheduled speech at the University of Utah this Wednesday night.
Leftist groups from the Students for a Democratic Society, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán, and Black Lives Matter-SLC have issued a statement announcing their intention to “shut down” the conservative speaker to prevent him from delivering his address.
“We have no shame in saying that we intend to shut down Ben Shapiro. This is not a decision we came to based on youthful emotions, or out of some desire for the world to be “one big safe space.” This decision was arrived at based on a real, material understanding of the political environment of Utah, and the material effects of an emboldened far right.”
The Antifa-aligned groups describe Shapiro as “far-right” despite his harsh criticism of Donald Trump and his supporters.
The statement highlights Utah’s “homelessness and suicide crisis amongst LGBTQ youth” and accuses Shapiro of enabling discrimination through his comments critical of the transgender activist movement.
“He portrays the gay rights movement as a conspiracy to ‘root out god-based institutions,’” the statement continues. “He has recently defended conversion therapy, which is nothing short of abuse.”
“These are all positions he has stated in naked terms in articles he has written himself. To pretend that Shapiro does not spew racist and transphobic pseudoscience with the desire to justify and encourage violence is idealistic, ahistorical and wrong,” they state, concluding that there must be “consequences” to his “hate speech.”
However, a transcript of Shapiro’s speech, which he released on The Daily Wire, shows that he only intends to speak out against political violence stemming from both extremes of the political spectrum.
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Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.