DAVIS, Calif. – A speech by right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos’ at UC Davis was over before it even started Friday after protests erupted, forcing sponsors to cancel the event.
Thirty minutes before the Breitbart tech editor was scheduled to speak, the UC Davis College Republicans canceled the controversial talk after consulting with the university’s police department and student affairs officials.
Former pharmaceutical executive, Martin Shkreli had also been scheduled to speak at the event.
“I am deeply disappointed with the events of this evening,” said Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter.
“Our community is founded on principles of respect for all views, even those that we personally find repellent. As I have stated repeatedly, a university is at its best when it listens to and critically engages opposing views, especially ones that many of us find upsetting or even offensive.”
Earlier in the evening, protesters blocked access to the venue. Surrounding the lecture hall with signs, they chanted, “Say it loud, say it clear, racists are not welcome here.”
One person arrested
As tensions rose between supporters and protesters, a determination was made that it was no longer feasible to continue the event safely.
“It’s disgusting,” Shkreli told CNN’s affiliate KOVR as he left the venue. “Progressivism is about having a conversation.”
Yiannopoulos posted on Facebook that the event had been canceled “after violence from left-wing protestors.”
But UC Davis said in a statement, “Despite some reports, there were no broken windows or other property damage during the protest. Earlier in the evening, one person was arrested inside the venue. No further arrests were made.”
Yiannopoulos and Shkreli are no strangers to controversy.
In fact, Yiannopoulos, the self-proclaimed “super-villian” welcomes it.
Last month, the vocal Trump supporter announced his book deal with Threshold Editions, the part of Simon & Schuster that has published books from Donald Trump, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. The book is called “Dangerous,” and will seek to explain the rise of the “populist, nationalist Trump phenomenon,” according to a press release from Yiannopoulos.
In July, he was banned for life from Twitter after a deluge of tweets from users were directed at comedian Leslie Jones.
Yiannopoulos later defended his tweets in an interview with CNN.
The British conservative has been accused of racism and transphobia but he took no responsibility for inspiring the tweets directed at Jones after his review of “Ghostbusters.”
He told CNN in July, that he’s being silenced because he’s a “gay conservative.”
“Gays are always canaries in the coal mine. This has given them the excuse they needed because (Leslie Jones) is a black woman,” he said. “Twitter has just died as a free speech platform.”
Shkreli has been temporarily kicked off Twitter after making unwanted advances towards a female journalist.