Despite telling Bill O’Reilly replacement Tucker Carlson her cancelled speech at the University of California’s Berkeley campus would go on, conservative pundit Ann Coulter seemingly changed course on Wednesday. In a brief message to the New York Times, the frequent Donald Trump supporter reversed course less than a week after rebuffing the university’s decision to cancel the speech over safety concerns on Carson’s program. Coulter didn’t say whether or not her scheduled appearance despite the university would happen, though she note her decision to pull out was “likely.”
“It’s a sad day for free speech,” Coulter exclaimed in her remarks to the Times, adding: “Everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away.” Whether or not you agree with Coulter, Carlson and other conservative (and white supremacist) groups drawn to the famous university campus, however, the right-wing commentator’s decision to say “everyone” abandoned her case is telling. Especially since friend and fellow Berkeley instigator Bill Maher, and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, came to her defense.
“Berkeley used to be the cradle of free speech, and now it’s just the cradle for f*cking babies,” Maher said on Real Time. “I feel like this is the liberals’ version of book burning. And it’s got to stop.” Sanders’ argument against Berkeley’s cancellation was nowhere near as vitriolic as Maher’s, though the two men share a similar sentiment. “Obviously Ann Coulter’s outrageous,” he told the Huffington Post. “But you know, people have a right to give their two cents.”
In light of the recent violence that erupted at Berkeley during a white supremacist rally, school officials decided to cancel Coulter’s engagement for fear of additional outbreaks. A similar last-minute cancellation occurred in February when massive protests broke out ahead of former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’s planned address. According to the Times, the final straw may have been how the Young America’s Foundation — a conservative group helping with Coulter’s legal actions against Berkeley — pulled out, announcing it “[would] not jeopardize the safety of its staff or students.”
(Via New York Times)