Full Lineup Revealed for Milo’s “Free Speech Week” at UC Berkeley
Eric Lendrum, Politics Contributor
Now that Ben Shapiro’s speech has taken place - largely and surprisingly without incident - the focus on Berkeley shifts to the next major conservative event taking place less than two weeks later. From September 24th to the 27th, former Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos is hosting what he has long described as “Free Speech Week,” featuring multiple conservative speakers on a wide array of topics that take aim directly at the left.
On Thursday, the same day as Shapiro’s speech, Breitbart officially announced the full lineup for the multi-day event.
All four days will feature Yiannopoulos as a speaker, starting on September 24th with a focus on Feminism. The 25th is titled “Zuck 2020” - a reference to speculation that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may run for President that year - and features the Wall Street Journal’s Heather Mac Donald, Fox News’ Monica Crowley, and James Damore, the Google employee who was fired over the notorious “Google memo” on forced diversity quotas in the workplace. The 26th will have a focus on Islam, and includes British reporter Katie Hopkins, former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, commentator Pamela Geller, and acclaimed author and commentator David Horowitz.
The final event on the 27th, titled “Mario Savio is dead” - a reference to the leader of the original “Free Speech Movement” - will feature the main stars of the event: former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, controversial commentator Ann Coulter, commentator and activist Mike Cernovich, Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow, and social media star and college activist Ariana Rowlands.
As the event draws nearer, Yiannopoulos has warned of the UC Berkeley administration trying to shut down the event “by spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt” about the logistics of the event or the providing of adequate security.
The event takes place in the wake of numerous violent riots on campus in response to conservative speakers and planned events. Rioters forced the cancellation of a speech by Yiannopoulos on February 1, 2017, and caused over $100,000 worth of property damage. Later in the year, both David Horowitz and Ann Coulter were scheduled to speak, but were forced to cancel due to obstruction from the administration and their inability to guarantee the speakers’ safety. On April 15 - in an event that became known as “The Battle of Berkeley” - conservative groups faced off against Antifa, and numerous fights broke out.
This upcoming event is promising to be the single biggest test yet of how far the violence at Berkeley will go - and whether or not the administration will finally enforce First Amendment rights for all students, instead of only those who are politically popular.