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Richard Dawkins deplatformed at a book talk in Berkeley for “abusive speech” about Islam on Twitter

Richard Dawkins deplatformed at a book talk in Berkeley for “abusive speech” about Islam on Twitter

Richard Dawkins was supposed to speak at this event in Berkeley on August 9: a talk about his new book, As you see, the talk has been canceled.

But why? You can guess. The talk was to be sponsored by a Berkeley radio station, KPFA, and they made this announcement—but didn’t even inform Richard before deep-sixing the event. Through the ticketing agency, Brown Paper Tickets, KPFA sent out this email with the “reasons”:

From: Brown Paper Tickets 
Date: July 20, 2017 at 2:04:53 PM PDT
To: [NAME REDACTED]
Subject: Notification for Richard Dawkins: Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist

Dear Richard Dawkins event ticket buyers,
We regret to inform you that KPFA has canceled our event with Richard Dawkins. We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t 
know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people. 
KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier.  We also apologize to all those inconvenienced by this cancellation. Your ticket purchases will automatically be refunded by Brown Paper Tickets.

Sincerely,
KPFA Radio 94.1 FM

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen: the termites have spread to Berkeley, and have dined well on the wooden heads of the Deciders. Although there are undoubtedly a few authoritarian Dawkins-bashing atheists who will be pleased at this, it’s a terrible blow for free speech, and likely a big disappointment for those who hoped to see Richard. I’m sure that some of the Perpetually Offended, with perhaps Muslims among them, complained to the radio station, and KPFA caved.

I asked Richard about what happened, and what KPFA was. He emailed his response, which I reproduce with permission:

KPFA, like so many, is guilty of confusing free speech with “abusive speech”, banning a talk, and thus depriving people of the chance to hear Richard–and probably ask him questions or even criticize him. Here’s the station’s inevitable “but”:

While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech.

Give me a break! Criticism of ideas is not criticism of people, nor is it “abuse.” Shame on KPFA for not realizing this, and for their craven behavior in canceling the talk.

If you wish to write to KPFA, their website is here, and their contact information is . I’ll be writing them for sure.

Dawkins is not Milo Yianopoulos; his “abusive speech” is simply criticism of religion in general, including Islam. I guess believers can’t bear to hear that criticism, and they didn’t have to go to that talk. But what right do they have to prevent others from hearing it?

Berkeley was, you’ll recall, the home of the Free Speech Movement. How low the city has fallen!

_________

UPDATE: Here’s an email I sent to the station:

Dear KPFA,

Your cancellation of Dawkins’s talk was unconscionable. His speech has not been abusive towards Islam, but has involved criticism of religious dogma–and of all faiths. That is free speech, not “abusive” speech. All meaningful speech hurts some people’s feelings, but in this case there was no “abuse.” Can you point to any?

Your craven behavior towards this talk, and caving in to those who want to prevent others from hearing it, is unconscionable. How dare a radio station commit such a blatant violation of the First Amendment?

Shame on you.

Jerry Coyne

Views: 158

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click on the Vid to unmute.[left button of mouse]

Its blank.

You have to wait a min

No, there is nothing showing, but your comment below. Its just an empty space.

Maybe its because its the BBC Facebook page. but its playing ok on my laptop

Could be.

How anyone can argue with Dawkins logic is beyond me.

I've heard Dawkings talk about this numerous times.

What does it have to do with KPFA and the problems with free speech at Berkeley?

KPFA.

Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin both had speaking engagements at U.C. Berkely that were canceled due to civil unrest and fascist movements.

https://itsgoingdown.org/kids-alt-right-uc-berkeley-college-republi...

The Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) have invited Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at UC Berkeley [1] as a stop on his so-called “Dangerous Faggot Tour” on February 1st, 2017. Milo has gained a fair amount of infamy in recent years, currently has a lucrative book deal, and writes for the far-Right online publication Breitbart, whose former editor, Steve Bannon, is now currently Trump’s top advisor. Bannon has said that Breitbart is a “platform for the Alt-Right,” which is a collection of far-Right, white nationalist, Men’s Rights Activists, anti-immigration and anti-Muslim activists, and Neo-Nazis. While Bannon distances himself from some of the Alt-Right, his appointment has still been celebrated by fascists all over the US.

As for Milo, no other person has been more credited for mainstreaming the Alt-Right as himself. Milo first rose to prominence during ‘Gamergate,’ where women in the video game industry were harassed for speaking out abo..., which included threats of rape and sexual assault. Milo’s positive coverage of Gamergate (which won him the eye of the Alt-Right) and his attacks on feminism propelled him into his position at Breitbart, where he would go on to pen a positive expose on the Alt-Right, regarded as one of the major crossover points for the movement.

Milo’s connections to the Alt-Right continued. During the RNC convention in 2016, at Milo’s ‘Gays for Trump‘ event, along with hosting anti-Muslim speakers such as Pamela Geller, who called for banning the Quran and Muslims from “jihad countries,” was also well known Men’s Rights Activists and white nationalists. This included Roosh V, (also a speaker at white nationalist conferences), who called for the legalization of rape on private property, as well as Richard Spencer, the white supremacist who organized a recent DC conference that ended in Nazi salutes of “Hail Trump!”

While Milo rejects the full on Neo-Nazism of some of the Alt-Right, he still is partial to the politics which seek to re-affirm white supremacy and patriarchy and is opposed to what he see as the encroaching nature of ‘political correctness’ in the media and wider culture. Moreover, Milo is also useful to the far-Right because as an openly gay man and a hip dresser, he is seen as someone who can make reactionary and racist ideas more palatable to young people.

But just as Milo is helping to mainstream the Alt-Right in the media and the wider culture, so are groups like BCR in the field of political activism. In the current Trump climate, they are also helping to bridge the gap between white nationalists in the Alt-Right and more mainstream Trump supporters. This is a reality that has been building for months and is growing across the country, as it was just released that in Seattle, the leader of the college Republicans at UW has connections to white na.... Going back to May of 2016, when Identity Evropa along with Richard Spencer came to UC Berkeley to hold an event, the leader of BCR, at the time, was in attendance, talking with IE and NPI members. This crossover link between Trump supporters on campus and white supremacists groups like IE has only grown since, with the leader of IE, Nathan Damigo, stating that they are working more closely with college Republican groups in an attempt to grow their base of support. [2]

Taking on the Trump regime, the white nationalist groups which are acting as an auxiliary force to support it, and media figureheads like Milo who are attempting to popularize these positions among young people, now also means taking on the more ‘mainstream’ political organizations which are becoming more tied together with the fringe. In some cases, the are all bleeding together to the point of being the same entity.

In that spirit, this article is aimed at informing the university and greater Berkeley and Bay Area community about the white supremacist and fascist students using the guise of “free speech” to encourage hate and violence against those already marginalized and oppressed. As we will show, the line between white nationalists and run of the mill Republican student activists in Berkeley is blurring, and it is up to those opposed to white supremacy and patriarchy to take note, and to take action.

Berkeley College Republicans and the Alt-Right

In December, a call-in campaign was started urging anti-fascists and allies to contact the university and demand that the administration not open their doors to Yiannopoulos. Since then, we’ve learned that BCR will have to put up $10,000 to fund the security that the school deems necessary for such an event to continue as planned. At this point, it’s unclear whether the club will be able to find the money or not. This also isn’t the first time a university has asked for an extra security fee from students inviting Milo to their schools, and while some clubs haven’t been able to pay and thus had to cancel the talk, others have succeeded. In fact, we know of at least one instance at DePaul University where Breitbart paid the cost themselves in order to have Yiannopoulos speak.

Will the Berkeley College Republicans be able to find the money to continue their event? How will they raise $10,000, and from who? And exactly who are these students that have invited Yiannopoulos to Berkeley to speak in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union building, which houses the Pauley Ballroom?

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