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Conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos cancels visit to UCLA, student GOP club says

Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, whose campus appearances have sparked widespread protests, has canceled his upcoming visit to UCLA, according to the student Republican club that invited him.

Bruin Republicans at UCLA said in a statement that it could not accommodate Yiannopoulos’ “long list of requirements” for a Feb. 2 campus appearance. The statement added that club members also were concerned about public safety, since Yiannopoulos’ appearances on his “Dangerous Faggot” campus tour have triggered violence. 

Last week, a man who said he was a socialist union member was shot and wounded at Yiannopoulos’ talk at the University of Washington. No suspect has been arrested but the Seattle Times reported that a man who turned himself in to police as the shooter wrote on his Facebook page that he supports Yiannopoulos, President Trump and the National Rifle Assn. 

Yiannopoulos’ talk at UC Davis earlier this month was shut down after being disrupted by hundreds of protesters. The British journalist for the right-wing Breitbart News, who has inflamed women, minorities, immigrants and others with his caustic remarks, returned and spoke the next day without incident.

“We as a club support free speech no matter the viewpoint, yet everyone’s safety is of our utmost concern,” the Bruin Republicans wrote in explaining the decision not to host the event. 

The statement, posted on the club’s Facebook page, drew criticism from several people who said the GOP club should not be pressured by protesters to back down. The club, however, said: “To clarify: we are not canceling the event due to the threat of protesters. Milo canceled on us due to the fact that we could not meet his accommodations.”

The club said it would seek other ways to present “right-of-center values and opinions” on campus. 

Club members could not be reached for comment.

The student Republican club at UC Berkeley still plans to host a Yiannopoulos campus visit on Feb. 1, spokesman Pieter J. Sittler said.

“UCLA had trouble meeting his technical requirements, which includes the need for a projector and a wireless microphone,” Sittler said in an email. “We were able to meet all of those specifications with the help of Event Services at Berkeley.” 

Sittler said that Berkeley College Republicans invited Yiannopoulos to give students the chance to hear a greater diversity of views.

"We believe there exists an alarming lack of intellectual diversity at UC Berkeley and hope to disrupt the liberal, groupthink phenomenon by inviting a conservative firebrand like Milo to campus,” he wrote.

“We acknowledge he is controversial and do not support everything he has ever said or done but believe that it is imperative for students to have their political views challenged as it is the only way they will ever develop intellectually,” Sittler added. “All too often, people hear only from those who make them feel good or those who they agree with. That must change."

 

 

teresa.watanabe@latimes.com

Twitter: @teresawatanabe

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