Steve Bannon Expected to Speak at UC Berkeley’s ‘Free Speech Week’
While the event’s organizers have announced Bannon will be speaking, university officials say the group has thus far failed to meet event requirements.
Event organizers from The Berkeley Patriot, a conservative UC Berkeley news outlet, announced that former White House Chief strategist Steve Bannon will be speaking during its ‘Free Speech Week’ being held September 24-27. Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos is also expected to speak.
According to The Berkeley Patriot’s website, each day of ‘Free Speech Week’ will have its own theme, ranging from the First Amendment to Silicon Valley discussions.
UC Berkeley released a statement indicating officials have not received final confirmation that either will be speaking at the school.
“The University cannot yet confirm exactly when or if they will be here, nor can it confirm a list of speakers,” says spokesman Dan Mogulof. “Repeated requests for Berkeley Patriot to inform the university if and when contracts are signed with speakers and venues have gone unheeded.”
Yiannopoulos previously stated he wants to return to the school because UC Berkeley “likes to make a big deal that it’s the home of free speech. But it’s certainly the opposite of that,” reports SFGATE.com. His scheduled February appearance was canceled after $100,000 worth of damage was caused during protests.
A statement issued on Tuesday by MILO, Inc., a nonprofit headed by Yiannopoulos, says he will be joined by Bannon and conservative writer Ann Coulter.
“Uncle Steve was the force behind Trump’s election victory and much of his initial policymaking,” Yiannopoulos wrote in the statement. “Nothing could be better for the leftists who oppose Trump so vehemently than a lesson in the logic behind Trump’s actions, direct from the architect of his policies.”
Yiannopoulos’ statement also says Pamela Geller, author of “Stop the Islamization of America”, Breitbart News editor Alex Marlow, and conservative activist David Horowitz will also be joining him.
The university’s statement says information provided to them by The Berkeley Patriot regarding the speakers has contradicted information shared publicly by Yiannopoulos.
Contracts with venues have not yet been signed and a number of key deadlines have also been missed, which the statement says is “making it increasingly difficult to ensure a safe and secure program.”
“We’re very close to signing,” says Yiannopoulos. “They’re trying to make us pay $100,000 in security deposits. We’ll negotiate it down as best we can.”
Yiannopoulos told The Chronicle that each event will be held indoors, the last of which will be held at Zellerbach Hall where conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro is speaking this Thursday. Yiannopoulos dubbed Shapiro “my left-wing warm-up act.”
“We’re insisting in the contract that the entire theater can be filled. No bogus excuses about security,” says Yiannopoulos, referencing the fact that UC Berkeley has only released 1,000 of the available 2,000 seats in Zellerbach Hall for Shapiro’s appearance.