Penn State Cancels Event by Proud Boys Founder, Citing Threat of Violence
Pennsylvania State University on Monday canceled a planned comedy show it was supposed to co-host after violent demonstrations against the founders of the Proud Boys, a far-right group, speakers.
Penn State officials previously said they would host an event featuring Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes in the interest of supporting free speech – even as they criticized the speakers as “vitrial and hateful.” language”.
But the university reversed course just before Monday night’s incident, saying in a statement that campus police had determined it should be canceled due to “the threat of escalating violence”.
The president of the university, Neeli Bendapudi, said in a statement that the peaceful street protest against the incident had turned violent. She said it was her “understanding” that the comedy show’s co-host Alex Stein entered the crowd and increased tension.
“It is not clear which person used physical confrontation and pepper spray against others in the crowd, including police officers,” he said, adding that no one was injured. The university did not immediately respond to a request for further comment, and campus police declined to comment.
The event, which was billed as a “politically provocative” comedy, was organized by Uncensored America, a non-profit organization that calls it “a role for controversial figures to fight censorship and revoke culture.” Honest and fun conversation with”.
Uncensored America was founded two years ago by Sean Semanko, a radio host and President Donald J. There is a field organizer for Trump’s 2020 campaign, who attended Penn State. Neither the group nor Mr McInnes or Mr Stein could be reached for comment on Tuesday morning.
Mr McInnes is a British-Canadian who became a far-right provocateur after working at a hipster magazine in Montreal that relocated to Brooklyn. They founded the first official chapter of the Proud Boys in New York in 2016.
In January 2021, the Proud Boys were at the center of a violent attack on the United States Capitol. Several dozen of its members have been named in connection with the attack.
Protests by conservative and right-wing speakers on university campuses in the United States have focused national attention in recent years on the question of whether campuses are harboring politically unpopular attitudes.
In her statement on Tuesday, Ms Bendapudi, who became the university’s president in May, defended the university’s initial decision to allow a comedy program, saying it reflected the institute’s support for the constitutional right to free speech.
Ms Bendapudi also expressed support for the students who had protested peacefully against the speakers, and said she was among several hundred teachers, staff, students and others who came to the university on Monday to celebrate diversity. had gathered at an event.