Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter told BuzzFeed News that despite reports that she canceled a controversial April 27 speech at the University of California, Berkeley, it was the school that canceled it.
“NO. the university canceled it and YAF acquiesced in the cancelation, against my strong wishes. I did everything I could to make this come off,” Coulter wrote to BuzzFeed News.
“I’m very sad about the cancelation, but it’s a sadder day for free speech in america. I am so grateful to people like bill maher, chris matthews and margaret carlson for recognizing that.”
It's unclear if the school actually stepped in and formally canceled an event, or if Coulter is saying the speech will not happen because the school wouldn't sufficiently accommodate her.
She also told the New York Times that she had been the target of violent threats, and suggested did not feel supported by local police.
According to a statement from the UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, “claims made by some that there is a ‘stand-down’ order for UCPD is a deplorable fallacy and is evidence of disrespect for the truth and our law enforcement officers, as well as utter ignorance regarding policing strategies on college campuses.”
Dirks added, “As far as Ms. Coulter’s current plans are concerned, we have heard nothing from her organization or the student organization that wanted to host her, the Berkeley College Republicans.”
On April 20, UC Berkeley reversed an earlier decision to cancel Coulter’s speaking engagement, citing safety concerns. In his statement, Dirks noted that the campus police department “has made it clear that they have very specific intelligence regarding threats that could pose a grave danger to the speaker, attendees and those who may wish to lawfully protest the event.”
Instead, he offered to book her the following week on May 2, prompting a lawsuit from the Berkeley College Republicans, the student group that helped organize Coulter’s speech.
Coulter refused to reschedule her appearance, tweeting that UC Berkeley students did not have class the week of May 2.
The other organizing group, Young America’s Foundation, released a statement Tuesday condemning UC Berkeley for making it “impossible to hold a lecture due to the lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained leftist agitators.”
The statement also noted that it would no longer participate in the event. “Ms. Coulter may still choose to speak in some form on campus, but Young America’s Foundation will not jeopardize the safety of its staff or students,” it read.
Alt-right figure Richard Spencer chastised Coulter on Twitter, calling her and other conservatives weak for backing down, and saying that they could have hired their own security.