Ann Coulter loves competition in the free market, except when it’s competition in free speech

book-cover - Ann Coulter in a skimpy cocktail dress, book-title: If Democrats had a brain - They'd be Republicans

A typical Coulter book title

Ann Coulter, who’s been a little short in the publicity department since GW Bush is no longer the President, has been getting a lot of traction over the last couple of days with talk of being censored by having a speech cancelled. So, who was it exactly who cancelled Coulter’s speech on the campus of the University of Ottawa?

It’s important to note that in every one of these University speeches Coulter is making across Canada, in none of them is she actually an official guest of the universities themselves. Non-university groups of conservative activists are simply hiring university venues as halls in which Coulter’s speeches will take place, complete with security staff provided by the university from their Protective Services staff whose costs are also covered by the venue hirers.

The initial announcement from Coulter in her regular Town Hall column:

After Tuesday night, the hatred incited by Francois’ letter is no longer theoretical. The police called off my speech when the auditorium was surrounded by thousands of rioting liberals — screaming, blocking the entrance, throwing tables, demanding that my books be burned, and finally setting off the fire alarm.

However, this report from Yahoo News Canada specifically says that there was no violence at the scene of the protest:

A spokesman for the organizers said about 2,000 “threatening” students posed a security threat to the darling of the American right, and she was advised against appearing.

“It would be physically dangerous for Ann Coulter to proceed with this event,” said conservative political activist Ezra Levant inside Marion Hall.

“This is an embarrassing day for the University of Ottawa and their student body . . . who chose to silence her through threats and intimidation.”

The announcement was greeted with shouts of “Shame” and “We want Ann” from about 100 people who had managed to get into the hall.

Outside students celebrated: “Nananana, nanana, Goodbye Ann Coulter.”

About 10 Ottawa police cruisers were called to the scene, but there was no violence.

Let’s just repeat that. THERE WAS NO VIOLENCE. There was just a vocal protest.

Groups gathered outside the building chanting “This is what free speech looks like” while the crowd inside could be heard chanting “We want Ann” after it was announced the event was cancelled at 8:15 p.m.

Ezra Levant later referred to the exercise of free speech by the protestors as “censorship”. I think Inigo Montoya might just have a message for him.

a screenshot from the Princess Bride of Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, saying *You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Criticism is not the same as censorship. Freedom of speech has never implied, and certainly never guaranteed, freedom from criticism, Mr Levant. Shame on you.

The announcement from the University:

On Tuesday, March 23, an appearance by Ann Coulter was scheduled on our campus, organized by the International Free Press Society Canada and the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.[…]
Last night, the organizers themselves decided at 7:50 p.m. to cancel the event and so informed the University’s Protection Services staff on site.

A later statement from Coulter repeats the claim that it was the police who cancelled the speech:

She added it was the decision of police to cancel her University of Ottawa appearance — not her organizers.

Since Coulter lied not only about protestor violence but also about posters for her speech being banned across the University campus (the student federation voted that they be banned inside the student federation’s own buildings, but they were allowed on noticeboards elsewhere on campus), whose reportage of the night’s events do you think is really more credible here?

Coulter's own threats

A woman who defends her own remarks which contain violent threats against Muslims or others as “obvious” “jokes” and “sarcasm” has no right to mendaciously portray silly Facebook groups which use violent language against her as some sort of credible threat. They’re repellent, odious and hateful, of course, but somehow that’s only okay if Coulter’s the one doing it.

Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, media

Tags: ,

5 replies

  1. Ah, I was wondering who had cancelled the speech.
    I keep wondering how it went. “Damn it, we didn’t sell enough tickets here in Ottawa to make it worth the while, and there’s always Calgary. Let’s call this off – it will get it in the papers!!!” Because I, at least, had no idea Ann Coulter was in Canada until the cancellation hit the papers.

  2. Same here. My first response was, “They let her across the border?”
    My second response was, “Yay! Go Ottawa U!”
    My third response was, “Quick, let’s hide Alberta on the map, maybe they won’t be able to find it!”

  3. “Repellent, odious and hateful” – I can’t understand why she isn’t embracing them as kindred souls?

  4. I dunno. These kind of protests don’t make the lefties who do them look much good, I’m afraid. I saw the one that Unite Against Fascism & friends did outside the Oxford Union in 2007 when Nick Griffin (BNP leader) was invited to speak. That did involve them (eventually) breaking into the Union building and trying to trash the place, but before that there’d been chants of ‘Kill Tryl’ (directed at Luke Tryl, the OU President) you could hear all over the city, as well as protesters deliberately preventing OU ticketholders from accessing their own event.
    Had Griffin pulled out of his gazetted speech while they were still chanting and forming human chains and whatnot, it would have looked rather more like this cancellation, but that doesn’t mean that the threats of violence weren’t palpable and very nasty.
    Griffin and the OU, however, didn’t cancel (Thames Valley Police wanted them to) and then the violence started, at which point the story of the two events diverges. Even so, all the protesters did was make themselves look like bullying thugs. The BNP (this was revealed when their membership was later leaked) even got members in Oxford out of it, which is extraordinary, Oxford being one of the country’s rather Lib-Dem-ish extremities.
    .-= skepticlawyer´s last blog ..Cyberbullying and the law =-.

  5. She also doesn’t like women’s right to vote:
    “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women. ”
    .-= Kowalski´s last blog ..Kontroversy Korner: AMERICAN ASSHOLE™ BINGO =-.

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