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New: Is Berkeley Yiannopoulos Speech Event On or Off? Who Knows?

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) and Planet
Friday September 22, 2017 - 06:43:00 PM

A spokeswoman for right-wing media personality Milo Yiannopoulos said today that the so-called "Free Speech Week" at the University of California at Berkeley will still take place despite media reports on KQED radio, the San Francisco Chronicle's and that it might (or might not) have been canceled. 

Chanel Korby, a spokeswoman for Milo Inc., a group started by Yiannopoulos, said in an email message "At present the event is set to continue no matter what and UC Berkeley has been paid $65,000 so far in security deposits." 

Korby said Yiannopoulos will hold a press briefing about the free speech week, which has been scheduled to begin on Sunday and run through Wednesday, at 2 p.m. on Saturday at an undisclosed location "in the Bay Area." She said the location will be released to confirmed members of the news media. 

Korby said Yiannopoulos "will use his eve of battle conference to lay out his plan for the Berkeley Free Speech Week event, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday on the UC Berkeley campus." 

Korby said, "He will be accompanied by members of the Berkeley Patriot, the student group sponsoring the event, and by scheduled speakers, including Pamela Geller and Mike Cernovich." 

She said Yiannopoulos "is expected to speak based on prepared remarks as well as answer questions, and other Free Speech Week speakers will participate as well as they prepare to head for Berkeley the next day (Sunday)." 

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said in an email that, "The university is aware of numerous media reports that the Berkeley Patriot student organization has cancelled events scheduled for next week." 

But Mogulof said, "The campus has not heard directly from the students and must, for the time being, proceed with plans to provide for the safety and security of the campus community and any speakers who may still be planning to come to Berkeley." 

Mogulof said, "Our police department, working in concert with an unprecedented number of allied law enforcement agencies, will continue with preparations to provide needed security for these events." 

He said, "There is only one reason the university is in the process of spending close to a million dollars on these security arrangements: if these events take place we want them to safe and peaceful." 

Mogulof said, "These actions by the university speak louder than words when it comes to our commitment to the First Amendment and Free Speech." Bryce Kasamoto, a spokesman for the Berkeley Patriot, hasn't responded to multiple requests for comment on whether the event will still be held. John Sarsfield, a colleague of the group's lawyer, Marguerite Melo, said the event "is still on." 

Sarsfield wrote, "A rumor got started this morning that it was off, but that is not correct. We don't know who started the rumor or why." 

It's been reported that Steve Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist, and right-wing activist Ann Coulter are among those expected to speak at the "Free Speech Week" event but event organizers haven't responded to requests for a list of confirmed speakers. 

Mogulof said in an email that Yiannopoulos is scheduled to speak on the Mario Savio Steps at Upper Sproul Plaza from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday. 




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