Far-right event hits some snags

Group misses dead­line to re­serve venues for the Septem­ber event, Berke­ley of­fi­cials say.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Ben­jamin Oreskes and Javier Pan­zar ben­jamin.oreskes @la­times.com javier.pan­zar@la­times.com

Plan­ners of this month’s Free Speech Week missed dead­line to re­serve venues, UC Berke­ley says.

BERKE­LEY — UC Berke­ley of­fi­cials said Satur­day that or­ga­niz­ers of a far-right speak­ers’ se­ries sched­uled for later this month have missed the dead­line to re­serve two of the largest in­door venues on cam­pus for the event, but that they will con­tinue to work with or­ga­niz­ers on plan­ning for the fes­ti­val.

“The Univer­sity can­not de­fend spend­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to pro­vide se­cu­rity ar­range­ments for events” based on the press re­leases of or­ga­niz­ers, Dan Mogulof, as­sis­tant vice chan­cel­lor of the univer­sity’s Of­fice of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Public Af­fairs, said in a state­ment.

Mogulof said the Berke­ley Pa­triot stu­dent group that is work­ing with rightwing provo­ca­teur Milo Yiannopou­los on the “Free Speech Week” fes­ti­val had failed to meet the univer­sity’s re­quire­ments to re­serve Wheeler Au­di­to­rium on Sept. 24 — the first day of the fes­ti­val — and Zeller­bach Au­di­to­rium on Sept. 27.

He said or­ga­niz­ers failed to sub­mit the nec­es­sary pay­ments to re­serve the halls by 5 p.m. Fri­day.

Berke­ley Pa­triot also failed to pro­vide the univer­sity “with ev­i­dence that speak­ers are ac­tu­ally con­firmed, such as e-mails, ev­i­dence of travel ar­range­ments, or con­tracts,” Mogulof said. In both in­stances, the stu­dent or­ga­ni­za­tion missed three pre­vi­ous dead­lines set by the univer­sity, he said.

“This fail­ure to con­firm, com­bined with the re­fusal to pro­vide un­qual­i­fied speaker lists and sched­ules has led the cam­pus to ques­tion whether Berke­ley Pa­triot ac­tu­ally in­tends to, and/or is able to, carry out the pro­posed events,” Mogulof said.

Yiannopou­los dis­missed the univer­sity’s ex­pla­na­tion as “a to­tal lie” and part of a mis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign. He said or­ga­niz­ers were in the mid­dle of ne­go­ti­at­ing the terms of the $100,000 reser­va­tion fee when things broke down.

“They asked for the money af­ter the cut­off for wire trans­fer on Fri­day,” he told a Times re­porter Satur­day. “They will have it Mon­day. The event will pro­ceed. Clas­sic at­tempt to force can­cel­la­tion with im­pos­si­ble de­mands at the last minute. It will not suc­ceed.”

But Mogulof dis­puted Yiannopou­los’ ver­sion of events and said he was not part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions. He said the univer­sity was deal­ing solely with Berke­ley Pa­triot.

“The fee pay­ment re­quire­ment was in the con­tract first pro­vided to the Berke­ley Pa­triot five weeks ago,” he said Satur­day, not­ing that the group was sent a re­minder in writ­ing Wed­nes­day.

Berke­ley Pa­triot rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

But Bryce Kasamoto, a 20-year-old se­nior and a spokesman for the group, said Wed­nes­day that the group ex­pected to meet the cam­pus’ dead­line, which he said was ap­proach­ing “within the next week.”

“Free Speech Week” is slated to in­clude Pamela Geller, Mike Cer­novich, Erik Prince, Ann Coul­ter, Yiannopou­los and former White House strate­gist Stephen K. Ban­non. But the full list of speak­ers is not yet con­firmed, and some who have been listed said they do not plan to at­tend.

Three of the speak­ers listed by Milo Inc. — Charles Mur­ray, Heather MacDon­ald and Michael Mal­ice — have said they are not com­ing to Berke­ley.

Mur­ray and Mal­ice con­firmed through emails to The Times that they won’t be at­tend­ing the se­ries.

“I was never con­tacted by the or­ga­niz­ers of this event,” Mur­ray wrote in an email. “The in­clu­sion of my name in the list of speak­ers was done with­out my knowl­edge or per­mis­sion. I will add that I would never un­der any cir­cum­stances ap­pear at an event that in­cluded Milo Yiannopou­los.”

A spokes­woman for the Man­hat­tan In­sti­tute, where MacDon­ald is a fel­low, said “nei­ther we nor Heather know any­thing about the event.”

Ben Mar­got Associated Press

Drew Angerer Getty Images

MILO YIANNOPOU­LOS, the “Free Speech Week” head­liner, dis­putes UC Berke­ley’s ac­count of events.

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