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Protests and Attacks Cut Gavin McInnes’s Speech Short

VICE co-founder Gavin McInnes spoke for only three minutes without interruption until the jeers started. He exited the Rosenthal Pavilion in the Kimmel Center for University Life 20 minutes after he took to the podium and was escorted from a mixed room of fans and sneering students — once he was in the back, McInnes decided to leave the premises immediately.

NYPD and NYU Public Safety Officers secured both the interior and exterior of the building, and even before he entered, McInnes was attacked with pepper spray. He was treated immediately by EMT while security and university officials waited outside the Kimmel bathroom door.

And once he started speaking, students verbally harassed him — they began the ridicule once McInnes made the first joke that did not bode well with the audience.

“When I got pepper sprayed, your eyes hurt obviously,” McInnes said as he imitated a squirt gun sound — the object the protestor used to attack him. “And then you get this sense of panic like ‘How do I know this isn’t acid?’ Oh yeah, this isn’t Islam.”

The crowd started booing and saying, “Whose streets? Our streets” in a call-and-response style chant, until McInnes’s speech was no longer audible.

Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Marc Wais tried calming the crowd multiple times and asked everybody to return to their seats immediately, but after failing multiple times, McInnes made fun of Wais as well.

“You’re ridiculous sir,” McInnes said after taking the microphone from Wais. “You’re dumb, liberal asshole.”

The crowd of protesters cheered after McInnes framed Wais as a supporter of the liberal left. After the event, Wais said that this incident was a follow-up to what happened last night at University of California, Berkeley.

“We are living in a new normal,” Wais said.

LS clinical professor Michael Rectenwald, also known as @antipcnyuprof on Twitter who originally began his account under the pseudonym Deplorable NYU Prof, also attended the event. During an interview inside Kimmel, a student began repeatedly calling him a Nazi.

“Get the fuck away from me, you better back off buddy; you don’t call me shit,” Rectenwald said to them. “I’m not a fucking Nazi. My father fought against the fucking Nazis, motherfucker. Call me a Nazi again buddy.”

Rectenwald left the room immediately after this incident, and he said that this exchange obviously demonstrated the failures of liberalism.

“You have the moderator who is asking people to be reasonable when they have no reason,” Rectenwald said. “He’s appealing to logic and civility which they obviously do not exhibit or have the slightest idea about. Therefore what we see is a shouting match instead of the exchanging of ideas and intellectual activity. These people are obviously anti-intellectual and that is quite obvious. We have an anti-intellectual left.”

In a statement released an hour after the event concluded, the College Republicans expressed their disappointment that many students on this campus were disrespectful to people with varying political viewpoints.

“Our intention was not to advocate for McInnes’s views, in fact many of us differ with him when it comes to certain ideas,” the statement said. “The purpose of this event was to promote free speech and not to promote certain ideas. The purpose of our club is to give students the opportunity to meet and listen to conservative speakers from all across the political spectrum, especially since we are the largest conservative organization on campus.”

The club continued to say that it does not endorse the views of all its speakers and guests, so it was a shame that the protestors could not be respectful of the speaker and verbally attacked some of the club’s members.

The dissenters labeled themselves as anti-Nazi protesters and gathered outside Kimmel over half an hour before the speech began. Police lined up outside Kimmel and only allowed people with NYU IDs inside — passersby could not idle outside the doors of Kimmel or in the main lobby.

Police reported that five arrests were made at the event, and those arrested were handcuffed with zip ties.

CAS freshman Jack Gyner was one of the many students in the auditorium wearing a red Make America Great Again hat. Gyner said that he didn’t expect the protests to be as violent as they became, but he was glad that NYU allowed McInnes to speak at the university.

“I think if they’re going to silence opinions on the opposite side, I don’t agree with that — that’s fascism and that’s totalitarianism and that’s exactly what we’re here to try and stop,” Gyner said. “I think the timing is just about right for some intense political discussion.”

NYU spokesperson John Beckman believed that both those who protested and supported McInnes led to the event’s anarchy.

“Our principle at NYU is somebody who comes here to speak — who’s invited by a student organization — should have an opportunity to speak, but this event reflected well on no one,” Beckman said. “There were people in the audience who sought to drown out the speaker, and the speaker sought to bait the audience. It was an unfortunate way for the event to go. The idea is that even controversial or unpopular speakers should have an opportunity to be heard, and people who wish to protest should be able to do so in a way that does not obstruct the ability of others to exercise their right of free speech. This was unusual.”

Email the Natasha Roy, Jemima McEvoy, Sayer Devlin and Diamond Naga Siu at [email protected]

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30 Responses to “Protests and Attacks Cut Gavin McInnes’s Speech Short”

  1. Arafat on February 2nd, 2017 11:42 pm

    Could someone explain the difference between liberals and fascists at this point?

    I mean seriously, across our country from Manhattan to Berkeley liberals are shutting down opposing viewpoints. Hos is this not fascism?

    Liberals and their allies are destroying private property as if they are above the law. If shutting down free speech and destroying property is what liberalsim has come to than it’s little wonder the democratic party has lost more than 1,000 seats at the state and federal level during the eight years of Obama’s presidency.

    And if the liberals keep this fascist behavior up they will lose that many more seats in the future. It serves them right.

  2. Roger Dodger on February 3rd, 2017 12:37 am

    Arrest them; try them; jail them or the legal max. Teach them how life works.

    As to their supporters and enablers in the “media:” What “Fake News”? It’s Lies. It’s war on Americans like you, me, and Trump. It’s “Death To America.”

    Don’t buy their CDs or the products they hawk on TV, don’t go to their inane movies, don’t visit their stupid sites, don’t listen to them on the radio.

    Don’t watch them on their Fake News TV—their Lies—don’t buy tickets to see them do ANYthing, and especially don’t watch or attend their dumb, leftist-activist “shows.” ❌

    Don’t believe any lying word they say. Ignore their lies. Defund them; block their plots. 

    “Find them; fix them in place; isolate them; and ridicule them.” To paraphrase their sly, cabalistic, luciferian leader, Saul Alinksky ?

  3. TimmyJoe on February 3rd, 2017 1:27 am

    The Fascists are losing control. They are beating up Republicans, burning stores, looting, destroying property, firing pop bottle rockets at the police, and throwing firecrackers at them now. What will be next? Bombs? Bullets? The Fascist Democrats are determined to silence the opposition and stage a coup. Our country and it’s governmental system is in trouble because Fascists are poised to overthrow it. And our press is helping them! It’s all madness.

  4. Star on February 3rd, 2017 4:48 am

    The intolerance of the far Left has become increasingly intolerable.

  5. Janice on February 3rd, 2017 6:40 am

    My feeling on this is to let them keep on doing what they are doing, because the more they do it the more unreasonable they look, and they slowly slice away their own support. Whereas fighting back allows them to portray themselves as victims. Give them enough rope, they seem to be doing a very good job of hanging themselves.

  6. Jack on February 3rd, 2017 8:26 am

    Sad that you can’t have free speech anymore in America. Then these kids will wonder why no one will hire them.

  7. Randall on February 3rd, 2017 10:07 am

    Jack. We still have free speech in America. Free speech means the government can’t prosecute you or jail you for speech. That’s it. That’s all it means. And it’s still the case. Gavin McInnes is not in jail. If journalists ever get jailed for criticizing the president, then you can say free speech is dead. If someone is going to speak in an institution where the majority of people do not want them there, there is going to be protest. It’s always been that way and always will. If RuPaul tried to give a speech on how to become a great drag queen in an Evangelical church, I’m sure the speech would not be finished. But what about free speech?!?!?!

  8. Harry Thomas on February 3rd, 2017 10:51 am

    We keep saying to give the left enough rope and they will hang themselves however I do not see this anti American protest movement getting less violent. The police are standing down and allowing these leftist manics to burn and destroy everything in its way. Americans are being backed into a corner and it’s either fight back now or risk losing the very freedoms many have died for to give these liberals the right protest. They risk losing their rights in the future because they are so butt hurt over an election they did not win. What do those of us on the right have to lose at this point by taking to the streets in defiance of left wing fascism? After all we are already being labeled nazis for supporting Trump so how much worse could we appear to the world for taking a stand for free speech?

  9. S. Nichols on February 3rd, 2017 11:04 am

    As a parent, paying through the roof to send my child to NYU, I hope that the University will properly punish the kids caught acting out of control. Just like the Republican Club had a right to have this speaker, kids had a right to protest. However, to behave like heathens by spraying pepper spray at the speaker and not allow the speaker to talk over their “jeers” should not be permitted. Furthermore, any kids verbally assaulting members of the Republican Club should also be punished/written up.

  10. Ned Danison on February 3rd, 2017 11:20 am

    Randall, by your analogy you say that the university is a leftist or liberal institution and rightists or conservatives should know that and stay away. Unfortunately this may be true, and also unfortunately, by your analogy academia has come to resemble a place of religious indoctrination more than an open forum for ideas. This is the problem.

  11. Mac Kingston on February 3rd, 2017 11:32 am

    It’s weird how everyone reading this article (and commenting on it) is apparently Republican. No mixing of cultures, just one group on one side and the other on the other.

    The 2nd American Civil War is right around the corner, so get those guns ready.

  12. David L Wiglesworth on February 3rd, 2017 12:45 pm

    Mac I’m most certainly not republican (of course neither am I a democrat) this sort of behavior is not protected under free speech. free speech ends, just like all the other rights, the instant you use it to encroach upon another’s rights. Oh and Randall perhaps you should use google you’ll find out RuPaul has visited many churches and has never been shut down like this criminal behavior.

  13. S. Nichols on February 3rd, 2017 1:07 pm

    Mac Kingston, what are you talking about??? How is my comment indicative of being a Republican, better yet a gun owner? And how are you affiliated with NYU? Are you a student, or parent paying through the nose to send their child there, or faculty?

  14. stephen orel on February 4th, 2017 8:00 pm

    S Nichols is right.

    Unless I’m mistaken, only students with ID can get into the Kimmel Center where that speech was disrupted, except on special occasions like alumni/parents day when we all have passes.. So all those people who shut it down are, by definition, students. It should not be hard to identify and punish them. They are obviously violating codes of student behavior (if they’re not, those codes should be revised pronto), and in any event behaving in a decidedly uncivil way. and that idiot president of student affairs needs to go. or at least grow a pair. and there’s video of a woman claiming to be an NYU professor screaming obscenities at cops down on W. 4th Street — something needs to be done about her.

    oh and to MacKingston, I am not a republican or Trump supporter.

  15. A on February 5th, 2017 11:21 pm

    So glad to see such obedient lemmings carrying out the commands of their tenured indoctrinators with laser precision. By the way, what is thename of that cherubic, and oh so endearing self-proclaimed professor testing her coronary fortitude, as she showered the NYPD with her thanks and compliments?

  16. jeff sutherland on February 7th, 2017 10:14 am

    i am a canadian and am TOTALLY DISGUSTED !!!! the thing with ” FREE SPEECH ” is that in order to have it ,you have to give it !!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAKE THE FUCK UP ALREADY !!! THAT SCREAMING TEACHER needs TO BE FIRED…..HER ACTIONS SPEAK VOLUMES !!!!!

  17. Jeffrey Goldman on February 7th, 2017 11:57 pm

    S. Nichols, would you mind posting your bank account information? I am really impressed by the fact that you (supposedly) pay tuition for one unfortunate student, and not only identify as a member of the NYU community but also feel entitled to govern the behavior of all students, employees, and faculty. I will send you $2.49 so you can get a Happy Meal from McDonald’s and enjoy a much bigger playground.

  18. Jeffrey Goldman on February 8th, 2017 12:00 am

    By the way, anyone with basic training in discourse analysis and linguistics will notice that a number of the comments under this post have been written by the same fascist loser(s). Good luck trying to destroy the liberal political atmosphere at NYU!

  19. Wayne on February 8th, 2017 2:22 pm

    I am embarrassed by the way the university faculty and the student body handled this speaking engagement. Speakers should be able to come on campus without the fear of being maced, and should have the opportunity to present differing viewpoints. The student body should engage in discussion and debate, not shouting like babies.

  20. Sarah McInnes on February 8th, 2017 2:29 pm

    S Nichols, thank you for supporting libertarian voices on campus as a self-appointed member of NYU PTA. Now let me ask you a couple of questions from a libertarian perspective. If you can’t even afford a university tuition, why did you procreate? Do you think your genes are that important? If they are, why couldn’t you become more successful? If you can’t afford the NYU tuition, why doesn’t your child study at Kansas Community College or wherever?

    NYU is a brand associated with a liberal campus environment. It is preferred by successful students who want to be in New York and enjoy this liberal campus. It is a perfectly well-functioning business model. It would not be sensible to care about the few parents who don’t understand how business works, and use student newspapers to whine about their own ineptitude and bad life choices as they try to teach accomplished professionals how to manage a university.

  21. Sarah McInnes on February 8th, 2017 2:33 pm

    Wayne, a campus talk means money and legitimacy, and the students did not want to lend legitimacy to this horrible human being. They are not shouting like babies, they are taking political action. You are the one whining like a baby in the comments section of a student newspaper. Stop being embarassed on behalf of responsible individuals and try to get a life.

  22. Henry P on February 9th, 2017 8:29 pm

    Dear Jack,

    I am dying to hear the correlation you propose between “kids” (they are not kids by the way, they are adults) not getting jobs and what you perceive as the suppression of freedom of speech on the NYU campus. On that note, please also explain why NYU graduates actually have a higher than average employment rate. We urgently need your insights!

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  24. Monter Zbiorników on February 11th, 2017 3:21 am
  25. Rosa on February 11th, 2017 7:46 pm

    This whole SJW bullshit argument is really a distraction to make certain white men ( mostly in their 60’s) feel relevant again. It also works to distract from real politics happening right now that are resulting in immigrants and refugees suffering in ways these white dudes care nothing about. Their “blaming” of Women’/ Studies, Feminists, Cultural Marxists, Post-Colonialist Scholars, African-American scholars, Queer Studies intellectuals, etc., is so blatant as to be laughable if it were not only hostile and violent as well.

    You guys are ignoring the smart arguments of people like Adolph Reed, and just turning into angry, and disappointed soft fascists. Good luck with that,

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Protests and Attacks Cut Gavin McInnes’s Speech Short