On Hannity Wednesday night, Ann Coulter not only slammed UC Berkeley, but also many of the people who were supposed to be standing with her in defense of free speech.
Describing the debacle surrounding her canceled, then un-canceled, but moved, then officially canceled appearance at the university as more evidence of just how "radical" most universities have become, Coulter told host Sean Hannity that it was clear that Berkeley in particular was out to "destroy" conservative speech.
"Berkeley, as you know, all along, they've changed their position every five minutes," she said. "It's like a game of musical chairs, and every time the music stops, the answer is, 'No, she can't speak.'" The university, she explained, repeatedly demonstrated that they weren't serious about properly protecting her and treating her like they would non-conservative speakers. In the end, she said, the university has made clear that it wants "to destroy and squelch conservative speech."
But Coulter's criticism was not only directed at Berkeley; she also chided the Young America's Foundation, which pulled their support for the event this week, citing security concerns. "The ran away, they gave in," she said, adding later, "All of the people who should be standing up for the First Amendment here all ran away with their tails between their legs."
Coulter made a similar comment to The New York Times on Wednesday. "It's a sad day for free speech," she said. "Everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away."
Speaking to Reuters on the same, Coulter remarked, "I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team."
YAF announced on Wednesday that it was officially pulling out of the event due to security concerns after the university had repeatedly signaled that it could not or would not provide proper protection for participants. Though Coulter characterized YAF as having "given in," they have certainly not stopped fighting. Last week, YAF threatened to file a federal lawsuit against the university over its unequal treatment of Coulter, and this week, did just that, as the conservative author noted in her interview with Hannity.
One rather surprising defender of Coulter and the First Amendment, as The Daily Wire's Joseph Curl highlighted on Thursday, was the ACLU, who actually stood "purely on principle," rather than letting its leftwing ideology get in the way like it usually does. Below is the statement the ACLU issued in response to the shameful Berkeley situation:
The unacceptable threats of violence that have led to the ‘hecklers’ veto’ of Ann Coulter’s speech at Berkeley are inconsistent with free speech principles that protect us all from government overreach," ACLU Legal Director David Cole said in a statement. "Hateful speech has consequences, particularly for people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and others who have been historically marginalized. But if the government gets to decide which speech counts as hate speech, the powers that be may later feel free to censor any speech they don’t like.
For the future of our democracy, we must protect bigoted speech from government censorship. On college campuses, that means that the best way to combat hateful speech is through counter-speech, vigorous and creative protest, and debate, not threats of violence or censorship.