On Tuesday night, after Loyola Marymount University decided to eschew any further attempts to inhibit Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro from speaking there this spring, one female associate professor at the university went into a rage on Twitter, spouting that Shapiro “espouses hate speech, and is linked to numerous hate groups.” She added that she would be organizing protests for the event.
Dr. Nina Lozano describes herself as a “queer Latinx political consultant, activist and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles.”
Lozano did not offer any information to buttress her claim that Shapiro espouses hate speech, and no information supporting her claim that he is “linked to numerous hate groups.” It’s ironic that Lozano should describe Shapiro as “linked to numerous hate groups”: as has been amply documented, in 2017, the Anti-Defamation League conducted a study in which it examined 19,253 explicitly anti-Semitic Twitter messages tagging roughly 800 reporters and editors, and found that the top target by a wide margin was Shapiro, who was tagged in over 7,400 of the tweets, roughly 38% of the total and roughly four times as many as any other journalist.
In October 2017, the Democrat-dominated California legislature, conducted a hearing with the title, “Combating Hate While Protecting the Constitution,” and gave Shapiro two minutes to speak. He stated:
I appreciate the 120 seconds. Your job, obviously here at the legislature, is to ensure that our freedom of expression is maintained, that our First Amendment rights are maintained, and what that means, first and foremost, in my experiences at college campuses, is that the “heckler’s veto” must be stopped.
So, I was at Cal State Los Angeles, in February 2016, and there was almost a riot there, and the police were not allowed to do their jobs, and students were physically assaulted in the crowd. It is the job of this legislature to ensure that police can do their jobs, and when they do do their jobs, and they’re allowed to do that at places like UC Berkeley, everything goes fine.
And I’d like to make a point here about UC Berkeley: the reason it cost $600,000 to bring me to UC Berkeley was not because of me, okay? Everybody keeps suggesting that it was because I was coming; I’m so controversial; I’m so terrible. I came exactly one year before, and it cost this many dollars (Shapiro closed his hand and raised it), it cost zero dollars for security at UC Berkeley. The reason it cost $600,000 at UC Berkeley is because Antifa and violent groups had decided that Berkeley was their domain, and they were going to be able to ride roughshod over law enforcement there.
And this does bring up one final point I want to make in the long period of time I have to discuss, and that is the problem with a legislative body such as yours trying to draw lines specifically about what hate speech constitutes, because the fact is that one of the reasons groups like Antifa show up is not because they know who I am, it’s because they’ve been told by people that I am promulgating hate speech, which is utterly false and utterly untrue.
There are people who say vile things and with whom I disagree … But that does not mean that the legislature gets to decide what hate speech is. I have been labeled a promulgator of hate speech when I was the number one target of hate speech, according to the ADL, among the journalistic community in 2016.
So let me suggest that as a legislature, your chief job is to ensure that my taxpayer dollars in this state go toward making sure that people like me and people with whom I disagree get to speak in places like college campuses, and not toward regulating what speech you find good and what speech you find bad, because it’s a really dangerous business. There’s speech I don’t like; there’s speech you don’t like, but if we can’t agree there’s a difference between speech and violence, we’re not going to be able to have a free state, let alone a free country.
Lozano’s threat to organize protests is reminiscent of February 2016, when professors at Cal State Los Angeles furiously condemned the event on the campus where Shapiro was speaking. One professor threatened to fight the students who had invited Shapiro, calling them “white supremacists,” while another reportedly spread rumors that conservatives were threatening to bring guns to the event. A near-riot broke out at the event itself; intolerant students and staff barricaded the doors to the event, assaulting those who dared to enter the public space, while attendees had to be quietly sneaked in through a back door.
The most recent protest over a Shapiro event occurred at George Washington University two weeks ago, where flyers were posted threatening Young America’s Foundation for sponsoring the event.
Shapiro’s lectures have been targeted by universities or student groups on campuses before, including the University of Southern California, UCLA, the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, the University of California, Merced, the University of Connecticut, Concordia College, Tufts University, the University of California, Berkeley, Northwestern University, DePaul University, and California State University, Los Angeles.