The Brooklyn School of Music canceled an event starring popular comedian and musician Owen Benjamin just over 24 hours before the event was scheduled to take place. Instead of “freaking out,” Benjamin took to his popular YouTube channel with 91,000 subscribers to request another venue. “This is an opportunity for event venue owners,” he said. Within hours, they had a new venue — and this time one with a bar.
Benjamin explained in a YouTube livestream that his contract with the Brooklyn School of Music said that the event could not be terminated within 24 hours before its start time. The comedian also noted that the university promised they were not going to cancel, but cancel they did. Since the cancelation was legitimate, Benjamin said he wouldn’t seek compensation for the inconvenience. Instead, he was going to look to the free market to save free speech.
“Now this is the strategy. The worst thing we can do is act crazy,” stated the comedian. “We need another venue that seats 260. … This is the Brooklyn School of Music who won’t let someone who can play Bach by ear perform there because of my political stance that half of America agrees with. Do you understand that? Let that sink in.”
A short time after putting out the invitation for another venue to cash in on the event, Benjamin announced that the free market showed up once again.
“Good news about new NYC venue is they have a bar. The ‘art’ school didn’t. Woo hoo! In the future we won’t face this cancelation problem, it’s art schools that are insane. I honestly never saw that coming. Much love! I’m on,” he wrote.
Demand from the market, and it shall supply — it’s basic economics, and Owen Benjamin fans are seeing that hold true this week.
Benjamin is unafraid to voice his opinions on political correctness and white privilege both on the stage and on social media. It’s “controversial” opinions like these, he says, that are the impetus behind the cancelation of his event.
Political correctness, a phenomenon Mel Brooks claims will be the “death of comedy,” is suffocating the capabilities of individuals to express themselves in society. Whether it is in academia or the arts, political correctness has lead to broad swaths of censorship from public and private institutions. Even private companies like Twitter and YouTube have received condemnation from conservatives and liberals alike for their de-verification, demonetization, and other censorship practices targeting conservatives with platforms. Steven Crowder’s suspension from Twitter is a recent example.
The solution, as Benjamin just demonstrated, is the free market, which is the healthiest way to push back against political correctness while respecting the differences between public and private forums.