The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

Mona Murhamer, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Protesters engaged in heated dialogue as multiple sides attempted to understand each other.

Another weekend in Berkeley, another protest.

On Sept. 24, a short talk by British free speech advocate Milo Yiannopoulos sparked a day-long conversation between conservatives and liberals on various issues.

Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart editor, was originally scheduled to speak at Sproul Plaza in Berkeley as a kick-off to a long-anticipated “Free Speech Week.” The event was canceled after the week’s organizers allegedly failed to meet UC Berkeley’s deadlines for securing an indoor venue.

However, the main message of free speech stuck around and initiated both conversation and confrontation throughout the college town.

Michael DaRodda, a student at UC Berkeley, joined the conversation with Amber Stella, another student, to protest Yiannopoulos’ message.

“We are attacking free speech because their free speech has attacked and sequestered and isolated us for so long,” DaRodda said. “He’s not coming here for free speech, he’s coming here to say that any laundry list of minorities’ rights are un-American.”

Pullquote Photo

We’re opposed to all the incredibly extremist, far-right hate. We’re here to make it known that the two of us, like many people at Berkeley and across the Bay Area, don’t agree with this kind of speech.”

— Michael DaRodda

For others, Yiannopoulos’ advocacy for free speech was helpful and allowed for everyone to voice their opinions.

Sarah, a Sacramento-area resident, wore a “Feminism is Cancer” T-shirt and requested to keep her last name private.

“The first two waves of feminism were necessary and important,” she said. “Women were less than men and did not have as many rights as men. Feminism has now become just complaining about everything men do. It has become cancer because it has become an ugly blemish on our culture. Women are complaining and saying they are victims. I am not a victim– everything I’ve done is my choice.”

Pullquote Photo

I’m here because I believe in free speech for everybody. I don’t care where you’re from, you deserve to have your voice heard. ”

— Sarah

Yiannopoulos’ quick rise as an internet personality is attributed to his beliefs, which are considered derogatory and oppressive by some.

“We could do with a little meanness in American society. The reason people like me get upset with political correctness is that it kills,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

CNBC

Openly gay, Yiannopoulos refers to his fans as “Dangerous Faggots” and denounces lesbians. He also strongly opposes Muslims and believes feminists have nothing to complain about.

These strong beliefs have not stopped his followers, however, and have actually encouraged some to speak freely. Ben Bergquam, a Fresno resident, does not believe in homosexuality as a “lifestyle choice” but supports the message of free speech.

“I believe in all speech,” he said. “There are certain designations that are not allowed, such as incitement, but hate speech is free speech. You have the right to say stupid things. If free speech only protects speech that everyone agrees with, then we don’t have free speech.”

Others, however, felt attacked by Yiannopoulos’ beliefs.

“I feel personally attacked by [Yiannopoulos’] message,” said Stella. “I am part of the LGBT community, and I don’t feel safe being here. I don’t feel safe being around people who support him. Free speech is meant to free you from the oppression, and they’re using their free speech to oppress us.”

One group set up a tent to talk to protesters that wanted to open a dialogue. Dave Gottfried, a Berkeley resident, wanted to make a statement about how important conversation is in a movement for free speech.

“We’re for empathy and a more empathetic world,” Gottfried said. “We just listen, but we also advocate dialogue through active listening. We’re trying to model a non-confrontational dialogue. By being here, we’re trying to make a statement with our presence. We feel that there is an understanding that this is something that’s necessary.”

Regardless of political views, many attendees of the Sept. 24 protest advocated free speech, resulting in Yiannopoulos’ promise to return to the UC Berkeley campus.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, he said, “The purpose of today was to show up on campus no matter what and to let them know we’ll be back as many times as it will take.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
(Visited 1 times, 9 visits today)

Leave a Comment

We invite comments and responses to our content. Comments will be published that are deemed appropriate and relevant.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    Belmont announces first Community Service Awards

  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    Belmont Councilman and former Mayor passes, leaving a legacy

  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    Acquittal in Kate Steinle case reignites controversy

  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    Hundreds of puppies and kittens look for a home this holiday season

  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    Redwood City holds its final celebration for its 150th anniversary

  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    San Carlos Night of Holiday Lights unites community

  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    Belmont Library hosts film festival for teens

  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    Teachers continue the battle over fair pay

  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    Hometown Days opens holiday season for Redwood City

  • Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation

    News

    Food for Fines garners community support

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Canceled ‘Free Speech Week’ sparks conversation