Speeches by conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos and former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli were canceled after heated protests erupted Friday night at UC Davis.
University police put up barricades as protesters shouting “Shut it down!” grew increasingly rowdy in the hours leading up to the talks. The UC Davis College Republicans, which sponsored the event, chose to cancel.
Yiannopoulos writes for the Breitbart.com website and is permanently banned from Twitter after leading a harassment campaign against “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones. He said on his Facebook page that the event was canceled after “violence from left-wing protesters.”
But campus police said there was no violence or property destruction, and no arrests were made.
The school’s interim chancellor, Ralph Hexter, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the protests and cancellation.
“Our community is founded on principles of respect for all views, even those that we personally find repellent,” Hexter said after the cancellation. “As I have stated repeatedly, a university is at its best when it listens to and critically engages opposing views, especially ones that many of us find upsetting or even offensive.”
Yiannopoulos has been on a college speaking tour and has drawn similar reactions at other universities, and a lucrative book deal he recently signed has caused a similar outcry.
Shkreli stepped down as the head of Turing Pharmaceuticals last year after he was charged with securities fraud. He was heavily criticized in 2015 for raising the price of a lifesaving malaria medication and recently was suspended from Twitter for harassing a journalist.
Yiannopoulos took to Facebook on Saturday, attacking both the university and the protesters.
“Left-wing thugs scared UC Davis into canceling my event last night by damaging property, hurling excrement at guests and starting fights. It was the university and campus PD who told us the event could not go ahead. Why is the university and its police force trying to pretend otherwise? Who are they trying to protect?” he wrote.
Jan. 14, 9:50 a.m.: This article was updated with a response from Yiannopoulos.
10:20 p.m.: This article was updated with a quote from Hexter and additional background information.
This article was originally published at 10 p.m. Jan. 13.