Audience size decreased for Ben Shapiro’s UC Berkeley event

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The Young America’s Foundation criticized UC Berkeley administration Tuesday for shrinking the number of seats allocated for conservative writer Ben Shapiro’s talk Sept. 14.

In a press release issued Tuesday morning, YAF spokesperson Spencer Brown stated campus officials had notified event organizers that they would be lowering the maximum number of seats from 1,978 to 1,024. This latest development in Shapiro’s scheduled event follows controversies surrounding the nearly $16,000 security fee charged to YAF and Berkeley College Republicans for hosting Shapiro in Zellerbach Hall.

“This latest attempt by UC Berkeley to prevent students from hearing Ben Shapiro at this stop of the Fred Allen Lecture Series reeks of desperation and hypocrisy,” Brown wrote in the press release.

According to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof, the maximum audience size was decreased because the balcony overlooking Zellerbach’s main floor will be closed due to safety concerns. Anything thrown from the balcony could cause injuries to people below, and confrontations could result in “significant injury” if anyone falls over the railing, Mogulof wrote in an email.

Due to the decrease in audience size, Mogulof added, the security fee for the event will also be reduced to $9,162. Mogulof wrote that the campus will still take financial responsibility for the venue and staffing costs.

Campus officials were criticized recently for not yet releasing tickets for Shapiro’s event, with an article for the conservative publication Daily Wire alleging YAF and BCR representatives were unable to set up a meeting with Cal Performances to discuss the matter. According to Mogulof, ticketing for the event will begin when BCR finalizes their decisions about “logistical specifics.”

“Berkeley’s press leaks, public statements, and grandstanding on a ‘free speech year’ fall far short of believable or convincing when their hypocritical actions over the past six months are considered,” Brown wrote.

Ashley Wong is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @wongalum.

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  • SMH

    Ben Shapiro… A *racist* Jew… Ohhh, the irony…

    Yet they exist (as racist colonialists) by the *millions* in Israel — and at the *least* as Zionists in the Euro-West.

    These are the *Jewish*-white-supremacists. Certainly the *Jewish*-white-nationalists.

    These are the *Zio*-NAZIs… The *Jewish* _NA_tionalist _ZI_onistS.

    They’re anti-Palestinian/anti-Middle Eastern, anti-Black, & anti-Latino. They’re probably anti-Asian too (the progressively darker/browner the Asian skin is). (Actually, the *Zio*-NAZIs have been for many years now importing — trafficking in — poor Chinese and, especially, Southeast Asian women workers to do all the domestic/residential dirty work in Israel, and basically treating those poor Asian women like domestic slaves, and, through various “legal” devices, including keep those Asian women’s passports, keeping those poor Asian women from leaving — trapped — as long as possible.)

    The *JEWISH* ‘alt-right’.

  • ShadrachSmith

    I listened to a stream of Shapiro at Yale. Awesome speaker, but that’s beside the point at Berkeley, the illegal enforcement of the hecklers veto is the big event.

  • BerkPed

    Ben Shapiro seems boring. He just tells jokes about liberals, and the jokes aren’t very funny.
    He seems to make lots of specious arguments, and cynically mock people.

    If you like that kind of thing, I guess you could go, but it seems like a waste of time.

    • Rollie

      Finally! An anti-Shapiro sentiment that doesn’t involve a call for censoring him. BerkPed, this will make you more than a few enemies in Berkeley. Godspeed.

  • Leo Rubini

    They can keep jacking up the price, for Ben Shapiro security. The parents of these kids will float it with what they spend on dinner. Mud on face Berkeley…again!! You guys are not truly thaaaat arrogant are you? People need to listen and think and be exposed to new ideas. it’s ok, the collective truth will emerge. You are still a university, you know where ideas are explored..yeah?

  • Killer Marmot

    Due to the decrease in audience size, Mogulof added, the security fee for the event will also be reduced to $9,162. Mogulof wrote that the campus will still take financial responsibility for the venue and staffing costs.

    That Berkeley would charge the sponsoring group a massive security fee is a huge coup for the Antifa. It demonstrates that violent tactics work.

  • roccolore

    Berzerkley proves their hatred of free speech.

  • FreedomFan

    Ben Shapiro is the most terrifying person in the world to leftists:

    He is an honorable, fearless, highly intelligent, articulate Conservative. He mercilessly exposes the Democrats’ lies with such alacrity and common sense that he has become a folk hero for those who value truth.

    Shapiro is a religious Jewish person who is critical of Trump as well as the alt-left and alt-right. Leftists have no defense against such a powerful weapon, except administrative thuggery and street violence.

    This is why leftists will try to destroy him by any means necessary, as Berkeley’s despicable behavior illustrates.

  • Insanity

    Pathetic. Berkeley has become the biggest laughingstock in the country. These administrators should all be fired and banned from any type of education position for life.

  • mike pearce

    Because the crazies who protest are flat out violent and dangerous. It is not the conservatives.

  • you know this guy has great points if any one is smart they should be able to see that on my levels he makes great points..

  • Arlington_Individual

    Berkeley is utterly pathetic. I’ve never seen this many roadblocks put up for a speaker at a public university. What is Berkeley afraid of? I think the leftists are afraid to be challenged–and then intellectually dominated–by Ben Shapiro.

  • SMH

    .

    Ben Shapiro… A *racist* Jew… Ohhh, the irony…

    Yet they exist (as racist colonialists) by the *millions* in Israel — and at the *least* as Zionists in the Euro-West.

    These are the *Jewish*-white-supremacists. Certainly the *Jewish*-white-nationalists.

    These are the *Zio*-NAZIs… The _NA_tionalist _ZI_onists.

    They’re anti-Palestinian/anti-Arab, anti-Black, & anti-Latino. They’re probably anti-Asian too (the progressively darker the Asian skin is).

    The *JEWISH* ‘alt-right’.

    .

    • FreedomFan

      White Supremacists and Antifa both hate Jewish people, as this comment illustrates.

      • SMH

        .
        FreedomFan: “White Supremacists and Antifa both hate Jewish people, as this comment illustrates.”

        Ahhh, yet another *MORONIC* comment by “FreedomFan” (who’s only life is the Daily Cal comments sections, although he’s not a student, and not even from/in Berkeley!).

        Since Jews are among both white-supremacists — *Jewish*-white-supremacy (primarily in historic Palestine), otherwise known as *Zionists*, as opposed to the usual Christian-white-supremacy (“FreedomFan’s” buddies, unless he’s Zionist) — and otherwise Jews are heavily represented among anti-fascists (among them Jews who are often *anti*-Zionists) — so, how could anti-fascist, especially, hate Jews?

        .

    • D.Plorable

      You mean like George Soros, Jeff Zucker, Mark Zuckerberg, Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, Dov Zakheim, Charles Schumer? There appears to be two consistent truths that apply to all of them–and many more in their respective elites (like the guy who owns Univision)

      they are stridently against enforcing the borders of the United States, and just about hysterically against a wall.

      But they are just fine with Israel having a wall to defend itself.

      I think that Mr. Shapiro stands in sharp contrast to them in that he is OK with defending the borders of the U.S.

  • So all these “safeguards” need to be put in place because leftists may act unlawfully? Seems to me that they’re the problem.

  • davend

    YAF is funded by the DeVoses and the Kochs. I think they have plenty of money to pay to pay for security.

    • Joe McCarthy’s Ghost

      Also, Young America’s Foundation is a 501c(3) tax exempt organization. If you ask, YAF will claim to be non-partisan.

      • davend

        Follow the money; look at their sponsored speaker list.

    • FreedomFan

      Antifa is funded by Soros and his marxist pals. They have plenty of money.

    • Arlington_Individual

      It doesn’t matter what money they have. They are being charged a fee to access police protection that anyone else would be entitled to have for free. It’s a “poll tax” for speaking.

      • davend

        YAF doesn’t sponsor academic speakers and not everyone is entitled to a state-funded microphone. If YAF wants to bring incendiary speakers to campus, they should pay for any incremental costs to the state.

        • Arlington_Individual

          YAF isn’t bringing “incendiary” speakers by any 2017 standard (Ben Shapiro was a never Trumper, is an Orthodox Jew, is the chief target of the alt-right, and has openly advocated for his supporters to not engage in any violence at all at Berkeley in his defense). And even if Shapiro were “incendiary” we have this crazy thing called the First Amendment, which guarantees speech protection for everyone–and the state has no right to engage in viewpoint discrimination.

          The real issue is that the left desperately wants to shut Shapiro down with the “hecklers’ veto”–the left threatens violence and the state uses its power to shut down or derail the speaking engagement under the pretense of “security.” What’s going on is so transparent that it’s laughable. As of this morning, Berkeley doesn’t even have Shapiro’s speech on its calendar of events.

          • BerkPed

            he does use obscene gestures and call his audience names

            https://badgerherald.com/media/2016/11/shapiro-1290×600.jpg

          • Arlington_Individual

            So you obviously don’t know the context to this, although you could find it in literally 5 seconds on YouTube if you cared to look it up. A group of ~2 dozen people rushed the stage and shut Shapiro’s speech down for about 20 minutes. In the process (while they were up on stage) they were calling Shapiro a Nazi and white supremacist (he’s an Orthodox Jew). The police finally escorted them away, and as they were being escorted away they were shouting nasty things at him. So he flipped them off.

          • Leo Rubini

            Agreed man they could have had his back on security, regardless of his political viewpoints. Soo disgusting and disappointing to see what I used to think was a leading university, really have to desire to assist us ALL in upholding the first amendment.

          • davend

            Ben Shapiro by no means an academic and this is by no means an academic event. Shapiro is a blogger and former Breitbart employee; his views have consistently aligned closely with the so-called “alt-right”—other than the fact that he didn’t support Trump. He made his name at UCLA (ironically) attacking the notion of public education in long diatribes on World Net Daily.

            YAF intentionally targets campuses where they know they will create controversy and potentially, violence. Shapiro is paid by YAF who already has a long and notable history of bringing or trying to bring similar “personalities” to Cal.

            The First Amendment doesn’t require that every point of view known to man be given equal access to a state-sponsored microphone and state-funded campus security. I don’t have an inherent “right” to give a speech at a state university. Neither does Ben Shapiro.

          • Arlington_Individual

            Wow, you literally know nothing of Ben Shapiro, demonstrated in you calling him an “alt-right” person. The “alt-right” is literally a white nationalist and highly anti-Semitic movement founded in the 1990s. In 2016, the Anti-Defamation League said that Ben Shapiro was the #1 target for anti-Semitic rhetoric on the internet. Shapiro is a chief critic of the alt-right. He not only has nothing to do with the alt-right, he and the alt-right routinely do intellectual battle. What you’re saying is so demonstrative of the what the left is doing–you’re attempting to tie anyone with mainstream conservative beliefs to white supremacy. What you’re doing is repugnant and intellectually dishonest to the highest degree.

            Regardless, even if Shapiro were an alt-right Nazi (which, as a yarmulke-wearing Orthodox Jew, he obviously isn’t), as a public university Berkeley DOES have a legal obligation to accommodate his speech. As a limited public forum, Berkeley can set rules for time and place, but those rules must be applied fairly regardless of content. Berkeley has obviously not fairly applied the rules to Shapiro, which is the point of the criticism.

            USA Today provides an informative summary on a public university’s legal obligations to speech:

            http://college.usatoday.com/2017/04/20/do-controversial-figures-have-a-right-to-speak-at-public-universities/

          • davend

            Ever heard the expression “You lie with dogs; you get fleas”? Did you somehow miss the fact that Ben Shapiro was an Editor at Breitbart for *four years*? Or that part where Steve Bannon explicitly called Breitbart the “platform of the alt-right”? That Ben Shapiro himself has referred to Breitbart “the alt-right go-to website”? That he claims that Breitbart “Push[es] white-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness”?

            Also, there are (sadly) plenty of Orthodox Jews who have closely aligned themselves with Steve Bannon and the alt-right movement, including Benjamin Netanyahu and most of his cabinet. Did you miss the part where Steve Bannon was invited as an honored guest speaker for the Zionist Organization of America’s annual gala? And now Ben suddenly decides he wants to hide behind his Yarmulke?

            Bottom line is that Ben Shapiro can’t both cash a paycheck by pushing white nationalism and conspiracy theories on Breitbart and World Net Daily and then also somehow claim that he is magically a legitimate “mainstream conservative.” You can’t have it both ways. If Ben Shapiro wants to spout off his theories he is free to chatter away on Sproul with the rest of the daily parade of kooks and evangelists as far as I am concerned. That’s free speech. But for me as a mainstream conservative, who is NOT a white supremacist, I don’t want my tax dollars used to support Shapiro’s incendiary white-nationalist, anti-education agenda.

          • Arlington_Individual

            Are you mental? Ben Shapiro RESIGNED from Breitbart in protest in 2016. Literally everything you’re saying is an obvious bastardization of the truth. Regardless, even if Shapiro were a Nazi (which is absurd on its face), he still has the right to speak peacefully, uninhibited, on a public university campus, his views notwithstanding.

          • SecludedCompoundTTYS

            They are literally slow…

      • Snippy

        That’s not true. Security fee is normal when you book a Cal venue and based on the audience size. Security fee for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was almost $6000 for a smaller audience. Realistically it will probably cost quite a bit more than they are actually being charged for Shapiro. This is what it’s like to plan events in the grown up world.

        • Arlington_Individual

          Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Sotomayor and others REQUESTED security, hence the charge of a security fee. Shapiro, Milo, Coulter, etc. aren’t requesting security–security is being forced upon them by Cal because the left is threatening to riot. If YAF didn’t have the money (if they were poor), the “hecklers’ veto” would have effectively shut down the event.

          • Snippy

            You can’t have an event without security. Even the ballet has to have some security. They aren’t just going to let a student event take hold of a multi-million dollar facility without security. All of the costs for renting the space are spelled out online, from the per-ticket printing fee and credit card processing fee for tickets, to janitors. Since security coverage scales to the size of crowd that is a variable, but they have a formula for it as well. http://cfo.berkeley.edu/cal-performances-recharge-rates

            If the student Republicans are honestly trying to have a speaking event without any problems then they should be grown ups about. Anyone trying to argue against having any security sounds like they are more interested in having a chaotic scene as before. Besides, this is going to cost Cal a LOT more than they are charging.

          • Arlington_Individual

            The way you bastardize facts is truly mind-boggling. Berkeley has already been sued for fee discrimination in the last decade and was forced to back down.

            https://www.thefire.org/controversial-speakers-face-huge-security-fees-at-berkeley-and-colorado-2/

            The Dali was charged a $25,000 fee for 8,500-person event and 24/7 security, vs. $10,000 for 1,000 people and a few hours for the Shapiro event. So yes, it’s pretty clear that Berkeley has no problem with viewpoint discrimination regarding fees, particularly involving the hecklers’ veto. Most organizations that have security are charged a few hundred dollars, and no, not every event requires security. The vast, vast, vast majority of events don’t require the hiring of additional security personnel. If you’ve ever been to a college campus meeting or event, you’ll have seen that 95% of the time there is no security required.

            Besides, the fee is just one of countless obstacles Berkeley has set up, originally claiming there were no venues available at all and not providing any alternative dates; refusing the release of tickets to the public for reservation; then requiring that tickets be picked up in-person the day before the event; not putting the event on its event calendar; reducing the capacity of the event arbitrarily; charging an excessive security fee; ducking out of meetings with organizers. That you could defend this speaks volumes about the left.

    • BerkPed

      Wow, they do have big money

      http://www.yaf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/2011-YAF-990-Public-Copy.pdf

      YAF total assest 45 million
      annual revenue 15 million
      3 million spent on “lectures on college campuses”

  • FreedomFan

    Sounds like lawsuit time. Why not just put a couple of cops in the balcony? Too simple I guess.

    • SMH

      .
      Hey FreedomFan !…

      How’s that Berkeley College Republicans’ lawsuit from last Spring Semester against the University going?…

      You know…: the one a *LLLAUGHED* at and said WASN’T GOING ANYWHERE — except money into their attorney’s pocket!! And I hope their attorney got *PPLLLENNNTY* of it from them.

      (I bet that their attorney secretly knew it wasn’t going anywhere too — but hey…: free money from a bunch of right-wing *idiots* is free money from a bunch of right-wing *idiots*!! …Plus their attorney got a lot of free publicity from the local media!)

      HA-HA-HA!!…
      .

      • Rollie

        SMH, a helpful hint for you: Please take a writing class. It would help your messages to be taken seriously. If not a whole class, then at least consider a lesson or two in basic punctuation. But by all means, keep your comments coming in the meantime.

        • FreedomFan

          SMH is a RWNJ who is posing as a deranged fool to embarrass Democrats. It’s just performance art.

          • SMH

            .
            Hey, FreedomFan, I didn’t *hear* ya…:

            How that right-wing lawsuit from last spring against the University comin’ along?…

            Ha-ha-ha….
            .

        • SMH

          .
          Well, as long as *you’re* reading them, Rollie…

          Ha-ha-ha…
          .

      • lspanker

        You sound like somebody pushing a shopping cart up Telegraph @ 3 AM, screaming to nobody in particular.

        • SMH

          I guess that’s why *you*, lspanker (*nobody* in particular), read all my comments.

          Ha-ha-ha…
          .

    • BerkeleyMews

      Or put up netting to intercept projectiles.