Milo Yiannopoulos was only on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, for less than an hour on Sunday, but because of safety concerns, his appearance cost the school $800,000.
The British right-wing pundit appeared on the steps of the famous Sproul Hall – ironically the birthplace of the 1960s Free Speech movement – after his highly-anticipated Free Speech Week was abruptly canceled.
While he was there, Yiannopoulos took pictures with fans, signed his new book and took part in singing the national anthem.
Attendees–including Yiannopoulos himself– had to pass through metal detectors to get into the event.
Dan Mogulof, a campus spokesman, called it was “the most expensive photo op in the university’s history,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
At least 11 were arrested during the event, including four Antifa members who were dressed in their typical all-black attire, The Mercury News reported. One man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat was also detained.
Two weeks prior to this event, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro appeared on campus, costing the school $600,000 to keep the peace.
At the time, Shapiro blamed the city’s radical Antifa agitators as the reason UC Berkeley had to spend so much money on safety. “Free speech isn’t free. It costs over $600,000, thanks to Antifa,” he tweeted.
The Sunday protest was organized in response to the cancellation of Free Speech Week, where both organizers and the university blamed each other for lack of commitment to ensure its happening.
Yiannopoulos claims he was forced into canceling the event, which was supposed to include speakers such as former White House advisor Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter, due to the university’s unreasonable requests and lack of support.
At a press conference on Saturday, the former Breitbart editor accused the university of using bureaucratic tricks to derail the event, charging that UC Berkeley “had done everything in its power to crush” it.
UC Berkeley countered, saying that Yiannopoulos and the student group that organized the event did not meet multiple deadlines to ensure the event occurred. The school claimed that it did not try to block the event, noting that it was prepared to spend vast amounts of money to ensure the safety of all.
Yiannopoulos told Berkeleyside, a local publication, that he plans to return to the campus every year, if necessary. He added that he hopes to reschedule speeches by Bannon and Coulter.
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