According to CNN host W. Kamau Bell, the cancellation of university speakers such as Ann Coulter is about protecting students from so-called hate speech, and not an issue of free speech.
Bell, who hosts the series “United Shades of America,” appeared Thursday on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer and was asked about free speech issues at colleges and the furor at UC-Berkeley over conservatives speaking on campus.
Following Bell’s remark about being a proud resident of the “People’s Republic of Berkeley, California” and his lament that a riot there had disrupted a farmers’ market he frequents, he claimed that Berkeley was right to refuse to host right-wing speakers.
“That’s not about free speech,” Bell said. “The reason why people’s speeches are being canceled is because it’s a safety issue. If your free speech leads to hate speech, and it makes people feel unsafe, then universities have the right to protect the kids on campus.”
Even the liberal American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) does not share Bell’s view of the situation. The organization has stated that UC-Berkeley violated Coulter’s right to free speech when it canceled her scheduled appearance.
The heckler’s veto of Coulter’s Berkeley speech is a loss for the 1st Amendment. We must protect speech on campus, even when hateful.
— ACLU National (@ACLU) April 26, 2017
Earlier in Thursday’s interview, Bell boasted about the “uncomfortable” discussions he has had on his show and advised viewers to listen to those with differing points of view.
“I think we’re not doing enough of listening to people and to talking to each other and getting engaged in these uncomfortable conversations… and listen to people who we may think differently than us but a lot of times we find out they’re more like us than we realize,” Bell said.
H/T: The Daily Caller
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