Illustration by Liene Magdalena

NYUNY postpones Milo Yiannopoulos talk scheduled for Oct. 31

At the request of NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, NYU New York agreed to postpone a talk by notorious media personality Milo Yiannopoulos.

Nov 10, 2018

A scheduled appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos on Oct. 31 at NYU New York was indefinitely postponed after representatives from the New York City Police Department and NYU’s Public Safety Department came to a joint conclusion alluding to security concerns and Yiannopoulos’ numerous controversies in the past.
New York City Council members cited ongoing Halloween parades and the Pittsburgh shooting as motives for apprehension, claiming the current “stretch in the City’s police and public safety resources” would leave the Yiannopoulos talk unsupervised and potentially dangerous should protests occur.
The outspoken polemicist has previously called for the deaths of journalists at the hands of vigilante squads and has been accused of inciting racial slurs against Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. Yiannopoulos had been invited to NYUNY by Global Liberal Studies Professor Michael Rectenwald, who scheduled the talk for a class he is teaching this semester.
Rectenwald, who refers to himself as an “anti-PC cultural and social libertarian” on Twitter, condemned the postponement of Yiannopoulos’ talk, claiming he was “merely trying to arrange a cultural exchange between my class and a harmless person from the center-right”. Rectenwald went on to denounce the postponement, stating “leftist protesters are the ones who pose the actual danger, with their proclivity for violence”.
NYUNY spokesman John Beckman highlighted “the importance of close coordination between NYUNY’s Public Safety personnel and the NYPD in ensuring safety,” placing emphasis on the shared desire to protect the local community as a key reason behind postponing the talk.
Nonetheless, this is not Yiannopoulos’ first encounter with NYU; in 2016, NYU cancelled his planned visit due to concerns over security and wellbeing of students. While the Oct. 31 visit had not been publicly advertised, the university still deemed it necessary to postpone the event due to the ongoing Children’s Halloween Parade and Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in close proximity to the university’s campus.
In light of the cancellation, Yiannopoulos, who calls himself “the most censored man in America”, responded stating that "the entire city of New York is terrified of one gay man stepping out of line and calling out the Left as the intolerant, censorious crybabies they are." The former Breitbart writer has had a string of university appearances cancelled, leading to questions of whether giving him a public platform enables hateful rhetoric or grants him the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The postponement of Yiannopoulos’ talk has opened a myriad of questions about this issue at NYU Abu Dhabi.
In response to Yiannopoulos’s invitation to NYUNY, Luis Rodriguez, a member of the Class of 2022, spoke out against Yiannopoulos’ message, stating “his hateful rhetoric is designed to incite controversy and divide communities, going directly against NYU’s mission to create harmoniously diverse communities across its campuses. By inviting him to campus, NYU is endorsing his ability to further provoke anger and divide communities.”
Conversely, members of the NYU community have come out in support of Yiannopoulos’ right to speak. Nour Samy, Class of 2020 at NYUAD, elaborated on the difference between free and hate speech. “Yiannopoulos is intentionally inflammatory, but at no point is he intolerant of specific ethnicities, races or other societal groups. The intolerance he portrays is typically against certain ideas or values; things based in academia and theory as opposed to identity issues.”
Samy went on to add that, “security concerns surrounding the event arose when protesters overreacted; the issue was not with Milo being on campus. The mayor would not have requested for the event to be postponed if there wasn’t a risk of excessive backlash and violent protests.”
No expected date for the realization of the talk has been announced, according to Beckman.
Vlado Vasile is Deputy News Editor. Email him at
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