Mayor nixes Yiannopolous Halloween talk at N.Y.U. for security reasons

Milo Yiannopolous’s planned appearance in the Village on Halloween, and the clash that it could produce, frightened local politicians. They feared it could threaten the safety of the Greenwich Village Children’s Halloween Parade in Washington Square, plus add to the pressure already on the neighborhood and police due to the massive Greenwich Village Halloween Day Parade.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Wed., Oct. 31: The mayor has intervened to cancel a scheduled appearance by Milo Yiannopolous, the provocative right-wing media personality, at New York University on Wednesday. The university acceded to the mayor’s request, citing “public safety reasons.”

“Mayor Bill de Blasio today requested that N.Y.U. postpone and reschedule the classroom appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos for public safety reasons in light of the nearby Halloween parades and N.Y.P.D. assessments of risk,” university spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement. “Given the importance of close coordination between N.Y.U.’s Public Safety personnel and the N.Y.P.D. to ensuring safety, the University agreed to the postponement.”

Yiannopolous, in an Instagram post, blasted the mayor and New York City as  a whole.

“As of today, I am without question the most censored man in America,” he wrote. “The entire city of New York is terrified about one gay man stepping out of line and calling the out the Left as the intolerant, censorious crybabies they are. … The Mayor of New York demanded my talk at NYU be canceled (‘rescheduled’ in their euphemistic language) and the President of NYU has complied. … RIP First Amendment. They’re not even pretending anymore.”

Yiannopolous has called for deporting Muslims from Western countries and has endorsed pedophilia, among other things.

Local politicians had urged the N.Y.U. professor who invited the alt-right lightning rod to speak to his class to reschedule the event — so as not to conflict with the Village’s Halloween parades.

The former Breibart editor had been scheduled to address a liberal-studies class about “the identity politics of Halloween.” But mixing Yiannopolous and the Village’s Halloween processions is too combustible in the eyes of local representatives.

Signing a joint letter calling for N.Y.U. Professor Michael Rectenwald — a self-described “deplorable” — to reschedule the talk were Councilmember Margaret Chin, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Carlina Rivera.

N.Y.U.’s buildings around Washington Square are located in Chin’s Council District 1.

“We are united as a community in denouncing the hate expressed by Milo Yiannapoulos [sic],” the pols wrote in a press release . “We also share the values enshrined in the First Amendment, and the principle of academic freedom and would not attempt to thwart free expression. Nevertheless, we believe that this right should not come at the cost of the safety of residents, students and participants in cherished community events. The longstanding Children’s Halloween Parade and the immediately following Greenwich Village Halloween Day Parade put enormous pressures on this part of the city in terms of crowds and stretch our city’s police and public safety resources. Adding such a potentially controversial event at the same time in the same neighborhood is not prudent.

“The timing of this visit is particularly troubling in other ways,” the elected officials added. “Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001, and is just days from the horrific shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh and incidents involving mailed explosives to prominent current and former officials.

“In light of these factors, we urge the N.Y.U. professor who made the invitation to heed calls to reschedule this visit. While our right to free speech is sacred, so is the ability of families to take part in community Halloween festivities without fear.”

One year ago on Halloween, an ISIS-inspired terrorist in a rental truck entered the Hudson River bike path at Pier 40, at W. Houston St., and mowed down eight people — mostly tourists — riding on the bikeway in Tribeca. The terrorist later admitted he timed the attack for that day, figuring he could do more damage since more people would be outside.

“If this visit proceeds on Halloween as currently planned,” the politicians continued, “we urge the New York Police Department to coordinate with N.Y.U. and others to ensure the safety of the entire community. Though we disagree vehemently with the hateful views of this individual, it is our hope that any protests that might occur are peaceful. We believe that our democratic values will ultimately triumph over hate and division.”

For his part, state Senator Brad Hoylman issued his own statement in response to Yiannopolous’s planned appearance — nothing. Hoylman’s statement is just an empty page, with a footnote below it: “[Intentionally left blank as to deny him the controversy and attention he craves.].”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *