The NYU College Republicans posted on its Facebook page yesterday that the NYU administration has postponed the appearance of guest speaker Lucian Wintrich, White House press correspondent for the Gateway Pundit, that was scheduled to take place this Thursday.
“Unfortunately, the [NYU Anti-fascists] decided [Wintrich is] a fascist because he likes to take pictures of male models with MAGA hats, and they have threatened to shut down the event,” NYUCR’s Facebook post said. “The administration is not cancelling the event, but has required us to postpone to give them more time to prepare to deal with mass disruption and and harassment from [the NYU Anti-fascists].”
The NYUCR’s previous event, featuring guest speaker Gavin McInnes, resulted in 11 arrests, and a protester maced McInnes in the eyes before he even entered the building — NYPD and NYU Public Safety officers were there as well. The NYUCR previously faced similar difficulties after inviting conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at the university in October 2016. However, unlike Wintrich’s present situation, that event was cancelled without rescheduling — a decision also made by the administration.
Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Marc Wais confirmed that the event was postponed due to security reasons.
“We notified the leadership of the College Republicans that we needed to postpone this proposed speaking engagement due to a lack of time to plan for a safe event,” Wais said.
Wintrich said that this afternoon, he was forwarded a text message from the NYU Anti-fascists expressing its objection to him speaking at the university. He said that an hour or so later, the NYUCR notified him that they were debating with the administration over his attendance.
“I was obviously very disappointed that a group calling itself Anti-Fascists would cause such a fascist shut down of a budding conservative speaker,” Wintrich said. “I think what really does scare the left is that people like me — gay conservatives — are not conforming to their very regimented view of identity politics.”
CAS junior and NYUCR President Elena Hatib said that members were excited to attend Wintrich’s event because he is close in age to them — they wanted to hear about his career and how his identity fits into his political views. She also said that on-campus anti-fascist groups are blindly pigeonholing Wintrich.
“It’s shocking to see how certain student groups at NYU are quick to jump and call him a fascist just because he’s a Republican,” Hatib said. “If they’ve looked at his work and his interviews, they would understand his views a bit more. He even describes himself as a ‘Goldwater Republican’ and has expressed very open views about certain social issues.”
Hatib cited Goldwater Republicans in reference to Republicans who adopt the views of 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.
She also believes that Anti-fascists lashing out at conservative speakers is ideologically contradictory because the group’s members advocate against censorship and for free speech, yet they do not want a speaker invited by NYUCR to express his views.
“These students keep claiming and screaming ‘fascist’ and ‘nazi’ for anything slightly right of center when those two ideologies were built around censoring speech and different political ideas,” Hatib said. “It’s very hypocritical.”
Wintrich said that during the event, he planned on discussing identity politics and the folly of using them to create an entire platform and worldview — he thinks this is ironic considering the reaction from the Anti-fascists.
“These very fascist, leftist groups get very upset and intimidated when they are not able to claim every single minority that they are trying to claim,” Wintrich said. “Their entire narrative rests on claiming — pretending that they are standing up for individuality and freedom of expression, when that is absolutely the opposite of the case.”
Wintrich said that he was not expecting such drastic resistance in reaction to his impending visit to NYU. He had planned to bring his Colombian boyfriend with him to the event and said that he would not have agreed to speak unless he thought the situation was safe.
Hatib said that in the hours following the announcement, NYUCR received many requests to attend Wintrich’s event when it is rescheduled. She also said that NYUCR anticipates working with administration and understands NYU’s concerns about hosting Wintrich at the last minute.
“The administration thinks it’s best to postpone the event for a future time so we can have more preparation to keep our members safe against riots and protests should they occur,” Hatib said. “Our members were upset that groups like the [NYU Anti-Fascists] keep targeting our events, but are looking forward to seeing Wintrich speak at a later time.”
Wintrich believes the university’s claim that it needs a month to gather security for the event is nonsensical. He said there was talk of having him speak in Washington Square Park, but he disagreed due to compromised safety.
“It’s definitely fairly frustrating that the administration would at least temporarily cave to liberal fascism,” Wintrich said. “I would love to come back and talk in a month after they have their security in place for a gay, conservative reporter in his 20s.”
Email Jemima McEvoy and Natasha Roy at [email protected]