Conservative provocateur and former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos will no longer attend a planned event in Phoenix after dozens of venues denied hosting the event.
The Phoenix New Times reported that the United Liberty Coalition, a Phoenix-based constitutionalist group, had reached out to “at least 65” venues to host the event, 62 of which declined. At least 20 of those organizations turned down the request over fears of retaliation.
“We know that at least 20 of them pulled out or denied use because of fear of retaliation and violence,” Shelby Bush, a member of the group, told the newspaper. “A few of them denied us because they researched Milo and decided they did not want to be involved because of what they have seen on the news.”
The group said in a post on their Facebook page Thursday that they asked Yiannopoulos not to attend the event after a company they hired to organize the speech failed to secure a proper venue.
“Unfortunately, the company we hired to organize the event failed to complete necessary steps crucial to provide the proper security for someone with the stature of Mr. Yiannopoulos, and we have asked Mr. Yiannopoulos not to attend as we cannot guarantee his safety,” the group wrote. “This decision was difficult for us to make but ultimately the safety of both our speakers and guests are of the utmost importance to us.”
The post also contains a quote reportedly from Yiannopoulos blaming “left-wing bullies” for the cancellation of his appearance.
“Left-wing bullies continue to use the threat of violence — and, often, deploy real violence — to suppress conservative speakers. In a constitutional republic, government should have a monopoly on the use of force in order to protect the rights of its citizens,” Yiannopoulos said. “It is time for America's political leaders to defend free speech with the vigor required to stand up to these would-be totalitarians.”
Last month, a four-day “Free Speech Week” festival at the University of California, Berkeley was canceled by campus organizers a day before it was set to begin over logistical issues. Yiannopoulos was set to headline that event.