Pepe the Frog Drawing Forces Free Speech Event Cancellation at Linfield College

  1. Home
  2. Culture Wars
By Ian Miles Cheong | 4:32 am, June 22, 2017

Linfield College administrators have forced a Young Americans for Liberty group to cancel a free speech event over a cartoon frog.

Staff at the university labeled participants “white supremacists” after one of them drew a picture of Pepe the Frog, the popular meme that’s been unfairly maligned as a hate symbol by Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the mainstream media.

Feels bad, man

The libertarian group set up a table on campus to promote their organization, and planned to sponsor a series of free speech events planned at college, which is in Oregon.

According to Reason, Kiefer Smith, vice president of the chapter, brought an inflatable “free speech ball” for participants to write and draw pictures on.

“The majority of the things written on there were uplifting things, not political, not inflammatory at all,” he said.

Typical examples were said to include “you’re awesome” and “have a nice day”.

When one participant drew Pepe, the group came under attack by other students on campus, and involved the administration in their complaints.

“Immediately we were deemed alt-right,” said Smith, who says that YAL were even accused of being white supremacists over the drawing.

Reason states that the Linfield Advisory Committee on Diversity responded to the drawing by inviting the group to a free speech forum, where they were supposed to hold an hour-long discussion on the freedom of expression, but the event turned into a four-hour condemnation of the group.

Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt, a professor of English and gender studies coordinator accused the group of being funded by “alt-right dark money”.

Following the forum, the school administration canceled the planned free speech events that YAL was sponsoring, including a talk hosted by University of Toronto psychologist Jordan Peterson on ethics and free speech.

Peterson has come under fire from the progressive left for speaking out against the enforcement of gender-neutral “preferred pronouns” like ze/hir and xe/xir.

The campus faculty, including Dean of Faculty Dawn Nowacki, took aim at YAL in the campus newspaper, where they falsely described the libertarians as “alt-right”.

“These efforts are a lot more subtle,” wrote Nowacki. “Just as becoming a terrorist is a gradual, step-by-step process, people do not become part of the alt-right overnight. These events represent a kind of soft recruitment into more extremist ideas.”

The Young Americans for Liberty went ahead with their free speech event at an off-campus site, where they received a turn-out of over 400 attendees—double the number they were expecting.

The banned lecture also received around 90,000 views on YouTube.

This college’s efforts to suppress free speech backfired spectacularly.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.

Advertisement