2017 Milo Yiannopoulos UC Berkeley Protest

2017 Milo Yiannopoulos UC Berkeley Protest

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Updated Mar 23, 2017 at 12:41AM EDT by Don.

Added Feb 02, 2017 at 11:09AM EST by Don.

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The 2017 Milo Yiannopoulos UC Berkeley Protest was a demonstration protesting a talk on cultural appropriation by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos held at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) in early February 2017. After the protest turned violent, police canceled the event and evacuated Yiannopoulos off campus.


On February 1st, 2017, conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to deliver a talk at UC Berkeley on the topic of cultural appropriation. Two hours prior to the event, protesters began gathering outside the student union building on Sproul Plaza and began tearing down metal barricades, smashing windows and setting fires outside of the building.[3]


UC Berkeley's Response

That evening, the official UC Berkeley Twitter account posted a photograph of a campus fire along with the announcement that the Yiannopoulos event had been canceled (shown below). Shortly after, the UC Berkeley Public Affairs department released a statement about the protests, claiming that the "violence was instigated by a group of 150 masked agitators" that disturbed the otherwise peaceful protest.[1]

UC Berkeley @UCBerkeley 13h Yiannopoulos event canceled bit.ly/2kTNqp1 #miloatcal わ629 t7 1.1K 1.5K

Also that evening, Berkeley released a statement condemning the rioters, expressing regret their actions interfered with the campus' "legacy as a home of the Free Speech Movement."[8]

"We regret that the threats and unlawful actions of a few have interfered with the exercise of First Amendment rights on a campus that is proud of its history and legacy as home of the Free Speech Movement. As Chancellor Dirks made clear in his message to the Berkeley campus community, while Mr. Yiannopoulos views, tactics and rhetoric are profoundly contrary to our own, we are bound by the Constitution, the law, our values, and the campus’s Principles of Community to enable free expression across the full spectrum of opinion and perspective."

Yiannopoulos' Response

After being evactuated from the campus, Yiannopoulos published a post on Facebook[2] announcing that the event had been canceled due to protesters tearing down barricades, lighting fires, throwing rocks, breaking windows and shooting fireworks. Within 14 hours, the post garnered more than 118,000 reactions, 39,000 shares and 13,000 comments. Shortly after, Yiannopoulos posted a video on YouTube about the protests, denouncing the demonstrators for being anti-free speech (shown below, left). Shortly after, he was interviewed on the Fox News television show Tucker Carlson Tonight (shown below, right).

Online Reaction

That evening, Twitter user @janeygak posted a video of a woman wearing a "Make Bitcoin Great Again Hat" being pepper sprayed in the face by a protester while being interviewed (shown below). Within 24 hours, the tweet gained over 10,000 retweets and 8,400 likes. An alternate angle of the incident was subsequently posted by Yiannopoulos on Facebook.[4]

Meanwhile, the @HWNDUS Twitter feed posted a video of a woman being punched in the face during the protest (shown below). That evening, other Twitter users posted photographs and video of vandalized property caused by rioters in the surrounding area, including ATMs, a Bank of America and a Starbucks.[4][5][6][7]

Also on February 1st, The Tab UC Berkeley Facebook page posted footage taken by a reporter who claimed he was attacked by protesters who tried to steal his phone (shown below, left). On February 2nd, YouTuber Philip Fabian uploaded footage of masked protesters dressed in black beating people with wooden poles (shown below).

That day, Twitter user @KGBVeteran uploaded footage of man being knocked unconscious and beaten with wooden sticks in the street (shown below).

Donald Trump's Response

On the morning of February 2nd, United States President Donald Trump tweeted “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” (shown below). Within 12 hours, the tweet gained over 107,000 likes and 33,000 retweets.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Following If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view NO FEDERAL FUNDS? RETWEETS LIKES 33,012 107,441 6:13 AM - 2 Feb 2017

News Media Coverage

In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the event, including SFGate,[3] NY Times,[9] CNN[10] and Fox News.[11]

Search Interest

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