Anti-Trump column pulled from Liberty U student newspaper
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. had a student’s sports column pulled from the school’s newspaper because it focused on vulgar comments made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and the notion of “locker room talk.”
Falwell, a stalwart Trump supporter, said the evangelical school’s newspaper was already publishing a medical student’s pro-Hillary Clinton letter to the editor on the Opinion page, making Schmieg’s column “redundant.”
“After going back and forth, I decided we didn’t need two saying the same thing, using up valuable space,” Falwell said.
Liberty junior Joel Schmieg, who writes a weekly column for The Liberty Champion, calls it censorship.
“When I tried to use the same platform that Jerry did — being Liberty — I think that Jerry didn’t like that because it contradicts his views, and so he shut it down,” Schmieg said.
The column in question challenges Trump’s defense of his 2005 “Access Hollywood” appearance, where he was recorded describing hostile sexual behavior toward women. When the video created an outroar, Trump dismissed it as “locker room talk.”
Schmieg wrote in the column, which he posted on Facebook , that as a former high school athlete, he knows all about “locker room talk,” and that’s no excuse for Trump’s remarks. “When a guy talks about what they are going to do to a girl, that is when it is no longer locker room talk, but pre-meditated sexual assault,” the student wrote.
Falwell has continued to support Trump throughout the fallout over these remarks. Earlier in the campaign, he has given pro-Trump stump speeches in Iowa, made robo-calls in Virginia and appeared at the Republican National Convention and on cable television hot seats.