11 arrests at NYU protest over speech by ‘Proud Boys’ leader
NEW YORK (AP) — Fights broke out when the founder of a far-right men’s organization appeared at New York University, leading to 11 arrests — the second time this week that violence broke out at a controversial speech at a U.S. university.
The speaker, Gavin McInnes, was hit by pepper spray during the fracas that erupted outside the school when protesters turned up to disrupt his speech Thursday night in New York City, school officials said.
McInnes is the founder of a group called the “Proud Boys.” He dubs himself a “western chauvinist,” uses racial epithets in his essays and has argued that women make less money because they are less ambitious than men.
McInnes was invited to speak by the NYU College Republicans. His appearance sparked a protest by a group called the NYU Anti-Fascists.
The violence occurred outside the building. Only those with school identification were allowed inside to listen to McInnes.
Video of the talk shows McInnes pacing as the crowd boos and shouts at him. At one point he said he was “relieved” his attackers outside the school “were not Muslim.” He later insulted the school’s head of student affairs and abruptly left.
NYU spokesman John Beckman says McInnes spoke for about 20 minutes.
“The decision to end the event when he did was his own,” Beckman said. “Moreover, within the student center — to which only those with NYU IDs were admitted — there was no violence and no arrests.”
Police said those arrested face charges including criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. No students were arrested.
McInnes was a co-founder of Vice Media. He and Vice severed ties in 2008.
He said on Twitter: “Thanks for asking if I’m OK guys. I was sprayed with pepper spray but being called a Nazi burned way more.”
On Wednesday, protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire before Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor of Breitbart News, appeared at the University of California at Berkeley. The violence led officials there to cancel his talk out of safety concerns.