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Columbia Students Protest Alt-Right Conspiracy Theorist Appearance

Mike Cernovich invited by Columbia College Republicans

Butler Library at Columbia University
Butler Library at Columbia University / Wikimedia Commons
• October 31, 2017 11:27 am

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Hundreds of protesters gathered at Columbia University Monday night to protest the on-campus appearance of an alt-right conspiracy theorist invited by a conservative student group.

The demonstrators, including members of New York City Antifa, gathered in and around Lerner Hall, where Mike Cernovich was speaking as a guest of the Columbia University College Republicans.

Marching through the campus, people held "Black Lives Matter" and anti-Trump signs, and chanted, "Every nation, every race, punch a Nazi in the face."

Some 20 New York Police Department officers were on hand when scuffles between Cernovich detractors and supporters broke out.

One banner held by black-clad protesters read, "No white supremacy; No Pedo Bashing; No Mike Cernovich." The banner bore the logo of NAMBLA, the pro-pedophilia North American Man/Boy Love Association.

Donald Trump Jr. liked multiple tweets of the banner from Paul Joseph-Watson of Infowars, the site of conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter Alex Jones, to which Cernovich has contributed.

The NAMBLA sign also held the logo of New York City Antifa, though the group has distanced itself from the posters, calling it "absurd and offensive."

Cernovich was invited by CUCR to speak about "The Rise of the Alternative Media," and throughout his talk he mocked those he labeled "fake news," including CNN and the New York Times.

Cernovich, who was a leading supporter of the Pizzagate conspiracy, which claimed Democratic leaders were tied to a D.C.-based child sex trafficking ring, bashed his critics.

"[They] throw shade on me without contextualizing my full body of work," he said.

"How many people have broken the stories at the level I've broken," Cernovich insisted, calling himself "fearless" and a "great journalist."

Protesters in the room held signs saying "Dismantle White Supremacy," and periodically shouted, "Fuck you!"

Outside the lecture hall, anti-Cernovich protesters' chants included denunciations of Israel.

Demonstrators noticed members of the club Students Supporting Israel leaving Lerner Hall and left off their anti-Trump chants for, "Stop the murder, stop the hate! Israel is a terrorist hate," and "From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go."

Ofir Dayan, spokesperson for SSI, said the group had held its own program totally unconnected to the CUCR event, featuring a former Miss Israel.

"It's really unfortunate they chose to relate us to people who we don't support and that they make us feel unsafe around campus," said Dayan.

Columbia's Black Students' Organization has called on the Student Governing Board to pull CUCR's funding and status as an official club in punishment for the club hosting speakers such as Cernovich and far-right, anti-immigrant activist Tommy Robinson.