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Right-Wing Pundit Ben Shapiro Plans Speech At Liberal Berkeley

Ben Shapiro, the conservative pundit and Daily Wire editor, is planning to give a talk at U.C. Berkeley in September, a free-speech test for a campus that has erupted in protest and sometimes violence against events featuring right-wing figures.

“I look forward to speaking to students of all viewpoints at Berkeley,” Shapiro said Sin a Tuesday release. “The home of the free-speech movement has an obligation to protect free speech.”

Berkeley has encountered difficulties in ensuring the safety and right to speak of conservatives since the November election. Ann Coulter, a prominent backer of the new White House, was forced to nix an appearance on the campus after violent anti-fascist demonstrations seemed imminent in April.

Shapiro’s talk will be sponsored by the Young Americans Foundation, a conservative group that is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers and brings speakers to campus. The right-wing pundit has stirred controversy in the past. At a previous Young Americans event at Yeshiva University, he said being transgender was a “mental illness.” He has also made charged remarks about female celebrities, mocking “Girls” creator Lena Dunham for having the “charisma, brains and looks of a russet potato.”

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter, @DanielJSolomon

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