BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — Representatives of the group trying to bring Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannapolus to Berkeley for a so-called “Free Speech Week” later this month on Sunday accused UC officials of negotiating in bad faith.
Earlier this weekend, UC Berkeley put out a blistering email that indicated Free Speech Week was in jeopardy because the organizers had not met the university’s deadlines for paying fees to reserve venues.
Vice-Chancellor Dan Mogulof issued a statement Saturday saying the university cannot defend spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide security arrangements for events based on a press release and inconsistent schedules.
Security costs for Thursday’s visit by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro came to $600,000 – for a single speech, at a single venue.
The group is working with former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, but so far has yet to submit any proof that the high-profile speakers they’ve announced are actually coming.
The organizer — a conservative publication called Berkeley Patriot — fired back on Sunday, telling KPIX 5 the show will go on whether or not the university is on board.
“We wanted a written explanation about specific charges and why were getting charged those charges, which doesn’t seem like too much to ask for,” said Berkeley Patriot spokesperson Bryce Kasamoto. “But the university failed to provide that for us.”
Kasamoto insisted that some fees have already been paid to the University.
“We did not get the justification and we still paid for the event. We still wired the money from our funders to the university,” said Kasamoto. “The university has that money pending in their bank account right now. They’ll see it when they wake up in the morning. From there, they can choose whether they want to work with us or not.
The last time Milo Yiannapolus came to Berkeley for a speaking engagement earlier this year, masked demonstrators broke windows and set fires.
It is not clear whether Antifa protesters have similar plans this time, but the Berkeley Patriot group says — regardless of the security situation — it will go forward with its events even if they have to be held outdoors.