Ohio State University is being targeted by a lawsuit after refusing to rent space on campus for white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak.
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit was filed Sunday in federal court on behalf of Cameron Padgett, an associate and organizer of campus tours for Spencer. The suit came after an attorney for the university sent a letter Friday to Padgett, saying that the school “values freedom of speech,” but that renting space for Spencer could present a “substantial risk to public safety.
In the letter, attorney Michael Carpenter said the decision was made after the university and law-enforcement officials discussed the matter and took into consideration what happened when Spencer decided to give a speech at the University of Florida in Gainesville: The Florida governor declared a state of emergency in the county, and the university shelled out some $600,000 for security purposes.
In Florida, counterprotesters far outnumbered Spencer’s hateful band of trolls and drowned out his speech, booing him off the stage. Protesters and neo-Nazis also clashed after the speech, with one neo-Nazi getting punched in the face, while white supremacists were arrested after one of them allegedly shot at protesters “with the intent to kill.”
However, Spencer still thought the speech was a success even though he “wasn’t able to talk to people,” because of course he did.
AP notes that Michigan attorney Kyle Bristow has been threatening to sue both Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati on behalf of Padgett if they refused to give Spencer a platform.
The University of Cincinnati caved earlier this month but has yet to set a date for Spencer’s appearance, though Bristow said in a statement Sunday that the event will likely be scheduled for early next year.
Bristow has already successfully sued Alabama’s Auburn University to allow Spencer to speak there and also has filed lawsuits against Michigan State and Pennsylvania State, which are pending.
Said Bristow Sunday: “I guarantee that wherever I am, whatever circumstances may arise, the ‘alt-right’ shall enjoy the right to free speech,” providing a line that sounds like something a villain would say in a really cheesy movie, except that this is real life and this is actually happening.