Campus Free Speech

Speaker Disinvited from College Event after 'Disrespecting' Obama

Boris Johnson no-platformed over Kenya comments.


Boris Johnson
Screenshot via Youtube

It is no longer okay for politicians to be disrespectful toward President Obama—if they wish to speak on campuses, that is. 

Students at King's College in London no-platformed Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, after he criticized Obama's decision to remove a bust of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill from the White House. Johnson had been scheduled to participate in a debate on the merits of the European Union, according to The Telegraph. 

Johnson accused Obama of having an "ancestral dislike of the British Empire" because of his Kenyan heritage. The event's organizers deemed Johnson's remarks unacceptable. 

"Given your inappropriate comments and inferences towards President Obama's Kenyan heritage, of which he is rightly proud, and your general tone of disrespect over the past few days in relation to the President of the United States of America, we are now formally withdrawing your invitation at Kings College London," wrote the students. 

Students are under no obligation to give a platform to Johnson, of course. But it seems absurd to punish one politician for harshly criticizing another. If Johnson is wrong, why not bring him to campus so that people can argue against him? 

If British students seem themselves as protectors of President Obama's feelings, campus radicalism may have entered its most bizarrely reactionary phase yet.