Campus Free Speech

A Conservative Got Punched in the Face for Protesting Hate Crime Hoaxes

"Encouraging violence"


Screenshot via Youtube

A stranger punched a conservative activist in the face after becoming enraged at his posters, which said "Hate crime hoaxes hurt real victims" and "this is MAGA country." The altercation took place at the University of California-Berkeley.*

The University of California Police Department is attempting to identify the attacker, and a spokesperson for the university said it would take action if he turns out to be a student.

"Let me state in no uncertain terms that this university strongly condemns violence and harassment of any sort, for any reason," Dan Moguluf, assistant vice chancellor for communications, tells Campus Reform. "That sort of behavior is reprehensible and intolerable. We have, in recent years, spent millions of dollars to ensure that students from across the ideological/political spectrum can safely and successfully promote and discuss their beliefs. Our commitment to freedom of expression and belief is unwavering."

The student, Hayden Williams, is a field representative for the Leadership Institute, and he was helping with recruitment for Turning Point USA. Both organizations promote conservatism on college campuses.

The altercation, which was captured on video, took place at a public square near Williams' recruitment table. The video clearly shows a young man in a black shirt punching Williams directly in the face. Williams' only crimes, it seems, were promoting a conservative cause and attempting to record his interactions with students on his phone.

The video shows another person attempting to knock Williams' phone out of his hands and accusing Williams of "fucking encouraging violence" just before the man in the black shirt attacks him. I gather that this person believed Williams' provocative signs—which allude to the allegedly fake Jussie Smollett hate incident—were not mere speech but actually a kind of assault on marginalized communities.

The idea that words are themselves violence is regrettably popular among student activists. If words are violence, then punching somebody who says something offensive isn't wrong; it's just self-defense. The idea's results are on display in the video:

Update: This post initially identified the victim as a UC-Berkeley student. He is not.