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Loyola Chicago Cuts Off Comedian Hannibal Buress's Mic After Politically Incorrect Performance

"He violated the mutually agreed upon content restriction clause in his contract."

BuressMatias J. Ocner/TNS/NewscomLoyola University Chicago students were furious when school officials cut off comedian Hannibal Buress's mic just a few minutes into his routine on at a university-sponsored performance Saturday night.

Buress had begun by calling attention to the agreement the university had forced him to sign as a condition of giving a performance: It prohibited him from talking about rape, sexual assault, race, or sexual orientation. Buress, who is black, often incorporates politically charged themes in his material.

A few minutes into his routine, Buress made a joke about sexual abuse within the Catholic church, which prompted school officials to kill his audio, according to the Loyola Phoenix. Loyola is a Catholic university.

"Loyola University Chicago cut the mic on Hannibal Buress's performance Saturday, March 17, because he violated the mutually agreed upon content restriction clause in his contract," Loyola spokesperson Evangeline Politis tells Reason via email. "It is standard for the University to include a content restriction clause in entertainment contracts; Buress is the only entertainer to disregard the clause to the degree that his mic was cut."

Buress attempted to perform without a mic, so officials reportedly turned up the background music to drown him out. He then left the stage for 15 minutes. Students in the audience began chanting "Hannibal" in protest of the university's decision. Finally, the comedian was allowed to finish his performance.

Since Loyola is a private university, it is within its rights to impose conditions on would-be performers. But there are plenty of reasons to think a blanket ban on speakers addressing controversial subjects is a terrible thing for a university to enforce. As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's Bill Rickards writes:

So one has to wonder, how well does Loyola handle the full thrust of public debate if this is how it responds to jokes about a sore subject for the Catholic Church?

When universities impose restrictions on a performer's speech like this, whatever their legal right, it is important to consider the implications of those restrictions and the question of what is accomplished by enforcing them. Comedy, in particular, is an art that often drives social change, allowing a speaker to set aside—or indeed poke at—discomfort around sensitive or charged subjects in order to challenge ideas and powerful people or institutions. For example, Buress sparked renewed public attention to allegations of sexual assault by Bill Cosby. Do academic institutions serve themselves well when they invite comedians to perform and entertain, so long as they don't challenge those institutions?

Everyone who opposes mandatory trigger warnings in the classroom should be similarly concerned about an administration enforcing "content restrictions."

Photo Credit: Matias J. Ocner/TNS/Newscom

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  • John C. Randolph||

    Pretty dumb of the university to book the guy if they don't like the things he says, and it was dumb of him to agree to a content restriction clause.

    -jcr

  • Kurt||

    It was smart for Burress to sign the contract and then do his usual act. Now he's in the news as a free speech martyr.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, it's probably the best thing he could have done. Either that or just refuse to do colleges like a lot of comedians are doing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Well, he could potentially get sued for breach of contract.

    He agreed to the terms and if the college decides to go after him, it might cost him.

    This would be bad press for the college, so he probably is going to get good press out of it and that's it.

  • DD2TT||

    Sued? Or simply not paid. I doubt they could prove damages.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I would think there is some kind of up front payment to book the gig with the performer but I don't know.

    People demanding refunds for tickets because the school stopped the performance would be damages for lost sales.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    "After Mr. Burress' brief performance, Your Honor, the university had to deal with this:"

    :Enter a parade of Trigglypuffs REEEEEE-ing at full volume:

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    But liable for beach of contract, if they choose to litigate. No sure the any publicity is good publicity works here.

    Tho I have never heard of the guy til today...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    He was the carpenter in Daddy's Home with Markey Mark. Other than that I have never seen him.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    He's awesome in Broad City.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    The irony is, he's not that edgy, at least not compared to a Stanhope or even an Attell.

    And he's definitely not stupid-- probably did it just for the material.

    He's riffed on his college visits before. This is hilarious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v-7wxJFn7U

  • Longtobefree||

    So this was an entertainment event, not a lecture or discussion event?
    Does/should that have any impact on the desire/need for contract clauses about subject matter?
    Would it matter anyway, to either the students or the administration?
    Do universities really need more lawyers and staff and administrators than professors?
    Who is John Galt?

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    Judge Napalitano?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Galt, John?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    A 19th century Scottish novelist?

  • ||

    This is why I don't like FIRE. Why do they waste their time on shit like this? The fucking moron comedian signed a contract telling him to STFU. FFU, it's a contract. If you don't like it, DON'T FUCKING SIGN IT. Take a copy of the contract, and bitch about it to the world. But don't FUCKING SIGN it and then bitch about it.

  • UVaGrad||

    If you don't like speech codes, don't go to a university that has one! Problem solved!

  • ||

    This has nothing to do with "Speech Codes". "Speech Codes" are vague rules haphazardly enforced against students and faculty.

    This was a black contract telling a comedian what was off limits. It's a stupid contract that would only be signed by someone looking to cause a scene. Well, he caused a scene. Great, good for him. Now why FIRE or Robby is projecting this as some sort of "sign of the times" and why anyone should really give a shit about this is entirely beyond me.

  • ||

    Fucking racist squirrels...black and white contract...

  • SIV||

    We know what youn meant, Grand Kleagle.

  • FlameCCT||

    SOP for Robby. He also supports a teacher berating a student in class being fired yet it wasn't the first time for said teacher.

  • Entelechy||

    They don't have his problem at Trappist universities, because their comedians give up sign language for lent.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Turns out colleges are the real joke.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Not all colleges. Just those that prefer backwardness to modernity, superstition to reason, dogma to science, ignorance to education, insularity to progress.

    In other words, the campuses on which conservatives call the shots and ensure a lousy ranking.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Arthur V. Hicklib's self-loathing shining through again.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I love being part of the liberal-libertarian alliance, which operates the strongest schools in America.

    I feel sorry for conservatives, who are stuck with a poor-performing, authoritarian goober factory with sketchy accreditation whenever they get control of an American campus, and claim they can not understand why.

    Carry on, clingers -- to the fourth tier . . . and beyond!

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Arthur L. Hicklib tries to pretend that moving to THA BIG CITY and getting AIDS was worth it.

  • the original jack||

    Eh... was that ~really~ Artie or one of his many mockers. It must be hard for him to be a living example of Poe's Law every time he (or one of his admirers who post under his name) he posts.

  • FlameCCT||

    Yeah, that was Artie aka RAK (Royal Arse Kisser).

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Meh, I took science classes at two Ivy League colleges before graduating from high school. They weren't as challenging as figuring out what my ex-wife really meant when she said something. In the long run, the latter skill is more important for the survival of a political movement.

  • Ariki||

    The Rev hasn't figured out that a degree from a prestigious university doesn't guarantee prestigious intelligence.

  • FlameCCT||

    He's probably still upset that Liberty keeps kicking Harvard's ass especially in debate.

  • Ariki||

    Yawn,
    So many words, so little payoff.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Since Loyola is a private university, it is within its rights to impose conditions on would-be performers. But there are plenty of reasons to think a blanket ban on speakers addressing controversial subjects is a terrible thing for a university to enforce."

    Private institutions are the most libertarian solution for political correctness--if that's what students and the people who pay for their educations want.

    It's absurd to think that a Jesuit university, that exists to some extent on the backs of private donors, would provide a forum for someone to bash the Catholic church for laughs.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Fun fact, thanks to federally subsidized student loans, the entire tax base is paying for their educations. Do you think the entire tax base wants to help Catholics cover up their sick history?

  • Ken Shultz||

    The suggestion that private parties have no rights because they accept money from the government makes the whole world blind.

    Are you willing to extend argument to cover Medicare recipients and people on Social Security?

  • Ken Shultz||

    What about people who use public roads?

    Muh Roads!

    Where . . . are . . . muh Roads?

  • Hail Rataxes||

    You're the one who brought up the choices of those paying, but sure, your idiotic catchphrase definitely makes sense here.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Does that mean you do or don't believe that private parties forgo their rights because they benefit from government spending?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Do you not see that what you're saying is the same as Liz Warren and Barack Obama's, "You didn't build that!".

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Lol. Sorry it hurts when someone points out that you're totally full of shit.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Being the beneficiary of government spending doesn't mean private entities give up their rights.

    They don't lose their rights because they benefit from Social Security or Medicare.

    They don't lose their rights because they use public roads.

    They don't lose their rights because their students use federal student loans.

    And you haven't responded to any of these examples much less shown that they're full of shit.

    In fact, just like Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren, your argument that people lose their rights if they benefit from government programs a la "you didn't build that" is full of shit--which is why you can't and haven't responded intelligently.

    Do you imagine that entrepreneurs don't have a right to their profits because they use government roads or because their employees were educated in public schools?

    Your position is laughable--all the more so for your inability to address it much less defend it.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    In all fairness, the courts have ruled that universities have to follow federal affirmative action policies if they get any federal money or their students use federal dollars, including veteran's tuition benefits, to pay their tuition bills. This is why Hillsdale College goes to such extreme lengths to avoid federal dollars.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The courts have also ruled that black people don't have the right to sue because they're black, that farmers don't have the right to grow wheat on their own property for their own use, and that the government can force us to eat broccoli.

    The fact is that our rights don't disappear because we're on public property, and if the courts have held that the First Amendment doesn't protect our freedom of speech on public property, then the courts are wrong.

  • EscherEnigma||

    The public roads where you must seek a government license before you can operate a powered vehicle on, demonstrate basic competence, and then adhere to certain standards of behavior and conduct lest your road privileges be removed?

    Those roads?

  • Ken Shultz||

    The question is whether private entities that use public roads--at taxpayer expense!--still have the right to, say, free speech.

    The correct answer is "yes".

  • EscherEnigma||

    I encourage you to put "FUCK THE POLICE" in two-foot-tall letters in your back window and see how far your "Free Speech" gets you.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    If you're saying that the police will beat your ass, so? The police frequently abridge people's rights because they are monstrous thugs. Doesn't make it right, or even make it legal.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Doesn't make it right, or even make it legal.
    True, but at my heart I'm a pragmatist/utilitarian. And from my view, if your "right" is only words on a page, and never observed in reality, then you don't really "have" it, you just have a myth.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Are you guys reading a different thread?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Do you really believe that you don't have the right to free speech--if you're on a public road?

    Is that what you're saying?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Broadly speaking, yes. When I'm on a public road, I am expected, under penalty of government action, to moderate and restrain my behavior (including my speech) in certain ways.

    Whether this is, strictly speaking, legal is an academic matter that is divorced from the reality.

    This isn't hard to understand.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You don't have the right to free speech on public property--and that's what being a libertarian is all about?!

    That's plain stupid.

    You may not have the right to be on other people's private property, but the idea that you don't have the right to free speech where other people might hear it is just plain stupid.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Congress shall make no law respecting . . . abridging the freedom of speech"

    How is that consistent with your ideas about how we don't have the right to free speech on public property?

  • EscherEnigma||

    (A) I am not, have never been, and in all probability, will never be, a libertarian or a Libertarian.

    (B) I did not say it was right. I just said that it was. Confuse the two at your own peril.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    You mean it's like the informal "no parking" rule on the curb in front of the Paterson drug den?

    That reminds me, I've got to get some Gay Pride post cards printed up.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I have no idea what you're talking about, so it's entirely possible that you are correct.

  • Just Say'n||

    Oh, Retaxes, so dumb. When little fascists use violence to silence speakers Retaxes says "it's a private college- there's no First Amendment violation", but when it comes to a comedian violating a contractual agreement he yells "oh my God, federal funds!"

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Lol. Yeah, I've never said that you lying fuck.

  • Just Say'n||

    Oh, Retaxes. Are you really going to make me dig through past threads? Why not just embrace your hypocrisy and move on?

  • Just Say'n||

    The crazy thing is that I agree with your position that there is no such thing as a private college, because they all survive off of government funding, it's just convenient that suddenly you embrace that argument when it is a germane factor in the matter. The previously agreed upon contract is the crux here

  • ||

    There are private colleges that don't take federal funding, you just don't hear about them because they specifically reject the legions of students who apply for federal loans.

    That is one point that should be clear about all of this. For some of these Colleges and Universities, it wasn't so much a 'Take federal dollars or not.' option as much as a 'Surprise! You take federal dollars!' option. Not that they didn't enjoy being blissfully unaware of where the money came from but, especially in the case of federally guaranteed loans, tracing down which dollars were federal money and which weren't would be a fruitless nightmare.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    "I agree with you, I'm just a lying fuckface."

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Yes, I dare you to go back through past threads, because you're a lying fuck.

  • Ken Shultz||

    This thread certainly isn't any indication that you should get the benefit of the doubt.

    All I see from you in this thread is unsupported absolute statements and amazement that everyone doesn't assume you're right without any evidence.

    You don't even answer the questions people ask your ridiculous statements. You're kinda like Mary.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The government should have no claim to have a say in the governance of an institution because the government chooses to subsidize the institution's customers. As far as the school is concerned, that is all the student's money that it receives.

  • FlameCCT||

    According to your theory, that makes anyone on fed gov't assistance nothing more than a serf on the Progressive Plantation!

  • damikesc||

    It's absurd to think that a Jesuit university, that exists to some extent on the backs of private donors, would provide a forum for someone to bash the Catholic church for laughs.

    I'd agree, if so much of their social justice-y shit didn't seem quite in opposition to Catholic dogma.

    Rest assured, transgenderism isn't really part of any religious theology.

  • Paloma||

    Jesuits have always been assholes.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yes, and they've always had the right to make choices for themselves anyway.

    After all, if our rights disappeared because they lost a popularity contest, they wouldn't be rights at all.

  • buybuydandavis||

    But let's not see any squawk about commitment to free speech in their outreach to students then. Fraud is fraud.

  • DajjaI||

    Students in the audience began chanting "Hannibal" in protest

    Good for them! This is why banning 'disruption' of public events will backfire - all these students would end up in prison. Many of the so-called free speech organizations support such bans, and you bet they can AND WILL be used against us - libertarians - after the dems sweep the midterms. In fact listeners have exactly the same free speech rights as the speakers and there is no 'right' to be heard despite your pedantic and shrill insistence.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Snowflakes to the left of me, snowflakes to the right...

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Same here. It's coming down hard.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "A few minutes into his routine, Buress made a joke about sexual abuse within the Catholic church, which prompted school officials to kill his audio"

    Imagine if Gilbert Gottfried went to Howard University and started into a set making jokes about African-Americans. Of course we'd expect Howard to cut off his mike.

    As a private institution, of course they'd be within their rights.

    And criticizing Howard for that in the name of libertarianism would be just as unseemly.

    It's like walking into a private bakery owned and operated by fundamentalist Christians and asking them to make you a cake for a gay wedding. The religious beliefs of fundamentalist Christians is hardly the libertarian issue in that situation. How could you get it any more backwards?

  • DajjaI||

    Let the students boo them offstage like they do at the Apollo. That's how you do it - FREE SPEECH. Welcome to America.

  • FlameCCT||

    I didn't realize the Apollo was a university and people were paying for an education not entertainment!

  • Tony||

    How often are people really afford an opportunity to speak where others will hear them in a manner that is not mediated by a private institution?

    Free speech as a concept exists outside of the context of the 1st amendment.

  • ||

    There's a difference between "free speech" and "free exchange of ideas". It's all too common to equate "free speech" with "a right to speak freely in all contexts". That's almost the accepted definition of "free speech". And it's completely wrong.

    Thus, I see no reason to further exacerbate that wrong by using "free speech" inaccurately.

  • Just Say'n||

    Tony, I grant you that this is actually a lucid point. But, there are several public venues that have to allow people to speak. However, you are right that our society values private property over free speech and that's a good thing, because using private property to not allow certain speech is a form of 'free speech', as well.

    I'll also note that any censoring of college speakers, whether that institution is private or public, is really public censorship, because almost all colleges survive off of federal largess. But, the fact that Buress signed a contract before hand complicates this case

  • EscherEnigma||

    If he was standing on a street corner to a crowd of folks that walked up, and the university tried to hush him that would be one thing.

    But they gave him a stage, had him sign a contract, gave him a big fat check first. There was nothing "free" about that speech, it was a mutually agreed-to commercial transaction.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Yeah. You have a right to speak, but not a right to a platform. These college posts are more about academic freedom than about free speech.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    That's not even in the same ballpark, Ken. Comedians are expected to be outrageous and controversial. Yes, they would be within their rights to cut him off, but it is a foolish policy that would ultimately backfire against their stated goal of fostering higher tolerance.

  • ||

    their stated goal of fostering higher tolerance.

    I am not sure what Loyola's stated goal is but it is most certainly not in the mission statement for the Society of Jesus.

    What I don't get is why he was hired in the first place.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Off the cuff, it's usually student groups that request and solicit speakers and entertainers. After they've made their initial selection, the admin will (generally) get final approval and be responsible for contracts and such.

    So it was probably some student group that liked 'em and not the university. The university's fault here is believing that he was professional enough to abide by his contract.

  • Zeb||

    Of course we'd expect Howard to cut off his mike.

    I don't think I would.

    The problem isn't that Loyola did something they don't have a right to do. The problem is that they think comedians need to be censored. Protecting free speech as a cultural value is at least as important as legally protecting it.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Protecting free speech as a cultural value is at least as important as legally protecting it."

    Wait, are you serious here? Are we going to pretend like we didn't all shrug when an ISP provider decided to stop hosting a Nazi website or when James Defore got fired from Google. Is this not the same comment section that constantly mocks other commentators who take issue with Robby's constant "too be sures"? We're really going to pretend like any of the writers or the majority of the commentators here actually care about fostering a 'cultural value' of free speech even when it pertains to private companies?

    Or are you just being honest that the 'cultural value' only matters for one side, but totally not for the other?

  • Zeb||

    If free speech isn't maintained as a cultural value, then it's legal protections won't last long.

    It was absolutely outrageous that Google fired Damore. They have the right to do it, but it sucks.

    Or are you just being honest that the 'cultural value' only matters for one side, but totally not for the other?

    I don't know where you are getting that from. I don't speak for this comment section or Reason's writers. This is an issue that has been on my mind lately and my thinking has evolved a bit. I'm really starting to think that if free speech isn't reclaimed as a central cultural value we are in big trouble. Private organizations and companies can do as they like, but if people don't start pushing back on their censoriousness, it's not going to be good. Some culture wars are worth fighting.

    Isn't your whole complaint about Robby and ENB on free speech that they don't hold it highly enough as an essential cultural value?

  • Just Say'n||

    I agree with you on the 'cultural value of free speech'. I'm old enough to remember when it was liberals that got upset when Walmart wouldn't carry CDs with parental advisory stickers or when they denounced gay activists for picketing Eminem.

    I'm just surprised with the sudden turn, because, and maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought I recalled you taking the position of 'it's a private institution and they are free to do as they please'.

    The cultural aspect of free speech is the buffer that protects the legal aspect. But, you're not conserving the cultural aspect when you defend kneeling NFL players, but not James Defore. Or when Hannibal Burress is defended, but Ben Shapiro being pushed off campus from administrators is shrugged. It either works both ways or it doesn't work at all. I'm not saying you're doing this, but others are.

  • Zeb||

    I don't think it's so much of a sudden turn as you seem to think. More of a shift in emphasis. And perhaps away from the notion that a simple application of libertarian principles is the answer to everything. In the government sphere, I still think that's true. But culture matters too. Learning more about the insane lefty activists at colleges and other places recently has driven the point home for me.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Cool story.

    Let's talk about Brendan Eich. At the time I was already a software developer, so while I wasn't, I could have been working on Mozilla apps. Would it have been "censorious" of me to say "I'm done working with you people so long as that asshole is at the helm"?

    If so, then at what point does it become acceptable for me to refuse to work with folks that offend me and want to take away my legal rights?

    For that matter, do you agree with John that it's unethical for me to boycott a business that has publicly disrespected me or donated to activist groups that seek to strip me of my legal rights and get me fired?

    On the scale of "disrespect" to "fighting against legal rights" to "actively seeking to directly harm", when it is permissible for me to disassociate from a group?

  • Zeb||

    I am distressed by the impulse to immediately purge anyone who doesn't toe the line on certain social issues. I don't know much at all about Eich. But based on what I know, my impression is that it was not great that he was pushed out. It looks like a movement to exclude people with "wrong" views from polite society to me. And I think that is very dangerous. It's important to have different views represented. Even ones I disagree with.

  • EscherEnigma||

    So other people get to "exclude" me, push out me for my "wrong" views, and make sure that my "different views" aren't represented, and if I say or do anything about that it's "not great" and "dangerous".

    Noted.

  • damikesc||

    If you'd rather have rightthink than competency, I'm not sure I'd want to do business with you as is.

    You're always free to refuse to work with somebody (well, unless you're a baker and some gay dudes want a "YAY! GAY DUDES!!" cake) or to boycott somebody, but it makes you a fucking idiot and makes EVERYTHING you do in your life suspect.

    After all, if you think Mozilla is bad, what are you thoughts on Apple and how they treat workers in China?

  • EscherEnigma||

    @damikesc
    Ain't talking about what folks are free to do. I was responding to Zeb's remark that it was "censorious" for folks to use their Freedom of Speech and Association in ways he doesn't like.

    Or rather, not whether folks have the right to fire/evict/boycott/quit/etc., but whether it's right to do so.

  • Mickey Rat||

    What does the CEO's private politics have to do with your doing your job? Do you require that everyone you work with be ideologically compatible with you? Is that even a reasonable expectation?

  • EscherEnigma||

    @Mickey Rat
    If someone's private politics are actually private, then I'll never know, yes?

    But in this case, Eich's actions were not private, and they weren't merely views. The campaign he made a public donation was trying to annul and ban marriages. That's not "no harm, no foul", that's "trying to meddle in my personal life".

    So no, I don't expect everyone I work with to be ideologically compatible with me. But I do expect them to not forcefully inject themselves into my personal life. And trying to annul my marriage? Is a pretty big intrusion.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    EscherEnigma,

    I remember when there was a certain decorum in commercial interactions that kept the conversation to the business at hand so that individual differences did not even come up. If a coworker keeps bringing up the topic of gay BJs, then you, as a member of a historically black church that opposes homosexuality, can complain to the boss that your religious values are being stepped on. If you keep bringing up straight BJs at work to out a coworker, don't cry like a sissy bitch when your coworker smiles and says he is rather popular with the guys.

  • damikesc||

    Are we going to pretend like we didn't all shrug when an ISP provider decided to stop hosting a Nazi website or when James Defore got fired from Google.

    We? As in Reason commenters, no, we didn't shrug when Damore got fired. The writers weren't super broken up, but no, we were less than happy. As for the Nazi site, I don't know what people here thought. The writers didn't seem to care much.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You think an historically black college like Howard would sit there and subject their students to jokes about African-Americans?

    I wouldn't expect Yeshiva University to sit on their hands while a comedian started into a set of antisemitic jokes either.

    I wouldn't expect Oral Roberts University to subject their students to jokes making fun of evangelicals.

    And the bigger question? If they shut off the comedians' mike in all these situations, the libertarian take on this wouldn't be about their religious beliefs and how tolerant they should be.

    When we stood up for the right of Islamic terrorists not to be tortured during the Bush administration, the issue wasn't their beliefs or lack of tolerance. We stand up for the Fifth Amendment rights of arsonists and rapists. We stand up for the free speech rights of Nazis. Criticizing the right of private parties to decide what they want to hear or not hear gets it exactly backwards.

    If you look at the Bush administration torturing people, and you come away with the idea that the libertarian take is that terrorists should be more tolerant--then you're getting it all backwards. Some people write about cars without actually being a car. Some people write about libertarians without actually being one. Eventually, it starts to show.

  • FlameCCT||

    I agree with your point although I don't believe the Bush admin nor any of the previous admins tortured SpecOps military personnel like myself if you are discussing waterboarding.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    As long as the government isn't involved, then this type of criticism is completely valid. Saying that we should minimize the role of government, does not mean that no one can have any opinion about other's actions being right or wrong.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Imagine if Gilbert Gottfried went to Howard University and started into a set making jokes about African-Americans. Of course we'd expect Howard to cut off his mike."

    I'd expect Howard, and most universities, to shut him down. (Though if anything, I'd expect a greater chance at tolerance at Howard than most big name US universities.)

    US universities are crapholes of ideological intolerance. Pointing to other crapholes of intolerance doesn't make much of a point.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The good thing about all this college censorship is that soon all these student funded activities will just occur off campus at free market venues.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    SOAVEFLAKES, ASSEMBLE!

    SOAVEFLAKES, ASSEMBLE!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Stop playing with Robby's dandruff, Crusty.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Robby's dandruff is actually made of gold. True story.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    So Crusty is following Robby around with a gold pan, hoping to make a profit? Such enterpreneurial ingenuity!

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Fuck, it worked.

  • FlameCCT||

    LMAO!!!

    Excellent association.

  • Alcibiades||

    FIRE is a great organization but this has nothing to do with the First Amendment.
    He signed a contract agreeing to the terms stated therein.
    He broke said terms.
    The other party acted accordingly.
    All the above is libertarianism 101.
    Next...

  • ||

    Eh. They're too obsessed with leveraging lawsuits against private colleges that are subject to 1A protections because they accept students who accept public loans. If they were simply an advocate group, fine. But I find the 1A lawsuits distasteful.

  • Alcibiades||

    I have no problem with FIRE going after public colleges that routinely and blatantly violate the First Amendment rights of their students.

  • DajjaI||

    Finally, the comedian was allowed to finish his performance.

    - Libertarianism 101

  • Alcibiades||

    Finally, the comedian was allowed to finish his performance.

    Contractual terms are so yesterday's libertarianism.

  • greyarea||

    I recall my alma mater, also a Catholic institution, invited Billy Joel to perform. They asked him not to play "Only the Good Die Young", which they interpreted as anti-Catholic. He performed the song. His mic was not cut and the performance was not stopped, but he was never invited back.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Why didn't you choose a better school? Did your parents force you to attend a Catholic school?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Well now that song is anti-MeToo moment, as the lyric in question suggests that girls who don't put out are no fun.

  • vek||

    But I thought that was a scientific fact? Don't lefties like science???

  • Eidde||

    "which they interpreted as anti-Catholic"

    And the Protocols of the Elders of Zion might be interpreted as anti-Jewish.

  • Jerryskids||

    Loyola only invited the "edgy" black comedian to show they're down with what the cool kids are into these days, Burress just called them on their virtue signaling. But if Burress had made a joke about an illegal immigrant gay Muslim feminist, I'll bet it wouldn't have been as funny.

  • Just Say'n||

    Burress is so brave for violating a contractual agreement and making fun of the Catholic Church. So god damn brave. Both sides, guys- both sides!

  • Zeb||

    Brave, no. But he gave the audience what they wanted, apparently. And stood up for free speech as a cultural value. As long as he's not going to whine about the consequences of breaking the contract, I think he did good.

  • Just Say'n||

    I'm re-posting this from above, because I find your sudden embrace of of 'free speech as a cultural value' to be fascinating. Also, the fact that Burress signed a contract beforehand complicates this issue.

    "Protecting free speech as a cultural value is at least as important as legally protecting it."

    Wait, are you serious here? Are we going to pretend like we didn't all shrug when an ISP provider decided to stop hosting a Nazi website or when James Defore got fired from Google. Is this not the same comment section that constantly mocks other commentators who take issue with Robby's constant "too be sures"? We're really going to pretend like any of the writers or the majority of the commentators here actually care about fostering a 'cultural value' of free speech even when it pertains to private companies?

    Or are you just being honest that the 'cultural value' only matters for one side, but totally not for the other?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    No one here attacked free speech as a cultural value. But keep tilting at those windmills.

  • Just Say'n||

    Are you on acid? You're one of the worst offenders of jumping on other people and saying: "Hey, so what if Robby called George Will a Nazi- you snowflake!". Do you have any independent thoughts beyond what the writers at Reason tell you to believe?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Can you give me an example?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    This reminds me to the time my drama teacher threatened to quit if the high school didn't let our production of "Prelude to a Kiss" go on uncensored. Standing up for that morning after scene was a life lesson.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Comedy, in particular, is an art that often drives social change...

    Exactly why I watched all seven Police Academy movies.

  • ||

    I still haven't seen Mission to Moscow. Cut me some slack.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    The guy who did the sound effects was impressive. I think that is the only one of the seven [really?] I saw.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What are you talking about? Micheal Winslow was in all of them. AND the television series, too.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    I still haven't made it through "The Kentucky Fried Chicken Movie".

  • GILMORE™||

    "Buress had begun by calling attention to the agreement the university had forced him to sign as a condition of giving a performance: It prohibited him from talking about rape, sexual assault, race, or sexual orientation."

    [tries to think of black comic who does routines without race-mentions.... Bill Cosby?.... maybe he could just do Bill Cosby jokes, and then at the end say, "Thank you, i enjoyed this set: unfortunately i had to copy all my material from a serial rapist because your university banned me from doing my normal one"]

    "Wow, Megadeth, so happy to finally welcome you to U. of Portland! We're your biggest fans! Just one thing: Need you to sign this form saying you'll only play Bee Gees tunes...."

  • damikesc||

    Ironically, Burress is the guy who started the ball rolling on the Cosby thing.

  • ||

    Better to be known as the comedian who nobody knows beyond having his mic cut by the Catholics at Loyola than to be known as the comedian who nobody knows beyond the fact that he's bad at cunnilingus.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Everyone knows Hannibal Buress ever since he broke the Cosby story.

  • ||

    Everyone knows Hannibal Buress ever since he broke the Cosby story.

    Weird. I only vaguely recognized him as the handyman from Daddy's Home.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I think you're on the wrong side here, Robby. And so if FIRE. Is it silly to have contracts that limit what you can say? Sure. But they have one. And he signed it. If you're going to be OK, with violating contacts with terms you don't like, why not just be OK with violating contacts altogether?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Also, taking away a particular venue for him to speak does not take away his right to speak.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    No one is saying Hannibal should not suffer the consequences of violating a contract. But you can view his action as a form of civil disobedience to bring to light the terms of the contract.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    According to the article, he told the audience about the contract. That was easily enough done without actually violating it.

    Buress had begun by calling attention to the agreement the university had forced him to sign as a condition of giving a performance

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    But then he would get much less press coverage.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    So? Is violating a contract now part of the "raising awareness" movement? I can't imagine how hard it would have been for him to take a copy of his contract to some news source. Or bring it on tour with him and show everyone else evidence of the dumb college censors.

  • Alcibiades||

    Welcome to LSJWs

  • sharmota4zeb||

    If it bleeds, it leads. The press gives you more free column inches if you are more confrontational. I don't like starting a fight for press coverage. I avoid using that strategy. But I'll admit that it can be effective in the short term.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Robby is:

    [...] there are plenty of reasons to think a blanket ban on speakers addressing controversial subjects is a terrible thing for a university to enforce.
  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I suspect you're trying to make a point here. Would you like to perhaps try stating it differently?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Chipper Morning Baculum:

    No one is saying Hannibal should not suffer the consequences of violating a contract


    Robby Souave:

    [...] there are plenty of reasons to think a blanket ban on speakers addressing controversial subjects is a terrible thing for a university to enforce.

    CMB's statement is provably false.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I missed an indent and thought you were replying to me.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Not even close, dude. Saying that enforcing speech bans is a terrible thing is not the same as saying he should not suffer the consequences of violating his contract.

  • GILMORE™||

    Saying that enforcing speech bans is a terrible thing is not the same as saying he should not suffer the consequences of violating his contract.

    This amounts to, "I can say "its *terrible* that someone is enforcing a contract", while at the same time asserting that "enforcement of contracts is still perfectly right and proper"

    perfectly distilled, "To be sure" Robby-ism. Have cake, eat cake.

    There's certainly a potential argument against the underlying nature of the contract and the absurdity of its enforcement; but no one made that argument here, and Robby doesn't actually do any real reporting on the details of what the contract was, whether it was presented as a precondition of his being booked, or only after he'd agreed to do the gig and arrived on scene... whether it was a rider attached to a standard performance agreement already made, etc.

    lacking those sorts of details, you can't really have-cake/eat-cake and pretend its de-facto terrible thing. there's not enough detail to judge.

    I personally think its stupid to hire a specific sort of comic and tell them what they can't say, just as it would be absurd to hire a death-metal band and demand they play Top40 hits. Contract-be-damned, its a case of 'caveat emptor'. If you want a squeaky-clean routine, hire a squeaky-clean comic. You can't 'contract' an artist into being something they're obviously not.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Noted. Next time you say X is terrible, I absolutely 100% will not think "he thinks we shouldn't do X".

  • GILMORE™||

    "" Next time you say X is terrible, I absolutely 100% will not think "he thinks we shouldn't do X".

    There are certainly examples where this sort of distinction might matter.

    e.g. i might think heroin addiction is terrible, but disagree that "heroin should be banned" or "users thrown in jail".

    Same with prostitution, or many other life-choices.

    Its just that "enforcement of contracts" is not really one of those categories.

    ... and that, sans any detail on what the specifics and conditions of any given contract-situation are, nobody can go, "enforcement of X sort of contract is terrible" while pretending they can still posture as someone who otherwise has strong support for free-association and voluntary bargaining.

  • ||

    view his action as a form of civil disobedience

    No. That's just stupid. I hope you don't need me to explain why.

  • Alcibiades||

    No one is saying Hannibal should not suffer the consequences of violating a contract. But you can view his action as a form of civil disobedience to bring to light the terms of the contract.

    You can also view his actions as violating the property rights of the venue owners to decide how their property is used.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    It prohibited him from talking about rape, sexual assault, race, or sexual orientation

    No wonder the guy was pissed, those jokes were probably 90% of his regular set.

  • Alcibiades||

    They just canned this idiot:

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me
    -ln-pico-rivera-teacher-terminated-military-
    20180320-story.html

  • damikesc||

    Since Loyola is a private university, it is within its rights to impose conditions on would-be performers

    I thought taking any federal funds heavily limited their abilities to do that.
  • Mark22||

    Since Loyola is a private university, it is within its rights to impose conditions on would-be performers.

    According to "liberal" logic and Title IX precedent, not if they receive federal funding, which I'm assuming they do.

  • Pat001||

    Since Buress violated his contract, the university could have refused to pay him, and then sue to get back any deposit money the university paid up front.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Since Loyola is a private university, it is within its rights to impose conditions on would-be performers."

    Reason likes to say that kind of thing a lot. "Private entities can do whatever they want." But can they?

    Doesn't the University have a contractual relationship with it's students? Do they *advertise* themselves as supporting free speech, or do they advertise themselves as silencing ideas they find icky, and if you don't like it, you should go to another university?

  • EscherEnigma||

    They are a Catholic University. Even if they claim to "support Free Speech" (a very vague statement), that should be understood within that identity.

    That said, such entertainment events are a "nice to have", but it's not a core function that the students are paying for (even if it is funded through their payments). It's like when car mechanic hands you a glass of water while you're waiting for your car. It's nice, but you shouldn't expect it, and complaining that it's too tepid is pretty silly.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Free speech unless you disagree with The Church"

    Galileo would be impressed.

    But I'm not particularly getting on Loyola, who do include a particular ideological identity as their brand, but the more general point about private universities.

    "They can do whatever they want." No. Even in Libertopia, they would still be bound by their agreements with their customers, the students, and how they've advertised themselves to them.

    Free speech on campus is as much about students being able to *hear* what they want as *say* what they want. When groups specifically invite speakers, it's because they want to hear them, and when a university administration shuts them down or tells police to stand down from enforcing laws against disorderly conduct (which most "protests" are), they are collaborating with the thugs against the students and violating contractual obligations at the very least.

    How universities got to be local governments directing police forces instead of their own security I don't know. No one elected them. Somehow they've become these weird private/government enclaves. Another reason that "we're just private entities" doesn't fly.

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    "Buress had begun by calling attention to the agreement the university had forced him to sign as a condition of giving a performance: It prohibited him from talking about rape, sexual assault, race, or sexual orientation. Buress, who is black, often incorporates politically charged themes in his material."

    why does that last sentence begin with: "Buress, who is black..."? Why does that need to be mentioned?

  • Inquisitive Squirrel||

    Because, if at all possible, we have to make race an integral factor in any situation that is reported on.

  • ||

    Because the left demand we do and demand we don't. It's better to ask for forgiveness and all that

  • Inquisitive Squirrel||

    I'm not a fan of the fact that the university has content restrictions at all. But I have to say, Buress is free to enter into contracts for services with people and if he doesn't like the terms of the contract, he's free not to sign. But I'm not a fan of him signing a contract and then immediately proceeding to violate the contract under the auspices of righteousness.

  • ||

    These universities have truly become a Monty Python skit, complete with the authorities coming in to shut down the performance.

  • LarryEF||

    Boo-hoo. Where is the same concern for free speech when conservatives are routinely shut down?

  • Juice||

    Don't read this blog much, huh?

  • Gasman||

    Mr. Buress was not brought in as a thoughtful academic speaker, rather, just a comic gig. He was not forced into any contract, and willingly accepted cash for the terms of his employment with the university.

  • Juice||

    Buress, who is black...

    LOL

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