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A funny thing happened to some right-leaning filmmakers trying to make their case that conservatives aren’t welcome on college campuses: They weren’t allowed on a college campus.
At least that’s according to a letter that their lawyers fired off to California State University, Northridge in southern California.
Comedian Adam Carolla and radio host Dennis Prager are touring the nation’s universities while making their documentary film, No Safe Spaces, and their first stop, scheduled at CSUN, was canceled, according to lawyers, because the content of a talk they were to give was deemed politically incorrect.
The presentation was supposed to consist of Carolla interviewing Prager at the Campus Theater on Dec. 1. The topic was rather vague, but it invariably was to focus on the duo’s assertion that the political left has a stranglehold on most colleges, and it was to be filmed so that some portions would have presumably ended up in No Safe Spaces.
But while negotiating for the use of the venue, the filmmakers, Justin Folk and R.J. Moeller, say they were informed that “people higher up the food chain” at CSUN weren’t happy about the “content” of the planned presentation, and their lawyers say laws may have been broken.
“It appears your institution may have caused damage by committing unlawful content-based discrimination against my client and others,” wrote Kurt Schlichter of Schlichter & Shonack on behalf of Moral Compass, the limited partnership set up by the filmmakers.
The letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday is dated Dec. 2 and addressed to CSUN president Dianne Harrison.
The filmmakers say they also were told that the appearance of Prager and Carolla might cause some students to protest, and in a letter informing them that they weren’t able to use the venue, a CSUN a representative wrote: “The scope and logistics around the event is just not feasible.”
The college has in the past hosted President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Louis Farrakhan, poet Maya Angelou and other dignitaries at various places on campus.
The college told THR that the venue for the Prager-Carolla event was not approved for purely logistical reasons and that the rental negotiations were handled by CSUN’s non-profit auxiliary, called The University Corporation.
“Based on the typical end of semester increased activity, The University Corporation determined that this rental request could not be accommodated,” the organization said in a statement emailed to THR. “At no point was the rental approved. Representatives made an inquiry, and logistics could not be accommodated.”
The lawyer, though, maintains that the filmmakers were strung along for six weeks, led to believe the venue was available for rental and unaware of any problems. Then, the reason for CSUN not closing the deal kept changing.
“It is disturbing that a public university would seek to remove an event from its campus because of the ‘content’ involved,” the attorney wrote. “To then back down from the ‘content’ claim and now use a laughable ‘logistics’ excuse is also disturbing.”
No Safe Spaces is filming with Carolla and Prager primarily over the fall and is a feature-length documentary about political correctness at universities. It derives its name from the so-called “safe spaces” that were created at some universities during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Safe spaces usually consist of coloring books, stuffed animals, bubble-blowing toys and the like, and were built for students who find it disturbing to hear opinions they don’t agree with.
Late Tuesday, University Corporation president and executive director Rick Evans noted that Prager and Carolla spoke at the campus separately about three years ago, in the pre-Trump, pre-safe space era, and that he has no objection to them appearing together there in the future.
“I’m confident there’s a time and place for this event. Discussions about security concerns and electronics had not taken place yet,” he said.
“I can’t have my people scrambling at the last minute,” Evans said. “Availability is the first step, not the last one, and there were enough dangling loose ends for me to deny the request, for their sake and ours. We need to start from scratch. I want this event to occur. The police department will determine the necessary level of security.”
Dec. 6, 5:30 p.m.: Updated with comments from Evans.
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