© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ben Shapiro Greeted By Protesters At Ohio Union

Gage Skidmore

Dozens of protestors waved signs and chanted “Ben Shapiro has to go!” as the controversial conservative political commentator made his small-government case inside an Ohio Union ballroom on Tuesday.

Shapiro, a former Breitbart editor and the current editor at The Daily Wire, became a darling of young conservatives while frequently criticizing the character of President Trump. He’s also become known for the catchphrase, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”

Speaking to a sold-out audience, Shapiro said the role of government is not to become more involved in people’s everyday lives, but to remove barriers to free speech and other constitutionally-protected behaviors.

“Any government that actually becomes the great invader of rights loses the consent of the people, and thereby its legitimacy," Shapiro said.

Campus speech is one of Shapiro’s most popular talking points. He wrote the 2004 book “Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth.”

Shapiro, often described as a “professional debater,” has also angered many by claiming transgender people have mental disorders, a claim long debunked by medical groups such as the American Psychological Association. Shapiro has also been criticized for saying Palestinians do not deserve their own state.

No arrests were reported in the crowded lobby gathered outside the Shapiro event.

While he was in Columbus, Shapiro also testified in support of a bill that backers say would support free speech at Ohio’s public universities.

The bill bans schools from restricting speakers and groups to small “free speech zones” on their campuses, and sets rules for what the sponsors say would be equal treatment of speakers of all viewpoints.

“It seems like a pretty measured bill in terms of its language. I don’t think it’s designed to let the KKK roam around free on campus, guns a-blazin’," Shapiro told lawmakers.

Conservative groups say their messages have often been targeted with limits on displays and signs and higher fees. But the ACLU has previously raised concerns about this bill.

The sponsors say they don’t expect the bill to pass in the current “lame duck” session and they plan to bring it up again next year.