Conservative pundit Ann Coulter says she will file a human rights complaint in Canada, after a planned speech was canceled just as she was about to hit the stage. Organizers pulled the plug on Coulter's Tuesday night speech at the University of Ottawa because they felt it was unsafe for her.
Some 2,000 students crowded the entrance to the auditorium, "threatening" students, according to a spokesman for the organizers. Canadian conservative activist Ezra Levant, who was scheduled to introduce Coulter, said the angry students made for “a situation the security and police advised was untenable for safety reasons,” and that "there was a risk there could be physical violence," so sponsors called off the appearance.
Coulter said she's given some 200 speeches at colleges and this was the first time one of her addresses has been “completely shut down.” In her usual fashion, she had bitter, insulting words for the university and its students:
“It's at the absolute bush league, bottom of the barrel schools that you get the worst treatment and yet and still I've never seen this before. I'm guessing the scores to get into the University of Ottawa are not very challenging.”
A protest organizer, international studies student Mike Fancie, said he was pleased they were able to stop Coulter from speaking.
"What Ann Coulter is practicing is not free speech, it's hate speech," he said. "She's targeted the Jews, she's targeted the Muslims, she's targeted Canadians, homosexuals, women, almost everybody you could imagine."
In an unusual move, the University of Ottawa had sent Coulter a warning before her speech, cautioning her to watch her words, lest she face criminal charges for promoting hatred in Canada.
“I hereby encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here,” University of Ottawa academic vice-president François Houle wrote. “Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.”
Coulter says she is being discriminated against because she's a conservative. Speaking on CTV, Coulter suggested there’s a double standard at work in Canada because left-wing activist Michael Moore doesn’t receive the same kind of warnings. “Does Michael Moore get a letter reminding him to be civil and threatening him with criminal prosecution?” Coulter asked.
Coulter defended her nasty, controversial tone as political satire employed to force change – and a popular draw for audiences. “They wouldn’t be bringing me in here for a speech if I never told a joke, if I never used satire.”
Coulter delivered a speech without incident Monday, and has one more planned for Thursday before leaving Canada.