- The Washington Times - Friday, February 3, 2017

Vice Media co-founder and conservative comedian Gavin McInnes was hit with pepper spray by angry protesters before his scheduled speech Thursday night at New York University.

Demonstrators and students from the group NYU Anti-Fascists gathered outside the Kimmel Center on campus ahead of Mr. McInnes’ speech, but the protest turned violent once the conservative arrived, a local NBC News affiliate reported.

NYU spokesman John Beckman said Mr. McInnes was hit with pepper spray during a fight with protesters before entering the building.

The Washington Square News, the school’s student newspaper, reported that Mr. McInnes was immediately treated by emergency responders while security and university officials waited outside the Kimmel bathroom door.

Mr. McInnes went on to deliver his speech but was interrupted after only three minutes, the paper said. About 20 minutes into his remarks, protesters rushed into the room and began shouting over him. He was escorted to the back of the room and then decided to leave immediately, the paper reported.

Videos on social media showed heated scuffles between protesters and police outside, leading to the arrests of 11 people, according to reports.

Mr. Beckman blamed the chaos on both protesters and supporters of Mr. McInnes.

“Our principle at NYU is somebody who comes here to speak — who’s invited by a student organization — should have an opportunity to speak, but this event reflected well on no one,” the NYU spokesman said. “There were people in the audience who sought to drown out the speaker, and the speaker sought to bait the audience. It was an unfortunate way for the event to go. The idea is that even controversial or unpopular speakers should have an opportunity to be heard, and people who wish to protest should be able to do so in a way that does not obstruct the ability of others to exercise their right of free speech. This was unusual.”

The ordeal came one day after violent riots at the University of California, Berkeley, forced the school to cancel a scheduled speech by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

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