Category Archive 'Speech Crime'

17 Oct 2019

Harvard Band Members Walk Out Following an Alumn’s Joke

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The Crimson won’t even tell us what he actually said.

Understandably. All those little millennial snowflakes melt whenever any old, white male says something transgressive and un-PC.

But, cheer up, the alumnus did grovel and confess his Speech Crime in the end. I guess he’ll just get a bit of political reeducation, they won’t have to harvest his organs after all.

More than 70 members of the Harvard Band walked out of a banquet celebrating the group’s centennial Saturday after an alumnus joked about the group’s decision to implement a sexual harassment policy.

At the banquet, former band member Richard “Rich” D. Horn ’72 began his speech with a joke about the group’s decision to implement the policy, which undergraduates distributed to alumni ahead of the reunion. As Horn continued to speak, roughly 75 attendees left the room, according to an emailed statement by the band’s senior staff. Many of those who walked out did not return for the remainder of the event.

Horn wrote in an email that he regrets that others interpreted his remarks as a criticism of the policy, which provides band members with a formal disclosure system to report incidences of sexual misconduct, according to a copy of the policy obtained by The Crimson.

“I sympathize with the frustration of decades of Band women in dealing with sexism both in the Band and elsewhere. I strongly support the Band’s sexual harassment policy and did not mean to imply otherwise,” he wrote. “I deeply regret any implication to the contrary. This is an issue on which emotions understandably and rightly run high, and I ought to have known better. Hopefully, I will do better in any future occasion.”

A separate speaker had also joked about the sexual harassment policy before Horn, according to the band’s staff. That speaker later apologized for his remarks, the band wrote in its statement.
After some attendees left the room, Harvard Band Foundation president Camaron “Cammie” S. O’Connor Wynn ’94 made an impromptu speech apologizing for the disruption, according to the band. O’Connor Wynn wrote in an email that band leadership, including both undergraduates and alumni, sought to address concerns about Horn’s comments both during and after the banquet.

“Attempts at humor by two brief (not primary) alumni speakers at our 100th reunion banquet touched on the Band’s sexual misconduct policy as a policy — in the sense of the necessity of censoring one’s own speech to fit with the new policy,” O’Connor Wynn wrote.
The Band’s senior staff wrote in an emailed statement that the sexual harassment policy previously caused controversy in the band’s alumni Facebook group when some alumni questioned the need for such a policy. The staff wrote that some alumni had written in the chat that the policy was “in contrast to the spirit of the band that they had known in their time.”

Band manager Lucaian Al-Tariq ’20 sent the emailed statement to The Crimson. Drill master Reese Garcia ’21, student conductor Marcos B. Cecchini ’21, drum major and Crimson multimedia editor Mariah E. D. Dimalaluan ’20, social chair Selket R. Jewett ’21, reunion manager Jessica D. Bishai ’20, and assistant reunion manager Jessica A. Boutchie ’21 also signed the statement.

“[M]uch has changed even within the past decade,” they wrote. “The jokes that were made may express discomfort in confronting this change; older alumni may have been surprised to see just how much the structure and nature of the Band have changed over time.”
“Both their discomfort and the reactions of the undergrads exemplify how deeply all generations of bandies care for this organization, despite its changes,” they added.

18 Apr 2007

European Union Defining Speech Crimes

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American politics is often pretty embarassing, but the EU’s obliviousness to the understanding of Liberty achieved by the Enlightenment in America, and its contemptible readiness to surrender the rights of its unfortunate citizens to political correctness, does make one proud to be an American.

Laws that make denying or trivialising the Holocaust a criminal offence punishable by jail sentences will be introduced across the European Union, according to a proposal expecting to win backing from ministers Thursday.

Offenders will face up to three years in jail under the proposed legislation, which will also apply to inciting violence against ethnic, religious or national groups.

Diplomats in Brussels voiced confidence on Tuesday that the controversial plan, which has been the subject of heated debate for six years, will be endorsed by member states. However, the Baltic countries and Poland are still holding out for an inclusion of “Stalinist crimes” alongside the Holocaust in the text – a move that is being resisted by the majority of other EU countries.

The latest draft, seen by the Financial Times, will make it mandatory for all Union member states to punish public incitement “to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin”.

They will also have to criminalise “publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” when such statements incite hatred or violence against minorities.

Diplomats stressed the provision had been carefully worded to include only denial of the Holocaust – the Nazi mass murder of Jews during the second world war – and the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

They also stressed that the wording was designed to avoid criminalising comical plays or films about the Holocaust such as the Italian comedian Roberto Benigni’s prize-winning Life is Beautiful . The text expressly upholds countries’ constitutional traditions relating to the freedom of expression.

Holocaust denial is already a criminal offence in several European countries, including Germany and Austria. It is not a specific crime in Britain, though UK officials said it could already be tackled under existing legislation.

In an attempt to assuage Turkish fears, several EU diplomats said the provisions would not penalise the denial of mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman troops in the aftermath of the 1915 collapse of the Ottoman empire. Turkey strongly rejects claims that this episode amounted to genocide.

13 Apr 2007

Keith Olbermann Smells Red Meat

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Brent Baker, at Newsbusters, reports that the left sees the Imus Affair as the model for further media lynchings. Watch out, Rush Limbaugh!

Keith Olbermann opened his Wednesday MSNBC show by displaying video of Rush Limbaugh on screen as he smeared conservative talk radio as “racist,” asking, “Why have none from the racist right been protested, boycotted or fired?” He then delighted Thursday night when guest Sam Seder, of the far-left Air America Radio, predicted “the next time Limbaugh slips up, which I think is inevitable, I think you’re going to see this sort of same type of reaction.” A pleased Olbermann exclaimed: “It’s the best thing I’ve heard in a couple of days. From your lips to God’s ears!” Olbermann had asked Seder: “How does Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage get away with worse than what Don Imus said?”

With “SELECTIVE OUTRAGE: Imus Was Not Alone” on screen, Olbermann teased Wednesday’s Countdown by wondering: “Where’s the other outrage? Rush Limbaugh calls Barack Obama ‘Halfrican-American.’ Michael Savage says the Voting Rights Act means ‘a chad in every crack house.’ Neal Boortz says Cynthia McKinney looks like a ‘ghetto-slut.’ Why have none from the racist right been protested, boycotted or fired?” He soon cued up race-hustler Jesse Jackson: “Why are there not efforts to remove them from the air?”

Olbermann’s crusade to remove conservatives from the air matched the spin forwarded Tuesday night on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now, as recounted in Matthew Balan’s NewsBusters post. Zahn set up an April 10 taped piece: ”Conservative Rush Limbaugh, who has offended just about every minority group, drew special criticism for attacking actor Michael J. Fox.” After regurgitating that controversy, Zahn moved to the very same quote highlighted by Olbermann: “Limbaugh later apologized. But the criticism for that low blow hasn’t stopped him from lashing out at presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, calling him ‘Halfrican.’” Viewers then heard audio of Limbaugh: “Barack Obama has picked up another endorsement, Halfrican-American actress Halle Berry. As a Halfrican-American, I am honored to have Ms. Berry’s support, as well as the support of other Halfrican-Americans.” Zahn proceeded to highlight the same Boortz comment about McKinney as Olbermann would do 24 hours later.

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And, sure enough, leftwing Media Matters is today calling for further bloodletting with a list of alleged speech crimes by Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage, Michael Smerconish, John Gibson, and Rush Limbaugh.

13 Apr 2007

Demise of the I-Man

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Howie Carr kicks the I-Man when he’s down, noting how quickly Don Imus’ latter-day liberal friends deserted him in his hour of need.

Poor I-man, kicked down the stairs like a Bob Gamere, abandoned by the Beautiful People he served so faithfully these past few decades. We won’t be MSNBC’ing the senile old crackhead anymore. No more summer party invitations from his media enablers in the Hamptons. Henceforth, he is a nobody on Nantucket.

Wherever will we get our fix of Doris Kearns Goodwin now?

And what’s the over-under on how many days until trophy-wife Deirdre walks out forever?

Don Imus – $10-million dollar salary, 10-cent brain. From the penthouse to the outhouse. …

But the most interesting thing about Imus’ sudden demise is how few of the assorted coatholders, front-runners, bumkissers and drive-by pundits who called in every morning could be bothered to stand up for the I-man in his moment of need.

These liberals may be good company at a cocktail party in Vail, but you wouldn’t want to share a foxhole with them. When the I-man’s phone didn’t ring, he knew it was Joe Lieberman. Or maybe Frank Rich.

Until his idiotic flameout, Don Imus was the nearest thing the liberals ever had to a success story in talk radio. He worshipped John Kerry. He fawned over Maureen Dowd. He cursed the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. After Saddam was executed, Imus joked with a local plagiarist about how Dick Cheney would handle himself on the gallows.

Who knew Imus would walk the Green Mile before Karl Rove?

The I-man thought he was one of the Beautiful People, but in the end it turned out like one of those Bob Dylan songs he used to play going into the breaks. …

All his new so-called friends ran away and hid on him. Think about that unctuous NBC rumpswab David Gregory. Wednesday night, he went on MSNBC looking like his dog just got run over. But by yesterday morning, Gregory was back on top of his game. He apologized to Jesse Jackson for ever having gone on the Imus show.

But Gregory just did what was expected of him. When the going gets tough, the tough – hey, come back here!

The Beautiful People spent all week stampeding to the microphone to announce, as one female from Time magazine said yesterday, that they won’t be appearing on the Imus Show anymore.

No kidding, honey. Nobody will ever be appearing on the Imus show again, not even Imus.

How many regular-people talk-show listeners did Imus have at the end? Not many, would be my guess. Didn’t notice any truck-drivers blowing their horns in support, did you?

It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. …

Too bad Imus “outgrew” all the people who used to listen to him on WNBC. Basically, he forgot who brung him to the dance.

Barney Frank – another target of Bernie McGuirk’s barbs – used to say that, as a politician, your base isn’t the people who will stand behind you when you’re right, but the people who will stand behind you when you’re wrong.

In the end, Imus had no one who would stand behind him, period. That’s why he won’t be down for breakfast.

And what can you say except, There’s no fool like an old fool.


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