Ben Shapiro given two minutes to defend free speech before California legislature

Tuesday the California State Legislature held the first of three planned hearings on the topic of free speech. Conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro, who has been at the forefront of these discussions, was invited to appear at the hearing by GOP State Senator John Moorlach. However, Democrats determined he would only be allowed to speak in the comment portion of the hearing, i.e. he would be given exactly two minutes at the end of the 3 1/2 hour meeting. When his time finally came, here is what Shapiro said:

“The reason it cost $600,000 to bring me to UC Berkeley was not because of me,” Shapiro said. He continued, “Everybody keeps suggesting that because I was coming, I’m so controversial and so terrible, I came exactly one year before and it cost this many dollars, it cost zero dollars for security at UC Berkeley.

“The reason it cost $600,000 at UC Berkeley is because Antifa and violent groups had decided that Berkeley was their domain and they were going to be able to run roughshod over law enforcement there.”

Shapiro went on to criticize the notion of “hate speech” saying, “One of the reasons groups like Antifa show up is not because they know who I am, it’s because they have been told by people that I am promulgating hate speech which is utterly false and utterly untrue.”

Shapiro closed saying, “If we can’t agree there’s a difference between speech and violence we’re not going to have a free state, let along a free country.”

After his two minutes, Shapiro also gave an interview to local media talking about the heckler’s veto. You can watch the clip here at the Sacramento Bee’s site. A third party recording of the interview is also available if you scroll 3 minutes into this clip:

Finally, you can view the full 3 1/2 hour hearing here.