Ann Coulter On Verge of Pulling Out of Speech at Berkeley

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Ann Coulter in February 2011. Credit Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Ann Coulter said Wednesday that she is likely to cancel her planned appearance at the University of California, Berkeley, because she faced threats of violence and felt she was left without the support of local law enforcement who have said it cannot guarantee her safety.

Ms. Coulter, in a message to The New York Times, said, “It’s a sad day for free speech.”

Despite insisting that she would go to Berkeley regardless — even after the university said it could not accommodate her on the date and time it had initially scheduled her — Ms. Coulter suggested she would call off the appearance. The school said she could only speak at a later date and an earlier time of day, when there were likely to be fewer students on campus and less of a likelihood for violent outbreaks.

Late Tuesday, the conservative group that was helping Ms. Coulter in her legal efforts to force Berkeley to host her, Young America’s Foundation, said they could no longer participate. “Young America’s Foundation will not jeopardize the safety of its staff or students,” the group said.

Without any support, Ms. Coulter said she could not go forward. “Everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away,” she said.

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