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University of Utah campus—Conservative podcaster and commentator Ben Shapiro has become a lynch pin for the issues that separate students and challenge free speech rights that divide our country.
The protest nearly turned violent when members of far left-wing group Antifa appeared ready to cause harm to Shapiro’s guests. Conservative vlogger Steven Crowder said that someone from his team captured a potential violent member of Antifa, and footage that the police would use as evidence against the would-be agitator.
Utah Stories spoke to members from both sides attempting to get a handle on the issue of the major growing divisions in our country and state.
Ben Shapiro has become famous for calling out social justice warriors, and members of Black Lives Matter who promote police violence. Shapiro has has also spoken out against the celebration of transgender activists, and refuses to call Katelyn Jenner—formerly Bruce Jenner— a woman. Shapiro is not a Donald Trump supporter, nor does he condone white supremacists or groups that promote hatred, yet he was labeled by many protesters as someone who “promotes hatred and violence.”
Shapiro is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire, a conservative website that offers podcasts and news. He is the host of the “largest conservative podcast on iTunes”. Shapiro is the former editor of Breitbart, which is the controversial news website that has been sympathetic to alt-right groups and proponents. Shapiro is an outspoken critic of the alt-right movement, and he says he received more hate mail from the group than any other person. Members of the alt-right movement believe that America should return to ethnic identity and favor whites in our immigration policies. Richard Spencer is one of the most prominent members of the alt-right, his name was brought up to some protesters we spoke with. Shapiro’s former boss, Steve Bannon has not spoken out against the alt-right, and neither has President Donald Trump, Shapiro criticizes both men for not separating themselves from the growing alt-right movement, which legitimizes claims of Black Lives Matter that our country’s leadership supports “institutional racism” — a claim that Ben Shapiro believes is false.
Utah Stories chose to focus our questions on the issue of “institutional racism” asking protesters what they believe should happen if the condition does exist. Ben Shapiro asks members of BLM to point out individual cases of racism, rather than institutional cases, (which can’t be proven). Shapiro adds if he sees cases when racism does exist, he will march beside protesters.