Princeton Professor of African American Studies Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has cancelled today’s lecture, “#BlackLivesMatter in the Trump Era,” due to a recent string of death threats and racist emails.
Taylor was set to lecture on her new book, #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, sponsored by the UCSD Institute of Arts & Humanities. Taylor explained her reasoning for the cancellation on her publisher’s Facebook page — she began to receive death threats after Fox News covered a speech she gave at Hampshire College.
On May 20, Taylor gave the senior commencement speech at Hampshire College, arguing that President Donald Trump is “a racist and sexist megalomaniac.” Several days later, after Fox News covered her speech and called it an “anti-POTUS tirade,” she began to receive slur-filled threats.
“I have been threatened with lynching and having the bullet from a .44 Magnum put in my head. I am not a newsworthy person,” she wrote. “Fox did not run this story because it was ‘news,’ but to incite and unleash the mob-like mentality of its fringe audience, anticipating that they would respond with a deluge of hate-filled emails — or worse.”
Taylor was also set to speak at Town Hall Seattle on May 31. She said the cancellations were “for fear of my safety and my family’s safety.”
Luis Alvarez and Mark Hanna, the event hosts, expressed their sadness about the cancellation on the UCSD event’s Facebook page.
“In light of the very real threats made against Professor Taylor, we are fully supportive of her decision to postpone her visit to San Diego,” they wrote. “We remain committed to bringing together students, faculty, and the general public to engage today’s most pressing issues in an open, transparent, and safe forum.”
Despite the threats, Taylor affirmed that the ideals she had planned to speak about continued to be important to her. “We have to change this dynamic and begin to build a massive movement against racism, sexism, and bigotry in this country,” she said. “I remain undaunted in my commitment to that project.”
Gabe Schneider is the News Editor for The Triton.