A free speech forum scheduled for next week with conservative provocateur Steve Bannon was canceled Tuesday, the latest event to be nixed following a controversial announcement that Bannon would visit the University of Montana campus for a technology conference.
Bannon was originally scheduled to speak at the 15th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, or ACE 2018, later this month at the University Center. That conference was canceled after backlash from participants and members of the event’s committee.
Another conference, the Congress on Love and Sex with Robots, was canceled alongside ACE 2018.
Adrian Cheok, the conference’s organizer, told the Missoula Current in early November that Bannon would still speak at UM on Dec. 11, examining the role of minorities in technology and participate in an academic debate with former UM professor Michel Valentin on populism and free speech.
The conference’s website, updated with the new event titled “Athenian Parrhesia Free-Speech Forum,” now states, “Postponement: Due to the unavailability of Mr. Stephen Bannon this event is postponed until further notice.”
Cheok originally scheduled both the ACE 2018 conference and the Congress on Love and Sex with Robots for Dec. 10 through Dec. 14.
Cheok said that Twitter comments condemned the events using the #boycottACE hashtag, and that other researchers listed on the website were sending blackmail-emails. Others on Twitter said the conference abused its academic stance as a platform for political speech.