Debate featured popular social media pundits Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven ‘Destiny’ Bonnell
A group that works to advance free speech by hosting controversial figures on college campuses hosted a debate this week between two polarizing social media figures at the University of Tennessee Knoxville on the topic of Christian nationalism.
The debate on Tuesday featured Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart editor and a right-wing British political commentator, and Steven “Destiny” Bonnell II, a former Twitch streamer and self-described “omni-liberal.”
The two-hour structured debate included some heated moments during which Yiannopoulos and Bonnell traded personal insults and barbs, but the time at the podium was also largely focused on the featured topic, a video of the full debate shows.
Uncensored America describes itself as a group “dedicated to fighting for freedom of speech” in America’s culture and is behind some controversial events on campuses in recent months.
The group is scheduled to host controversial right-wing commentator and citizen journalist Laura Loomer at the University of South Carolina on April 18. The organization bills it as a chance to hear from “the most censored woman in the world.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression on March 22 reported that an earlier decision at the University of South Carolina to reject the establishment of a student chapter of Uncensored America was reversed after the civil liberties group sent a warning letter.
Get tickets to see the most censored woman in the world @LauraLoomer at the University of South Carolina next week!https://t.co/LSd0ZGOral
— Uncensored America (@UncensoredAm) April 12, 2023
Last October, an event the group sought to host at Pennsylvania State University featuring two right-wing comedian firebrands, Gavin McInnes and Alex Stein, was canceled after protests escalated and demonstrations turned chaotic, The College Fix reported at the time.
“With every event we have hosted, we have always encouraged everyone to be peaceful,” Uncensored America said in a statement after the performance was canceled. “We want people from all different viewpoints to talk, not fight. We condemn all violence.”
“[T]he purpose of the comedy show was to give students the opportunity to listen to and engage with two censored comedians.”
The Pennsylvania State University student news outlet Onward State reported April 7 that an allocation committee set aside nearly $7,400 to the “registered student organization Uncensored America for an event.”
“…This comes amid rumors that the student group is working to bring controversial speaker Alex Stein back to campus. While the UPAC has allocated over $7,000 to Uncensored America, no speaker has been confirmed, nor has a time or date.”
It appears Uncensored America is looking to bring Alex Stein back to Penn State University Park in April. The group has requested five sworn officers for security.
Screenshots below are from the event request, which is categorized as "tentative." pic.twitter.com/PuJrO8oyhx
— Wyatt Massey (@News4Mass) March 21, 2023
According to the group’s website, Uncensored America has student chapters at the University of Tennessee, University of South Carolina, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Penn State.
In one of the group’s first-ever campus events, in 2021, Yiannopoulos spoke at Penn State on behalf of the group in an event titled “Pray the Gay Away.” That event also drew controversy.
Sean Semanko, founder of Uncensored America, told The College Fix via email the group’s latest event at the University of Tennessee allowed students to explore a hot-button topic.
“Christian Nationalism is an important topic to debate since it is the fastest growing new ideology in America,” he said.
UTK CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM POLL RESULTS
42% Pro-Christian Nationalism
58% Anti-Christian Nationalism
Unfortunately, the post-debate poll was nullified after someone dropped a bunch of votes into one cup.
It’s hard to say how much each side shifted, but there were…
— Uncensored America (@UncensoredAm) April 13, 2023
According to Semanko, the debate was an opportunity to discuss the contradiction of a secular generation that is increasingly curious about religion with “two of the most insightful and high IQ political commentators of the last decade.”
While Uncensored America hoped its debate would promote freedom of speech, some took issue with the message they believed the debate was sending, according to Semanko, as fliers advertising the debate were torn down on campus.
When asked for comment before the debate, Yiannopoulos told The College Fix: “I like my chances.”
MORE: As protest turns chaotic, Penn State abruptly cancels ‘Uncensored America’ event featuring Gavin McInnes
IMAGE: YouTube screenshot
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