UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Penn State University group is facing backlash from students and university faculty after planning an on-campus comedy show featuring the founder of the far-right group Proud Boys.
The non-profit student organization, Uncensored America, is drawing criticism for hosting a comedy show featuring Proud Boys founder, Gavin McInnes, and conservative media contributor, Alex Stein.
“We want it basically to be an event where everybody comes together and laughs a little bit,” Uncensored America founder, Sean Semanko, said.
University leaders released a statement on Tuesday, saying, “The type of rhetoric these speakers regularly engage in does not represent the values of Penn State, our student organizations operate independent of the University and are free to sponsor programs or speakers of their choosing without censorship.”
“They’re two censored comedians that have been censored on social media and from various organizations and other groups,” Semanko said. “We want to give them the opportunity to hear their side of things since we’re a free speech organization. We want to give them the platform to be who they are and tell the jokes that they want. We would do that for anyone, left, right, center, no matter political alignment.”
The university announced additional events to be held on the same day as the comedy show, including keynote speeches and unity gatherings.
Uncensored America is continuing to hold the event, even after the backlash.
“A lot of people have been saying a lot of things about us, about the speakers that is completely false, total lies, they’re not listening, not engaging,” Semanko said. “They’re just saying things that they know nothing about, and I encourage them to come and engage with us.”
The show will be performed on campus on October 24.