Crowder on the campus of TCU, in an image that later went viral.

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LGBT Student Group Opposes Conservative Speaker’s Appearance at SMU

Steven Crowder, a conservative provocateur with a history of using homophobic language, was invited to speak on campus by the university's College Republicans.

Tonight, the conservative provocateur, comedian, and political commentator Steven Crowder will speak at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium at the invitation of SMU College Republicans, drawing protests from an LGBTQ+ campus group that says Crowder has a history of homophobic views.

Crowder, who has a collective online following of over two million, is known for his use of slurs against LGBTQ+ people, including the words “faggot” and “tranny.” He has also claimed that being transgender is a delusion, and has disparaged Muslims and racial minorities, leading many to consider him a hate speaker. In recent weeks, Crowder also became something of a meme after he appeared on the Texas Christian University campus with a sign inviting students to change his mind about his notion that “male privilege is a myth.”

SMU’s College Republicans defended their decision to invite Crowder to campus. In a statement, the group said that “Some of the things he says and does do push limits, but often times that is the purpose of comedy in that absurdity often brings truth and discussion to the forefront. Mr. Crowder is in line with most conservative/libertarian ideology and has an audience and a platform that allows us the opportunity to bring in a vast audience (particularly a large number of young people) and share conservative belief and thought in an entertaining format.”

Many people on campus, however, believe that rather than push boundaries, Crowder crosses lines. They intend to make their objections to his presence known. OUTlaw, an LGBTQ+ group of SMU law students, is set to protest Crowder’s appearance tonight, arguing that inviting him undermines the very dialogue that College Republicans claim they are seeking to open.

“While we…respect and value the principle of free speech, we are disappointed in the SMU College Republicans organization for not selecting a more substantive and eloquent speaker to contribute to an intellectual discourse on the issues,” said Joanna Pearce, OUTlaw president and associate managing editor of the SMU Law Review.

In an email, Pearce went on to describe Crowder as “an antagonist with an insatiable hunger for provocation. He makes his living by finding ways to ‘trigger’ others; that is, finding ways to offend and denigrate as many people (or people groups) as possible. In doing so, he freely employs hate speech, including derisive epithets like ‘f*ggot,’ and he chooses to use these words precisely because of their ability to injure and offend.”

OUTlaw emphasized that the group in no way objects to Crowder’s legal right to speak on campus, or to College Republicans’ right to invite him. Rather, OUTlaw contends that it was irresponsible.

“Our protest is designed to show our displeasure with hate speech and intolerance being disseminated on our campus. Although we respect the SMU College Republicans’ right to bring speakers to campus, including speakers of little to no intellectual value, we nevertheless plan to exercise our right to demur and express our disappointment with their choice of speaker in this case. Additionally, we hope that our protest alerts the administration to the presence of its smaller minority student populations, and leads to productive future dialogues regarding measures to be taken in defending both free speech and the interests of minorities on campus. We support speech, but we also reserve our right to engage in respectful counter-speech, which is particularly important where a featured speaker chooses to shun respectful dialogue in favor of using reprehensible insults.”

College Republicans are also drawing fire for promoting the event with posters of Crowder wearing a shirt that depicts Che Guevara and reads “socialism is for f*gs” (on the shirt design, the asterisk is a fig). SMU’s logo was also visible in a version of the poster that was originally displayed. College Republicans later had Crowder’s team replace the poster with a version in which the text on the shirt was blacked out, saying, “We are not looking to simply generate controversy simply for the point of doing so. We did not feel that the language on the shirt was conducive to the message we are trying to promote on campus and so we chose to black out the verbiage.” Still, students have reported seeing both versions.

Pearce said that OUTlaw was “disheartened by [SMU administrators’] indifference to the use of SMU’s logo and branding on Crowder’s flier for the event, which also depicted a homophobic epithet. We hope that our protest and communications with the main campus administration will spark a dialogue regarding SMU’s stance on the degree to which it should publicly claim affiliation with guest speakers in the future, in order to prevent inadvertently creating the impression that the university does not value diversity.”

In a statement, SMU President R. Gerald Turner’s office stated that it did not endorse Crowder, emphasizing that he goes against SMU’s policies of diversity and inclusion. But SMU reiterated the right of College Republicans to invite outside speakers who “express objectionable or offensive ideas,” as well as the right of OUTlaw and other student organizations’ to “join together to demonstrate their concern by orderly means.”

Some have pointed out that because Crowder’s speaking fee of $15,000 was allocated to the College Republicans from SMU’s annual budget by the student senate, students and donors, many of whom belong to the groups that Crowder insults and disparages, are paying for the speaking engagement.

Though Crowder’s caustic presence is being met with significant backlash, interaction between the two student groups has remained civil, if somewhat tense. Lines of communication between College Republicans, OUTlaw,  and Young Americans for Freedom (another conservative campus organization planning a counter-protest in support of Crowder’s right to speak on campus) have all remained open. All three organizations claim to support a constructive dialogue between people of opposing viewpoints.

Pearce said that OUTlaw believes “the foundation of respectful dialogue is respect. Hateful epithets designed to denigrate historically oppressed minority groups are not used with respectful intention, and their use immediately strips all vestiges of respect from conversations that otherwise could have been productive.”

 

 

Editor’s note: Alec Petsche is a student at SMU and a former intern for D Magazine.

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Comments

  • JohnyAlamo

    Fascinating news. Hey, are keggar parties still a thing too?

    • Robert Olschlager

      Toga!!!

  • Robert Lawson

    It is completely disingenuous for OUTlaw to say they are all for freedom of speech. The fact is they wanted SMU to kick this guy from campus, and I quote from an internal email they sent around campus, “OUTLaw immediately attempted to persuade SMU to move the event off-campus and remove it from any official affiliation with the university. After repeated requests and a meeting with the Vice President of Student Affairs, the university nevertheless refused to move the event or alter the advertising in any way…”

    • Kyle Reese

      Ya, I’m all for epithets and slurs, but ho boy, when those gays start voicing their dissent in a polite and respectable manner, that crosses the line. /s

      Idiot identified. It’s you, Robert. Why don’t you go ask one of those ConLaw professors what free speech has to do with a private university anyway. It has nothing to do with what organizations at a private institution want to protest or disagree with. I’m sure you think you’re a smart guy, so why just go along willy nilly with this pathetic conservative ideology of Dan Patrick that whacko down at First Baptist? What about free markets and economic freedom, Robert?

      • Robert Lawson

        I’m fully aware that SMU is not subject to 1A. It does however have a contractual obligation that guarantees freedom of speech to students, faculty, and staff. The class you need to take is Contracts.

        In any case, my comment was meant to highlight that this group is not being honest I’m their media representations. They in fact wanted SMU to kick out this event.

        Btw, it is truly sad that you just assume I’m a religious anti-gay nutjub only because I defend the right of SMU students to invite a religious anti-gay nutjob to campus.

  • “We support a dialog… with people who don’t disagree with us! Disagreement is Disrespect!!!”

  • Fred Herbertsh

    Well, scissor me timbers, who’d have thought they’d have a problem with an opinion that differs from their own? =O

  • opbook

    So I guess these young republicans believe calling people faggots and trannies is a good way to share conservative beliefs and thoughts in an entertaining format?

    Yeah! because it’s like funny, and . . . you know . . . free speech and like really really constructive dialogue.

    • robert

      Tolerance is meant for views you don’t agree with, yet the people who preach it have no tolerance. Why does the lgbtqxyt community have to be so intolerant?

      • opbook

        Why don’t you ask a black person why they can’t just be tolerant of someone wearing a white hood caring a sign that says blacks are inferior to whites?

        That may be the KKK’s view, but it is also inflammatory, disrespectful, stupid and a lie. So, do you think they should actually be tolerant of such nonsense?

        Most of the crap said about the LGBT community is just as ridiculous and is not deserving of tolerance, but instead should be called out for what it is inflammatory, disrespectful, stupid and a lie.

        Like your little snarky letter combination. It’s just smart ass bull shit that we have to tolerate, but we can still point out how pathetic it is.

        • Doug’n Mary Stanley

          That’s why it’s written into the Bill of Rights, first one. Peaceful protest is encouraged too.

          • opbook

            Absolutely, to bad when the opposing side peacefully protest what they think is disrespectful and inflammatory, they’re called intolerant.

          • CamberwellCarrot

            In this case, for once, the left seem to have quelled their penchant for violence, and didn’t succeed in deplatforming the speaker, although they tried. Crowder was hilarious, and insightful.

        • robert

          Don’t see where crowder is hateful just points out hypocrisy

      • Kyle Reese

        I’ll bet you get all offended when people tell you that you got no jump shot. Or that you owe all your success to your daddy. Or that you’re losing all your hair at age 30. Are you triggered or what?

        • robert

          I’m comfortable with who I am. Basic values, that’s all I require.

      • The Nihilist

        Just because you are tolerant of someone doesn’t mean you can’t protest them. You care so much about Crowder’s free speech (which wasn’t violated), what about the protesters’ free speech?

    • PeterTx52

      I guess you missed the part where it said that Crowder is provocative, he is as provocative as those on the left who use disparaging terms for those on the right.

      • opbook

        I’m going to guess that there is no shortage of those on the right complaining about the disparaging terms from those on the left either.

        I once heard Bill O’reilly say that the left was far worst than the right because he got a lot more hate mail from the left.

        Point is, I bet Hillery Clinton could say the right is far worst than the left because she gets a lot more hate mail from the right.

        It’s just a matter of perspective. And nobody likes having hate spewed their way. And it’s wrong no matter who is doing it.

        So, I guess your point was, if they can do it so can I. And on it goes . . .

        • me

          Bullshit. How many on the right have temper tantrums and threaten bodily harm and start riots to prevent lefties from speaking on campus? NONE.

          • opbook

            No, they just run over people with cars.

          • No one has been run over with a car on campus.

          • CamberwellCarrot

            You’re forgetting at least a couple of incidents of Muslims using vehicles to plow into students on university campuses.

          • My recollection is that the guy in Minnesota didn’t kill anyone with the car — he got out and finished them off with a knife.

            But then, there’s so much Muslim terrorism that I really just can’t keep up.

          • CamberwellCarrot

            That’s your best retort? I grant you a Mulligan. Try harder this time.

          • PeterTx52

            I’m assuming you are referring to the Charlottesville incident, well that didn’t take place on campus. are there any other such incidents?.. have you forgotten about the violence put forth by the left that day? have you forgotten about the antifa rioting at UCBerkeley?

          • opbook

            OK, let me respond to all the above.

            First if you get to equate Antifa with the left then I get to equate the KKK and all the other white racists with the right. And if you doubt for one minute that EVERYONE who considers themselves part of the “white supremacy” movement did not vote for Trump then you just need to jump back in the basket. ALL those on the right voted for Trump. That alone say’s TONS about the right.

            So, I think that negates Antifa as the driving force of the left. They are simply a fringe group like the 42 Klan groups across America are fringe groups on the right.
            https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2017-08-14/the-kkk-is-still-based-in-22-states-in-the-us-in-2017

            And Muslim terrorist are simply Muslim terrorist who hate ALL Americans and has nothing to do with any of this! Dumb ass.

            Now let’s tackle the campus protest. The fact is the right doesn’t do that much counter-protesting. And there is a reason for that. When the left organizes a protest, it most often has nothing directly to do with the right. Perhaps you can point to some that do. (For the record, gun control is not about the right). The left’s protest has to do with police brutality, inequality in government laws and regulations, and just general disenfranchisement from equal protection or equal treatment from the powers that be. Or, individual Politicians and there message or “Bills” that disenfranchises some minority group.

            So the right doesn’t really counter protest because it is not really about them. Of course you have those (Fox News Nuts) who take offense at everything that the left has to say about anything, and so they will cry and complain about how intolerant the left is.

            Now, when the right organizes a protest, it is almost always about the left. Perhaps you could share with us some protest organized by the right that wasn’t about bashing the LGBT community, or bashing the undocumented workers, or bashing the Black Lives Matters, or bashing how some have used their right to take a knee at a football game, or just generally bashing inclusiveness of all Americans . . .

            Are you getting the picture? When the right organizes a protest it is a protest specifically ABOUT the left.

            So the left response more often with a counter-protest because it is them specifically that the right is disparaging with their protests. So, do people take advantage of the protest on both sides? of course! And when the protest is about disenfranchising you specifically as an individual you are going to be more angry and frustrated and feeling like you are being bullied (which you are) so the likelihood of someone getting enraged and violent is more likely.

            So, the more derogatory and inflammatory your message is against particular individuals, and the more threatening your hate speech is to their lives or livelihood, the more likely you can expect (some) to respond with anger and violence.

            So you can give me all the Mulligans you want. You can whine and cry about how intolerant the left is all day long, but I’m done responding to the stupidity. If you don’t get it, it’s because you don’t want to, or you simply are incapable of “getting” it and you never will.

            And he drops the mic.

          • The Nihilist

            How many people has the left killed compared to righties? No matter where in the country it happens. The right kills people. The left only riot. The right are worse the the left.

          • The Nihilist

            Let’s see…there was Dylann Roof, Robert Deer, the Las Vegas shooter, the guy at the Unite the Right rally running people over, the guy at the same rally shooting a firearm into a crowd of people….Timothy McVeigh….how many people has the left killed?

    • Kyle Reese

      It seems that hate and vitriol just boil down to entertainment. As evidenced by the statement that the College Republicans put out. “Mr. Crowder is in line with most conservative/libertarian ideology and has an audience and a platform that allows us the opportunity to bring in a vast audience (particularly a large number of young people) and share conservative belief and thought in an entertaining format.” I guess the first question is why is conservative ideology based on hate? And why is it so entertaining for you to hear slurs and epithets? If you want to hear some people use epithets comedicaly, here – Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle.

      • Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle have both publicly refused to play colleges, because of the liberal intolerance.

        Crowder is the only comedian that will perform at a college anymore.

  • Robert Olschlager

    More intolreance from the “tolerant” LGBT community. I don’t suppose they even listened to what Crowder had to say (While excersising his protect right to free speech)?

    • InfantryGod

      Your spelling and grammar are sure signs of a uneducated trump supporter.

      • Your condescension is a sure sign of an asshole.

      • CamberwellCarrot

        Trump should be capitalised, pedant.

        • The Nihilist

          No it shouldn’t. There’s nothing proper about that family.

  • DubiousBrother

    I’m offended by the picture of the murdering communist on his shirt. According to the Che philosophy, anyone who disagrees with you should be murdered.

    • Josh O

      The full shirt is an insult to Che, not a supporter of Che.

  • PeterTx52

    “transgender is a delusion” but it is a delusion. the transgender suffer from gender dysphoria. no man can become a women, they only become feminized men, just a women who think they are men can’t become men they become masculinized women.

    • CamberwellCarrot

      À real male can’t stop taking his prescriptions in order to get pregnant, either. Self-delusion is not science.

    • The Nihilist

      Your comment was disproven a little over 40 years ago. Try again.

  • Doug’n Mary Stanley

    Yea, it’s called freedom of speech and so happy it’s still alive in this ever perpetually offended world.

  • Bryan Holt

    I love freedom of speech. Just cause someone is butthurt doesn’t mean they should be able to ruin it for everyone.

  • JamieT

    Steven Crowder mutually clowning with an equally tickled Wendy Davis unabashedly in full pussyhat at the first Women’s March in Austin, TX:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUDtoDAGVE8

    Joanna Pearce, OUTlaw president and associate managing editor of the SMU Law Review, in addition to revealing some obvious lacunae in an SMU legal education with respect to the spirit of the U. S. Constitution at the very least, also appears to be remarkably obtuse to her personal demonstration of a belief in some sort of gay privilege with respect to the First Amendment, a belief clearly held by her loyal band of persons as well.

    This belief in such a non-existent unilateral privilege is unfortunate and misguided and can only leach sympathy from neutral observers for any other, legitimate grievances she or her cause might have. Gently or less so, life beyond the magic kingdom of college will teach her the error of her ways quite soon enough.

  • Kyle Reese

    Well Alex, good on you for just reporting the facts. Since you don’t want to get in to flame-throwing, partisan bickering, I will. This guy is an idiot. And representative of what conservatism has become in this country. A backwards, regressive ideology best represented by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who apparently has nothing better to do than worry about where people pee. It’s one thing to argue that we don’t have the budget to insure the entire populace with the best healthcare, but quite another to disparage people who are just trying to live out their lives with all the right guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution. If you want to limit legal and illegal immigration, and you win the vote, fine. But building a wall and banning Muslims is idiotic and impractical and has zero grounding in fact. If you want a policy enacted, cite me a study and talk to me like an intelligent adult. All you people are pathetic. Read a book.

    • CamberwellCarrot

      Why is erecting a physical barrier as a measure to help alleviate the intractable problem of illegal immigration along the border with Mexico idiotic? Because it keeps out potential illegal voters for the DNC?

      Why would you not want to ban Muslims who present a threat to the safety of Americans? Islam is incompatible with democracy and with Western values. Most people are prepared to allow people’s sexuality to be their own affair, even if it goes against their own values. Allow Muslims to immigrate en masse, at which time they will outbreed the rest of the population until they have large enough numbers to impose their beliefs upon the nation. If you’re concerned about the rights and lives of anyone who’s not heterosexual and not Muslim, then you don’t want to encourage more Islam in your country. A Muslim majority means enslavement for non-Muslims, and death for anyone with a non-standard sexuality. I never understand how leftists embrace homosexuality, feminism, and Muslims, all in the same breath, while ignoring the fact that Islam would destroy everything the left holds dear.

      • Kyle Reese

        LOL dude.

      • The Nihilist

        IDK….boats, airplanes…LOL

  • Rob Burchfield

    I watched the show live on YouTube tonight and it was awesome! It’s well within anyone rights to protest. But it’s also right to let any speaker speak on any campus. Don’t shut down free speech.

  • Madlock

    Snowflakes inundate Texas

  • Christian Dodson

    I find it funny that they claim he disparages racial minorities. He’s never done that. Ever. He’s disparaged the welfare state and those who abuse it, as literally every conservative ever has ever done, along with the childish culture of many inner-city black youths, but to conflate those two demonstrates a certain kind of prejudice where the writer thinks that black people can only succeed on welfare.