On Wednesday, Ben Shapiro appeared on the campus of the University of Utah, where he pushed back against claims made by the Salt Lake Tribune that he is not only racist and transphobic, but also prone to encouraging violence. Shapiro, who edits The Daily Wire, told the cheering crowd of about 400 spectators at a university lecture hall, “That is ideological fascism at work under the guise of a smiling, happy face,” and added, “If you can name one person, one in America, who has been physically harmed by my speech, I dare you to find them and show them to me.” 

While Shapiro -- who is Jewish and an outspoken defender of Israel and conservative causes -- has faced violent protests in the past in California, for example, his appearance in Utah was relatively peaceful by comparison. However, it might have been otherwise if Antifa protesters had carried out some of the preparations they had on hand.

Steven Crowder and Ben Shapiro

YouTube host and comedian Steven Crowder, who often satirizes Antifa and other leftists, had infiltrated the local Antifa (a.k.a. Antifascist) group and captured video of Antifa members making plans and delivering weapons.

In the clip, Jared -- Crowder’s producer -- is seen putting on a disguise in order to resemble local students, while also concealing video and audio recording devices on himself. Jared then met with Antifa member who then installed an app on his cellphone so that they could use encryption in order to communicate. In the clip, one of the organizers described that the Antifa members who were to protest Shapiro’s campus speech were to dress in “plain clothes” but use “hard tactics.”

In another meeting, a member of the group talked about the guns he had stored in the trunk of his car. He described them as a sawed-off shotgun and a rifle. Another organizer admitted to having a handgun. When one of the Antifa member gave Jared what appeared to be a lock-blade knife as a weapon, he used an excuse to leave the group and immediately took it to local police who were already monitoring the meeting. The police appeared interested and had been keeping tabs on one of the Antifa organizers.

However, when Crowder offered his video to members of local and national media on hand, he had no takers. Both local and national media were given the opportunity to view the video, and offered a copy. According to Crowder, none requested the footage. Among the media personalities on hand was ABC News correspondent Dan Harris, who is an anchor for Nightline news. Crowder did show the footage to Shapiro.

Crowder’s video also linked several faculty members from several universities who have either given encouragement to Antifa or participated in their activities. He offered audio evidence of the advocacy of violence. The voice of the pseudonymous “Clark” is heard to say, “The difference between them and other activists groups is the willingness to respond with violence.” Clark identified Antifa as “not a static organization” but “definitely an ideology, a movement, a stance, if you will, of antifascism.”

On the video, Een Daxter is heard to say that his group has invited Antifa members clad head-to-toe in black to come to rallies because “in the past, we have been threatened by Three Percenters, we’ve been threatened by neo-Nazis…” Having the so-called “black-bloc” gangs of Antifa protesters, he said, provides “safety.”

Crowder said that Antifa did not call Shapiro controversial, “They called him a Nazi. They are not there to protest, they are there to punch Nazis.” He went on to say that Antifa commits violence against those filming them, and “openly plans violence, they plan to escalate it.” Crowder also said that the video they recorded led to the arrest of an Antifa activist, whose face and first name he revealed.

In conclusion, Crowder said, “Antifa is violent; they suck, we get it. The fact that the media hasn’t reported on any of it begs the question: are they complicit? Is the media complicit with all of this? Or do they just suck at their jobs?”

 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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