Two controversial Canadian speakers say they suffered “a financial blow” after the Auckland venue they were due to speak at pulled the plug on their event amid protests and bomb threats.
Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, who are known for holding far-right views on immigration, feminism and Islam, were initially due to speak at the Bruce Mason Centre on Auckland‘s North Shore this month.
However, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff seemingly banned the pair and said they were not welcome to use city-owned venues, .
Auckland Live later said the Bruce Mason Centre event was cancelled due to “security concerns around the health and safety of the presenters, staff and patrons”.
But the show went on and the provocateurs said they were to speak at the privately owned Powerstation venue on August 3.
Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern‘s New Zealand trip was cut short. Photo / facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
Then by the Powerstation‘s owner, with Molyneux and Southern saying it was due to fear or threats of violence, while a bomb threat was also made on Twitter.
Today, Molyneux sent an email to those who bought tickets to the event and asked if they would consider donating their ticket payment to the pair.
“It is certainly a financial blow to have a venue cancel on us, especially after flight costs, bringing over a specialised security team, paying immigration lawyers, renting accommodations for everyone, shipping out the merchandise, paying for meals and so on,” he said.
“If you would like to donate the cost of your ticket to covering the expenses incurred, Lauren and I would certainly appreciate that,” Molyneux continued.
“If you think that we provided enough value by engaging with a hostile media, battling visa barriers, and for me at least, recording and publishing the speech I was going to give, your generous support is most gratefully and humbly appreciated and accepted.”
The YouTuber said the pair would refund the cost of the ticket for those who did not want to donate their cash.
Molyneux also said those that had incurred costs by travelling to see the event now had “financial battle scars in the war for free speech that we all bear, and nobly so”.
One does not simply walk into a venue in New Zealand…
— Lauren Southern ()
The cancellation of the event, however, was “absolutely tragic and heartbreaking”, the 51-year-old said.
“We did have a paid agreement with the venue owner, who knew who we were, and claimed to support free speech.
“Tragically, the day of the event, he yanked the plug on us without warning, threatening our people with arrest if they did not leave the premises immediately.
“Some people have asked – why did we not have other options? It was not for want of trying. We had ed a number of other venues as backups, but I imagine largely due to the hysteria about us spewed out by the mainstream media – well let us just say the welcome mat was not exactly rolled out for our event.
“Both Lauren and I were devastated.”
Stefan Molyneux‘s letter to fans today was accompanied by this image. Image / Stefan Molyneux facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
Molyneux said his supporters ed the pair to say “the views of the various politicians and mainstream media did not represent the views of millions of alert and awake Kiwis across the nation”.
“I do make it a point to never confuse the media and the leaders with the people as a whole, and New Zealand is no exception. Your leaders and media may be hysterical, but you are wonderful.”
Media coverage of the short trip ranged from the “informative to the hilarious”, he added.