Update: this article has been edited to include comments provided by the Vancouver Police Department and the Chan Centre for the Preforming Arts
The Hellenic Community of Vancouver (HCV) has been threatened and intimidated by far-left activists after being booked as a venue by the University of British Columbia Free Speech Club.
The venue, which also includes the St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church, has said that it has been at the receiving end of an online harassment campaign for simply booking their space to the club.
“The attacks against our community are unwarranted, offending and despicable,” said Hellenic Community President, Demetri Zambus.
Change in venue after high security costs from UBC
The Free Speech Club has rented the space for an appearance featuring self-described libertarian Youtuber Stefan Molyneux and documentary film-maker and political commentator Lauren Southern. The event is set to take place on Friday, March 15th at 7:00 PM.
Originally, the club intended on hosting the event on the UBC campus at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts but had to change venues after the venue’s security costs became unmanageable.
The Chan Centre has hosted prior events by The Free Speech Club, including an event featuring Dr. Jordan Peterson on November 3rd, 2017 and one featuring Ben Shapiro on October 31st, 2018.
The Chan Centre confirmed for the Post Millennial that security costs were the reason behind the Free Speech Club’s venue change.
Since the change in venue was announced, far-left activists have launched a harassment campaign via email, social media and phone, targeting the Hellenic Community of Vancouver for simply renting their space to the group.
“If any group officially deemed a hate group decided to rent from us, we’d deny them. These people are being attacked by their political opponents, but no one has the right to attack us (the Hellenic Community of Vancouver) and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” said Zambus.
Far-left groups launch targeted harassment campaign against the Hellenic Community
Antifa groups, like the Revolutionary Communists – Vancouver and the Revolutionary Student Movement – Vancouver have “doxxed”, or published the private information of the community online for a targeted harassment campaign.
The harassment included leaving negative reviews on the ethnic and religious community’s Facebook page, and getting members to flood the group with aggressive comments.
“We aren’t fooled by their [the HCV’s] crocodile tears and neither are the masses… Remember, voicing your disdain for the Hellenic Centre hosting fascists via phone or email is not “bullying” but a justified response,” claimed the Revolutionary Communists of Vancouver’s Facebook group.
However, the Hellenic Community maintains that it has hosted events across the political spectrum in the past.
“Historically, we have hosted Greens, Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Libertarians, Trotskyites, everyone. We are politically agnostic,” said Demetri Zambus.
Among the tactics used by the Revolutionary Student Movement – Vancouver has been plastering posters throughout the local community with the address and information of the Hellenic Community calling for the event to be shut down and for the two speakers to be deplatformed.
Police have gotten involved over threats of violence
According to Free Speech Club Director Angelo Isidorou, he has been targeted with death threats and harassment since he announced the new venue and the event. Since receiving the threats, the police have gotten involved in ensuring that the event proceeds safely.
“What helps is slapping the shite out of them… We didn’t debate the Nazis. We shot them. That’s how this game works,” said a Facebook user, Gregory Robertson on the HCV’s review page.
“This community has been receiving a lot of harassment of bullying from these radical groups, but the police has been incredibly helpful and will set a tone on the night of the event,” said Isidorou.
“Most of my family was killed in the Greco-Armenian Genocide, and went on, alike all Greeks, to struggle through the oppression of Nazism and Communism. Authoritarian evil is no stranger to our community. We have encountered it before, and we come out more emboldened in the end.”
Local police forces are expected to be at the event and the protest organized by opponents to the event.
“The VPD are involved and anyone causing grief to any of our members will be subject to the laws of this land,” claimed HCV President Zambus.
According to VPD media spokesperson Sgt. Jason Robillard, the police will have a presence at the event and will be monitoring the situation.
“Our officers will be on-site and will work with the attendees to encourage peaceful behavior,” said Sgt. Robillard. “We will have a visible presence and will be focused on keeping the peace, and providing a safe environment for all attending the event.
“We deal with hundreds of rallies, public events, and protests a year, where we carefully weigh the needs of our citizen’s rights for free speech with the need for public safety. While there may be tensions at this event we trust that people will maintain the peace.”
“Politically incorrect” views of the speakers
Both Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern have achieved celebrity status on the web for their views on various issues.
Many commentators in the mainstream media and on the left have described their views on topics such as immigration, ethnicity and feminism as “alt-right”. One opinion piece penned by Farid Laroussi in the UBC student paper “The Ubyssey” condemned the event as “hate speech”.
Southern, a British Columbia local and activist has become a successful documentary filmmaker in her own right and has been traveling across the world working on “BORDERLESS“, a documentary film intent on raising awareness on Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis. For her efforts, Southern has also been invited to speak in front of the European Union Parliament on the issue.
Molyneux, who regularly vlogs on his Youtube channel about a myriad of topics has courted controversy over his views on IQ differences between races, single motherhood and sex differences between men and women.
Currently, Molyneux’s Youtube channel is shy of nearly one million subscribers.
Speaker and hosts reply to harassment
In a statement provided to The Post Millennial, Stefan Molyneux claimed that an article published about the event in The Ubyssey, which has since been removed without explanation, was “full of hysteria and misinformation”.
The article was written by UBC Students Against Bigotry which is joining other far-left groups in a march and a protest against the Hellenic Community.
“The fact that they do not link to any of my speeches or books directly is highly irresponsible, and a clear sign of bad intent. Calling an individual such vicious names without checking thoroughly is a terrible breach of moral and intellectual responsibility,” said Molyneux. “It provokes hysteria and, frankly, can increase the risk of physical danger to me and those who want to come and hear my arguments and evidence.”
According to The Free Speech Club, the group is open to ideological diversity and has hosted speakers with opposing political views before.
“We’ve hosted countless left leaning events in the past, such as “Questioning Free Speech” where Liberal professors lectured us on why free speech doesn’t exist,” said Isidorou.
“Another prominent example is hosting self proclaimed Socialist and Transgender pundit, Contrapoints. In our event with her, we raised money for the Trevor Project, which helps suicidal LGBTQ teens.”
As of the time of writing, the event is set to continue successfully despite the protests being organized by left-wing activists.