In the latest Berkeley controversy over what speakers may talk about, the progressive radio station KPFA has canceled an Aug. 9 on-stage appearance by the scientist Richard Dawkins.
KPFA had invited the British scientist to discuss his newest book, Science in the Soul: Collected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist, which it termed “excellent.” But on Thursday the news organization canceled the event, citing concerns about the tone of some of Dawkins’ tweets about Muslims.
“We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people,” KPFA said in an email sent to ticket buyers. “KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier.”
Dawkins challenged KPFA’s interpretation of his tweets through a press release issued by the Center for Public Inquiry. In 2017, his Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science merged with the Center for Public Inquiry and Dawkins holds a board seat.
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