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Pamela Geller: Statement on Today’s Social Media Censorship Panel at CPAC

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Many people have been asking me what I think of the CPAC panel on social media censorship that is taking place today.

I submitted this panel proposal to CPAC, as a panel of my organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). The work my organization and I do is critical and singular. It addresses the most serious issue of our time. I organized this panel and gave it its focus, title, and speaker roster.

Now Terry Schilling of the American Principles Project (APP) says he is holding the panel anyway, without either me or Hoft, and that it was his panel to which he invited me. In reality, neither Schilling nor the APP nor anyone at CPAC had any hand in the conception or organization of this panel. CPAC’s claim that I was “invited” to this panel that I originated and that I then bowed out is a lie; their running with this panel that I conceived and organized without my authorization or consent is intellectual theft.

This is the height of irony: a panel on free speech from which not one, but two speakers have been banned. How can they claim to stand for free speech after dropping a speaker because of pressure from the authoritarian left? What value can a free speech panel have when two free speech leaders were banned from that panel? And if I am so toxic, having been shunned at CPAC for years, why are they stealing my work?

The panel is now bitterly ironic: social media censorship discussed at a heavily censored event. CPAC should be inviting us, not banning us. To bow to the left by dropping Jim Hoft because the left is targeting him only reinforces our weakness and shows why we are losing this great war.

Conservatives are noticing what is happening with CPAC, and they aren’t happy. A new hit piece on CPAC in Vanity Fair reveals that “there are currently only 31 groups sponsoring the convention this year, compared to 47 in 2017, and just 30 listed exhibitors, down from 44 grassroots activist groups the year before….CPAC had lost nearly a third of its attendees from a peak of roughly 12,000 in 2014.”

CPAC, like the social media giants, needs to be scrapped and replaced with a more open, honest, and genuinely inclusive entity.

We cannot accept the silencing of our colleagues. We can disagree, of course, and debate. But banning and shutting us down? No, that’s what the left does. That is not who we are.

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