Conservative student attacked for wearing YAF hat to vigil
A conservative Ithaca College student claims that “Antifa” members assaulted him during a vigil honoring Heather Heyer, simply because he wore a Young America’s Foundation hat.
Caleb Slater, president of the Ithaca College Republicans chapter, told Campus Reform that he wore the hat to the vigil in nearby Syracuse, New York—held in memory of the young woman murdered in Charlottesville by a white supremacist—in order to show that conservatives also oppose the racism and violence of the alt-right.
"We can’t even come together in peace without someone being offended...and using that as an excuse to attack."
But about an hour into the vigil, one attendee noticed his hat and proceeded to give him the middle finger, with another apparently asking him why he had “that f***ing hat on.”
According to Slater, Antifa protesters eventually threw his hat to the ground while they grabbed him by his camera strap, which choked him as he fell to the ground.
Video footage of the incident obtained by YAF corroborates Slater’s account of the events, showing multiple Antifa members shoving their hands into his camera lens and forcing him to the ground.
“You’re not welcome here, get out! You’re not welcome here, get out!” one protester can be heard shouting repeatedly as spectators cheered her on.
Slater also alleges that while he was being harassed, other Antifa members began shouting “No Trump, no KKK, Nazi go away” at him—even though he is a first generation Dominican American.
“This isn’t about me. We can’t even come together in peace without someone being offended by something and using that as an excuse to attack,” Slater told Campus Reform, noting that his assailants used a “form of non-violence to justify violence.”
“This is not an isolated event; it’s a trend, and another hole in the boat of a sinking ship. I support free speech even when I disagree with what people saying,” he continued, adding that “with Antifa and the alt-right it’s not a free-speech issue when they put their hands on you.”
YAF has since condemned the incident in a statement, saying the incident “highlights the true intolerance of the left today” by revealing that “when a conservative goes out of their way to find common ground with their ideological rivals, leftists lash out merely due to a conservative logo and slogan on a ball cap.”
Slater did note, however, that the liberal protesters were not uniformly hostile, telling YAF that the leaders of the Syracuse Black Lives Matter group, which organized the vigil, actually met with him to apologize “for the unlawful behavior of this extremist group,” though he added that they also chastised him for “wearing apparel from an organization that many ‘interpret to be radical.’”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @matt_noyes_