Activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a professor of African American studies at Princeton University and author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, was scheduled to speak Wednesday evening at Town Hall.
But in a statement posted early Wednesday, she says she’s canceled the appearance due to death threats from people upset by critical comments she made about President Donald Trump. She’s also canceled a talk in San Diego. Since last Friday, Taylor writes, she has received more than 50 vicious, racist, hate-filled emails, some of them threatening murder. She now fears for her safety and her family’s safety. She believes these emails were in direct response to a Fox News article about a commencement speech she gave on May 20 at Hampshire College — a speech that Fox called “an anti-POTUS tirade.”
During the speech, she warned graduates of the world they were entering into, spoke of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions, and called Trump a “racist, sexist megalomaniac” who “has fulfilled the campaign promises of a campaign organized and built upon racism, corporatism, and miltarism.”
Since then, the online attacks have been relentless.
“I have been repeatedly called ‘nigger,’ ‘bitch,’ ‘cunt,’ ‘dyke,’ ‘she-male,’ and ‘coon’ — a clear reminder that racial violence is closely aligned with gender and sexual violence,” she writes. “I have been threatened with lynching and having the bullet from a .44 Magnum put in my head. I am not a newsworthy person. Fox did not run this story because it was ‘news,’ but to incite and unleash the mob-like mentality of its fringe audience.”
But although she canceled her talks this week, “I am releasing this statement to say that I will not be silent,” she writes. “We have to change this dynamic and begin to build a massive movement against racism, sexism, and bigotry in this country. I remain undaunted in my commitment to that project.”