An appearance at the University of Minnesota by YouTuber Lauren Southern – a conservative political commentator to her fans, an alt-right troll to critics – brought on a loud protest at the Twin Cities campus Wednesday night.
Southern spoke at at West Bank Auditorium in an event organized by the U's CFACT group, short for Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow.
Her presence prompted a counter demonstration by people concerned with her rhetoric (more on that below). Signs posted beforehand demanded "fascists off our campus," advertising a rally against "alt-right hate." One sign also labeled Southern a Nazi, above a poster that read "Punch a Nazi? Gopher it!"
All of which Southern seemed to take glee in, responding to the punch suggestion with a and later joking about "fat feminists" and "shrieking commies."
There's an hourlong live stream archived on Periscope, showing the crowd outside the event, kept back from the auditorium with guard rails. There's a lot of chanting, including "Any time, any place, punch a Nazi in the face" and "Cops and the Klan go hand in hand".
The livestream caught a few tense moments, including verbal arguments and some scuffling. University of Minnesota police were stationed outside the auditorium's entrance.
According to KSTP, one person was arrested, nobody was injured, and University of Minnesota police had to break up a few fights with a chemical irritant.
OK, who is Lauren Southern?
Southern is primarily a YouTube personality.
Canadian-born and now 22 years old, she started her channel in April of 2015 and now has nearly 375,000 subscribers. She frequently takes aim at feminism, SJWs, illegal immigrants – that kind of stuff.
She worked with the far-right Canadian media website Rebel Media for some of that time, though left to "go independent," she announced this past March.
She's also the author of a book titled Barbarians: How Baby Boomers, Immigrants, and Islam Screwed My Generation.
Some of her most high-profile incidents, as collected by conservative news watchdog site Media Matters:
- She tweeted out unverified rumors that Syrians were behind the Quebec mosque shooting (which was false).
- She described Black Lives Matter as a "divisive, violent movement that has fascistic tendencies," and inaccurately claimed the group has caused more deaths in the past three decades than the KKK.
- And she argued in a video rape is more of a problem for men than women.
After the U of M event, she took to Twitter to downplay her influence: