Steve Bannon will no longer be speaking at UM, the latest and third event to be canceled following the announcement he would be a keynote speaker at a joint conference on sex robots this month.
An email sent to people registered for the event, the Athenian Parrhesia Free Speech Forum, stated, “Postponement: Due to the unavailability of Mr. Stephen Bannon this event is postponed until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
The email states it was sent by event organizer Adrian Cheok. Cheok is director of Imagineering Institute based in Malaysia.
Cheok originally planned to hold two conferences, the Advancement of Computer Entertainment and the Congress on Love and Sex with Robots, Dec. 10 through Dec. 14.
Following pushback from both organizations following the announcement of a controversial political figure as a keynote speaker, both events were canceled and replaced with a proposed debate. Cheok invited any UM professor to debate Bannon on the topic of “the future of populism.”
Cheok contacted former UM French professor Michel Valentin, who took up the offer to debate Bannon. Before the cancelation, Valentin told the Kaimin, “It is the responsibility of the University to take on differences that can become dangerous.”
When asked what he would say to Bannon if no one showed up to the debate, Valentin said he would sweep his hand across the room and say, “Steve, here’s the answer.”
Valentin confirmed to the Kaimin Tuesday morning that he received an email stating the event had been canceled.
UM spokesperson Paula Short said University event services also received an email overnight withdrawing the reservation for the debate. Short said event services had not yet received any payment for the reservation.
This story will be updated. Last update: 10:54 a.m.