After death threats, feminist speaker has to cancel talk because of Utah’s concealed carry laws
Feminist video critic Anita Sarkeesian canceled an appearance at Utah State University after being informed that campus police couldn’t prevent concealed firearms from being brought into the venue.
The university said in a statement that Sarkeesian planned to speak at the school despite email threats of a “Montreal Massacre style attack” until campus police told her that state law allowed anyone with a concealed firearm permit to bring their weapon to the event.
Sarkeesian confirmed the cancellation on Twitter on Tuesday night:
Forced to cancel my talk at USU after receiving death threats because police wouldn't take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 15, 2014
The Ogden Standard Examiner reported earlier in the day that university staff members received an email from someone claiming to be a student, and threatening both the school and students if Sarkeesian was allowed to appear.
“I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” the message read. “This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it.”
The message also said that efforts to increase security would be futile.
“Even if they’re able to stop me, there are plenty of feminists on campus who won’t be able to defend themselves,” the note read. “One way or another, I’m going to make sure they die.”
The line concerning the “Montreal Massacre” is a reference to a December 1989 mass shooting by 25-year-old Marc Lépine, who killed 14 women and injured 10 others, as well as four other men, before shooting and killing himself at the École Polytechnique. Lépine, who had been denied admission to the school, reportedly yelled, “You’re all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!” during the attack.
University officials said at that point that the threats were “consistent” with similar messages sent to venues where Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak. Sarkeesian has been targeted for harassment and intimidation for more than a year. This past August, she and her family were forced to leave their home following an especially gruesome series of threats against them.