2016 Speaker SeriesDiana WestIndividual FreedomPress Releases

A Letter to our Patrons and Friends

Dear Friends of ICON Lecture Series,

The evening with Diana West occurred just over two weeks ago, and as an unexpected added aspect of the event it brought ICON face to face with the currently surging efforts to impose a chilling suppression of free dialogue through the imposition of politically correct speech and thought criteria.  We at ICON are very proud indeed to have been able to overcome those efforts and to defend a central and core value of American life, FREE SPEECH.  Please join with us in the satisfaction of knowing that in this instance free speech was vigorously and successfully defended.

The title of Ms. West’s Oct 18 talk was “Where Did “Politically Correct” Come from and What is it Doing?”.  It is a supreme irony that just three days prior to the talk, the lovely venue (Extraordinary Ventures) that ICON contracts to host events received a letter urging EV to cancel not just the contract for the West event but also the contract for all future events to be held by ICON.  The signatories included eight radical organizations and thirteen individuals. The bases of their demands included false claims of racist and Islamophobic points of view and “hate speech” on the part of Diana West and ICON.

EV is a private business with the important and worthy goals of providing employment opportunities for disabled young adults. The signatories were thereby injecting their demands into the financial program of a private enterprise, threatening the career and support of the speaker, and attempting to prevent a 501©3 educational organization from hosting valued in-depth discussions on issues of national importance.  They were, in short, asserting politically correct criteria on what and who may be heard and thought.

After conferencing with Extraordinary Ventures, the ICON Board, and the Chapel Hill Police Department, EV elected to honor the contract and courageously supported the ICON plans.  This was occurring shortly after the fire-bombing of the Hillsborough Republican office, and ensuring the safety of our guests is always the first concern with ICON. Accordingly, very adequate numbers of uniformed law enforcement officers were present, all ICON contacts were informed that there would be a law enforcement presence to ensure a peaceable event, and the protestors were unable to disturb the evening.

We hope you will join us in the honor of having had the opportunity to exercise and assert our American rights and to reject these forces of suppression.  Added expenses were incurred, so please do know how deeply grateful ICON is to all donors .  Should you wish to make a contribution, please go to the ICON Lecture Series website and click onto the “Tickets” star.  Donations can be indicated on the Season Ticket form.  We can always be contacted by email atinfo@iconlectureseries.com.

Warmest best wishes,

Laura Gutman for Janie Wagstaff and The ICON Board