Author Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor said she received death threats after Fox News ran a segment on a college-commencement speech in which she called President Donald Trump a “racist and sexist megalomaniac.”
A Princeton professor and author canceled her Town Hall Seattle talk this week after she said she received death threats related to a college-commencement speech in which she called President Donald Trump a “racist and sexist megalomaniac.”
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor was scheduled to speak Wednesday about her new book, “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation,” which looks at the development of the Black Lives Matter movement and its context in the present political landscape. Taylor is an assistant professor in Princeton’s African-American studies department but is on sabbatical for the year.
On Wednesday she said she was canceling lectures in Seattle and at the University of California, San Diego, out of fear for her and her family’s safety.
Taylor wrote in a statement posted on her publisher’s Facebook page that she has received more than 50 threatening emails, including some that referenced killing her. The messages, she wrote, stem from a Fox News story about her Hampshire College commencement speech last month, when she spoke about the need for activism and defiance in the Trump era.
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“A life of activism and struggle can be exhilarating, frustrating, challenging, but always interesting,” she said in her speech at the Massachusetts college. “Continue to read, keep questioning, listen more intently and learn from the experiences and mistakes of others. Another world is possible if we are willing to fight for it.”
A week later, Fox News posted a story about her speech with the headline “Princeton professor goes on anti-POTUS tirade.” Her speech was also covered by outlets such as Campus Reform and The Blaze.
The segment was aired on “Fox & Friends Weekend.” “Fox & Friends” executive producer Gavin Hadden released a statement Thursday in response to Taylor:
“We played Ms. Taylor’s comments as they were and did not editorialize her commencement address,” Hadden said. “We frequently cover commencement addresses around this time.”
Starting Monday, Taylor began receiving messages calling her racial and sexist slurs and making threats about shootings and lynchings.
The cancellation is a “concession to the violent intimidation” provoked by Fox News, Taylor said. But she decided to release a statement to say she wouldn’t be silenced.
“The true strength of our side has not yet been expressed in its size and breadth, and so they believe they are winning,” Taylor wrote. “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.”