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Cancel culture strikes again
Palm Beach Atlantic University has reportedly disinvited Seth Dillon, university alumnus and CEO of the Babylon Bee — a Christian satire website — from speaking at the Christian school's chapel because of its "sacredness."
The announcement came on the heels of social media outrage against Dillon and his views on Black Lives Matter and traditional Christian sexuality.
The school now reportedly would prefer Dillon to speak instead at the university's library.
What are the details?
Dillon, who spoke to Campus Reform for an interview published on Saturday, revealed that the school recanted its invitation for him to speak at the school's chapel.
He told the outlet that the school insisted upon switching the venue of Dillon's speech after students flooded the school with emails — as well as social media remarks — over his stance against Black Lives Matter and on traditional Christian sexuality.
Dillon, who, according to the outlet, has branded Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization, tweeted about a cancel attempt in the works even before the school announced its disinvitation to speak in the university's chapel.
He wrote, "Cancel culture has come for me. I'm just too dangerous and divisive to be permitted to speak on the campus of my alma mater. Since when do you have to support terrorist organizations that use violence and intimidation to advance their agenda to be welcome on a Christian campus?"
On Twitter, one Palm Beach Atlantic University student said that Dillon's thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement should be "enough to not welcome @SethDillon to our campus. Not to mention that every LGBTQ student has been disrespected and degraded by his content."
The outlet reported, "After the social media uproar began, PBA Director of Alumni Relations Steve Eshelman emailed Dillon, asking to eliminate the previously scheduled five minutes of freestyle speaking at the beginning of the event."
It only got worse from there.
"A few hours later, Dillon posted on Twitter that he was officially disinvited from speaking at the chapel," the outlet reported. "He told Campus Reform that he was scheduled to speak on the morning of September 30, yet was notified on the afternoon of September 29 that he would no longer be speaking in the chapel. Instead, the university asked him to speak in the school's library."
A 'sacred space'
The outlet reported that in an email forwarded to Dillon by PBA faculty member Laura Bishop — the school's executive vice president for advancement — said that the campus chapel was, indeed, a "sacred space."
"We anticipated that an honest conversation like this could become passionate, and that emotions may run high," Bishop said in the communication. "We did not want to compromise the sacredness of a chapel gathering, and, after heated exchanges on social media, it was decided that the Lassiter Rotunda of the Warren Library would be a more suitable venue for Mr. Dillon."
Dillon told Campus Reform that his remarks during the appearance were meant to be "lighthearted," and said that a list of questions "focused on his experience as an alumnus and a Christian media entrepreneur."
He told the outlet in a statement, "The assumption that I would bring a Twitter discussion into chapel and stray from the subject matter I agreed to discuss was pretty uncharitable. It seemed to me that it was an excuse ... what they wanted to do was cancel me without canceling me and appease everyone involved."
"Bishop would not explicitly tell me what I'd said or done that made my presence in the chapel suddenly inappropriate," he added. "I told her that if I'm not welcome in their chapel, then I don't feel welcome on their campus."
He also said he declined to move the talk to the school's library.
School should 'stand against cancel culture'
He said that Bishop and PBA President Debra Schwinn met with him and issued an apology for the move. Dillon added that the school does, indeed, have an interest in seeking opportunities to "eventually have him back in the chapel."
Dillon said he is not sure that he would make a future appearance at the school, adding that he would like the institution to "take a strong, public stand against cancel culture."
Dillon, who recently donated $300,000 in seed funding to launch a brand-new master's program at the university, added that in order for him to continue such donations, the university would have to "boldly and openly engage in the battle against cancel culture and take a clear stand against it."
"[The school would have to] back up people like me to the mob instead of doing exactly what the mob wanted them to do," he added. "[T]hen I wouldn't have any qualms about donating to them in the future."
He added, "Cancel culture is a destructive disease, and Palm Beach Atlantic University is not immune to it. We need more backbone and less coddling in our Christian institutions. And we need it yesterday."
The outlet concluded, "Campus Reform made contact with Palm Beach Atlantic University and is still awaiting comment; this article will be updated accordingly."
This story's headline has updated for clarity. The school did not cite Dillon's stance on BLM or sexuality in its reason for disinviting him to speak at chapel. Dillon's positions on those matters were brought up by those seeking to cancel his appearance in chapel.
Story edited for clarity.
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