Matt Walsh cancels university speech after Nashville shooting, cites threats

The event was to take place March 30 and generated considerable outcry within the University community.

Published: March 29, 2023 4:26pm

Updated: March 29, 2023 10:17pm

Daily Wire personality Matt Walsh has cancelled a planned speech at Washington and Lee University, citing threats against his family that have come in the immediate aftermath of a Nashville mass shooting in which a transgender individual killed three students and three faculty members at a Christian school.

Walsh is leading figure among those critical of the transgender movement, receiving at least one "Transphobe of the Year" award in 2022. The event was to take place March 30 and generated considerable outcry within the University community.

"Sadly I have to postpone my speech at Washington and Lee University," he announced Wednesday. "Due to threats against my family and other serious security concerns in Nashville this week, I cannot leave my family and fly to another state. I hate to push the event off but my wife and kids come first."

Walsh clarified that his cancellation was the result of security concerns at home in Tennessee and not the direct result of any risks associated with visiting the Virginia school. The WLU Spectator, a student-run independent newspaper, and the College Republicans had sponsored his appearance.

"In case it wasn't clear, this has nothing to do with Washington and Lee University. The event was coming together well and everything was perfectly fine," he continued. "May have been some protests planned but nothing major. The potential danger is at home, which is why I need to be at home."

The Spectator, however, reported hostile acts against their promotional materials, saying that more than 100 flyers advertising the event had been removed in the leadup and that faculty had actively worked to organize opposition to his speech.

More than 600 students, faculty, and alumni had called on the school to bar him from speaking, though no school administrators endorsed that petition and the school intended to allow him to speak.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Creating Writing Brenna Womer was among the earliest faculty supporting a ban of Walsh's speech, the Spectator noted

"Matt Walsh is an extremely dangerous person who represents a very real threat of physical violence against trans and nonbinary people specifically, but also to all women, queer people, and people of color," she said. "I hope to see your names on this petition because the students need to see their professors and staff across departments and facilities vocalizing our support of them as members and allies of the vulnerable communities on campus."

The Spectator issued a statement on the cancellation, saying "[t]he new date for Walsh’s speech has not yet been determined. The Spectator continues to work with College Republicans, the W&L Administration, Young America’s Foundation, and the Daily Wire moving forward."

Disclosure: This reporter is an alumnus of Washington and Lee University and former publisher of the Spectator.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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