An anonymous group calling itself "Humans Against Hate" is demanding that conservative professor Jordan Peterson's speech in Portland next month be canceled. The group sent out an email today warning that unless Peterson is dis-invited, it will disrupt other events held by public agencies that own the venue.
Peterson is scheduled to stop at Keller Auditorium on June 25 for a talk on his new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
Humans Against Hate wants that event cancelled.
"We will not stand for bigots coming to our city to exacerbate the growing problem of hate nationwide," the group wrote in an open letter today to Portland's5 Centers for the Arts, Metro, the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission and the City of Portland—the groups responsible for running the Keller Auditorium.
Portland5's executive director Robyn Williams says she is aware of the "controversy regarding this upcoming event at the Keller Auditorium," but that "Portland'5 Centers for the Arts may not legally refuse to rent our theatres to a group due to the content of a performance."
It's unclear how large the "Humans Against Hate" group actually is, and whether it will be able to marshal a large demonstration. But the warning echoes other conflicts between left-wing and right-wing groups—including an anonymous threat to shut down an East Portland neighborhood parade in the spring of 2017.
Humans Against Hate laid out a number of reasons why Peterson should not get a platform to air his ideas in Portland.
"Peterson is nothing more than a smooth-talking snake oil salesman," it added, "who uses academic jargon and superficial references to antiquated times and fairy tales to create a facade of intelligence."
Peterson is a University of Toronto psychology professor and published author who rose to internet fame for his controversial belief that gender is only binary and that gender fluidity leads to chaos.
"People who hold that our culture is an oppressive patriarchy, they don't want to admit that the current hierarchy might be predicated on competence" he told the New York Times in an incendiary recent profile. "The masculine spirit is under assault."
Humans Against Hate says that Peterson's speeches act as "dog-whistle calls"—emboldening violence among those who share his ideologies.
"The views Mr. Peterson holds and espouses, everything from blaming decreases in birth rates to women joining the workforce to calling for enforced monogamy as the solution to ending male violence and sexual assault," the group's open letter reads, "appeal to a very dangerous group of young, white, disillusioned men who have been on the rise."
Members of the group declined to identify themselves, but in an email to WW said, "we are an ad-hoc committee formed solely to protest this upcoming event. Some of us identify as queer, non-binary, asexual, femme, men, POC, etc. We are your neighbors, we are your co-workers, we are concerned citizens who feel that one does not need to be part of an organization or pre-existing group to speak up and oppose oppression wherever it rears its ugly head."
If Portland5 does not cancel the event, the group says it is prepared to organize protests and call-in campaigns, including disrupting the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Committee's June 6 meeting at the Oregon Convention Center.