Friday, March 10, 2017

Is It Legal To Protest Eric Clapton?

Sort of a follow up to yesterday's post.

What if I was George-Soros-rich and thoroughly hated Eric Clapton? If I bought front-row concert tickets for a bunch of crazy ANTIFA protesters and told them to rush the stage like they do when Professor Murray and Milo or Ben Shapiro try to give talks, what would happen?

Is it illegal to purposefully disrupt a concert? Does it matter if the attendees paid or not? Is it strictly the jurisdiction of the venue to make sure this doesn't happen? How far can the venue go in enforcing its rules?

Is this like the legal issues involving bouncers at clubs?
Generally speaking, bouncers can only use force if it is first used against them. These are the same rights as any ordinary citizen (i.e. the right to self-defense). On the other hand, bouncers are legally allowed to perform such tasks as:
  • Issue verbal warnings
  • Ask you to leave
  • Check for ID
  • Refuse entry if the patron is too intoxicated, fails to comply with establishment policies, or engages in aggressive behavior
  • Call the police
  • Protect innocent bystanders from violence
  • Break up fights that are not involved in
  • Respond with equal force if necessary
Bouncers cannot initiate physical conflict, but they can respond to it. If my valiant Social Justice Warriors protesting that fascist Clapton never did more than chant and wave signs, it doesn't seem like the security team could do more than call the cops. Pondering that, wouldn't chanting and waving signs be breach of the peace or disorderly conduct? That still doesn't allow the security guards to give my ANTIFA goons a whuppin, but it would allow the cops to clear them out and bring them down to the station.

Back to the real examples, if ANTIFA maniacs stop someone from speaking and the cops do not enforce the laws regarding keeping the peace, can the police department be charged with civil rights violations as they conspired to deprive the speaker and audience of their right to freedom of speech?


Eric Clapton, positively dripping with white, male, cis-gendered privilege. Doesn't he enrage you?


tim eisele said...

I don't know if a rock concert is the best example for the point you're trying to make. Doesn't the audience generally scream so loud you can't hear the performers in any case? Not to mention periodically wave sign-like objects and occasionally rush the stage? And that's the *fans*. I'm not sure protesters would even be really noticeable under those conditions.

K T Cat said...

So you side with the fascists, then. Well, don't worry. My Northern Michigan Branch of ANTIFA is on the way. Just try photographing your insects while college students scream at you.

When that happens, can your security detail intervene? If the cops don't stop them, can you bring action against the police department?

Kelly the little black dog said...

You clearly don't have any experience with crowd control at concerts. They can and do initialize contact.

I agree with Tim that a concert is a bad example. if you look at the back of your ticket, the fine print that requires a microscope to read says that you agree to all sorts of stipulations. Perhaps you could fight that in court, but do you have deep enough pockets to do so. They can pretty much eject you for just about anything if they decide to. Typically they error on the side of no doing so because its bad for business.

You do bring up a good thought experiment. Who's 1st amendment rights trump in the case of two parties screaming at each other. Its complicated by the fact that the 1st amendment only protects speech from government restriction of speech. Private entities are not so restricted. But if its is a talk at a public university only lawyers know where that line is to dance upon.

A better question is should universities protect unpopular speech. The answer to that, based on their stated mission is yes. But they've become so adverse to any controversy they seem to choose the cowards way out.

K T Cat said...

It's not about unpopular speech, it's about the right to disrupt a meeting, a talk, what-have-you. This isn't two sides yelling at each other, this is a hosted lecture. How is that different from Clapton? What gives the venue the right to restrict your behavior? If it's part of the contract you enter into when you buy the ticket, then couldn't the universities do the same thing and at least try to prevent the thugs from wrecking the event?

If the university can reasonably expect these kind of disruptions and fails to take what seems to be a relatively simple step like using concert language on their tickets, could they be dragged into court for conspiracy to deprive freedom of speech? You might not win, but you might be able to hassle the universities into muzzling the goons.