Media Release: Peter Singer's de-platforming is a worrying sign for New Zealand's intellectual freedom

19 February 2020


Responding to the cancellation of Australian academic Peter Singer's talk by Sky City, Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Patrick Corish says:

“SkyCity has every right to cancel a speaking event, but they do open themselves up to criticism of being fearful of a little controversy.”

“The larger free speech concern here revolves around how Mr Singer will find another venue, considering Auckland Council has a near-monopoly on suitable alternatives. The Council has proven that it is easily spooked by threats of protest, and already politicians are calling on the Council to ban Professor Singer as it did to controversial Canadian speakers.”

“When Auckland Council cancelled Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, the speakers had to find a private venue at the last minute. Options were limited and as a result their arrangements fell through.”

“More broadly, it’s disturbing that controversial speakers are increasingly being de-platformed, instead of simply protested.”

“These sort of topics are discussed routinely in a 100 level philosophy class.”

“Many New Zealanders who mightn’t agree with Mr Singer’s views may still be interested in hearing what he has to say. It’s a shame SkyCity doesn’t seem to value that kind of intellectual curiosity.”

“Mr Singer’s speaking plans have already sparked some healthy debate over his views. It only seems to be a small minority of critics who want to go so far as silencing him. We shouldn’t let them speak for all of us.”