A picture may be worth a thousand words, but is it worth $800,000?
Officials at the University of California, Berkeley, said the brief appearance of right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos on campus Sunday cost the school $800,000 to ensure his safety.
Yiannopoulos appeared at the steps of the iconic Sproul Hall – the birthplace of the 1960's Free Speech movement – after his highly anticipated Free Speech Week was abruptly canceled.
The open-air event lasted less than an hour. Yiannopoulos spent the time taking pictures with fans, signing his new book and took part in the national anthem.
Attendees -- including Yiannopoulos -- had to pass through metal detectors.
Dan Mogulof, a campus spokesman, dubbed the event “the most expensive photo-op in the university’s history,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Police arrested at least 11, including four dressed in an all-black outfits commonly worn by the violent Antifa group, The Mercury News reported. One man who sported a “Make America Great Again” message was also detained.
This is the second time recently that the school had to spend six figures to ensure the safety of a conservative. Ben Shapiro appeared on campus two weeks ago and the school said it spent $600,000 at that event.
Shapiro at that time blamed the city’s radical Antifa agitators who were the reason UC Berkeley had to spend such money on safety. “Free speech isn't free. It costs over $600,000 thanks to Antifa,” he tweeted.
The Sunday protest was organized in response to the cancellation of the Free Speech Week, where both organizers and the university blamed each other for lack of commitment to ensure its happening.
The former Breitbart editor claims he was forced into canceling the event, which was supposed to include speakers such as former White House adviser Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter, due to the university’s unreasonable requests and lack of support.
At a press conference on Saturday, Yiannopoulos accused the university of using bureaucratic tricks to derail the event, adding that UC Berkeley “had done everything in its power to crush” the Free Speech Week.
UC Berkeley, meanwhile, said Yiannopoulos and the student group that organized the event did not meet multiple deadlines to ensure that the event took place. Berkeley also dismissed the accusations that the institution tried to block the event, noting that they were prepared to spend vast amounts of money to ensure the safety of participants.
Yiannopoulos told Berkeleyside, a local publication, that he plans to return to campus every year if he finds that necessary. He added that he hopes to reschedule speeches by Bannon and Coulter.