Conservative columnist George Will said in an interview published on Monday he suspects his recent column downplaying the problem of campus sexual assault cost him a planned speaking engagement at a women’s college.
Will had been invited to speak at Scripps College, a women’s college in Claremont, Calif., as part of an annual public affairs program, according to the Claremont Independent, an outlet that describes itself as “an independent journal of campus affairs and political thought serving the colleges of the Claremont Consortium.”
It’s unclear when Will was scheduled to speak, but conservative headliners Peggy Noonan and Charles Krauthammer appeared at the school as part of the program in February.
On Monday, the Independent quoted Will saying his speech had been canceled.
“It was in the works and then it wasn’t in the works,” he told the student paper.
Back in June, Will wrote a column that attempted to debunk sexual assault statistics and argued that campus initiatives to address the issue had made “victimhood a coveted status.”
“They didn’t say that the column was the reason, but it was the reason,” Will said, according to the Independent.
He also said someone on the school’s speaker selection committee — who was a member of the conservative American Enterprise Institute — resigned over the decision.
Scripps has not confirmed Wills’ hunch, and there appears to be no mention on the school’s website that he was scheduled to speak. A spokesperson for the college did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment on Tuesday.
The June column about sexual assaults was promptly criticized by doctors, senators, and the very victim Will referenced in the column. His detractors doubted his handle on statistical analysis and familiarity with women’s testimonies of sexual assault.
h/t National Review
Correction: This post has been updated to correct the description of the Claremont Independent.