Sioux Falls group cancels speaker's event amid diversity concerns

Published: Oct. 26, 2017 at 10:26 PM CDT
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A Minnesota man claims his right to free speech was violated tonight by a Sioux Falls organization.

Ron Branstner was set to speak tonight at an event at the History Club of Sioux Falls.

But just a few hours before his event was to start, the History Club cancelled the event.

Ron Branstner isn't mincing words about the cancellation of his speaking event. "Free speech is under attack in America." He says he was going to talk about that very topic at event to be held at the History Club of Sioux Falls. "I came here to talk about hate speech and the groups that were trying to stop hate speech."

But the History Club cancelled it's event about concerns that Branstner himself would be engaging in hate speech:

He has a history of speaking out against Muslims and the Islamic faith.

A History Club spokesperson tells me Branstner was cancelled because he is "in opposition to acceptance and appreciation of diversity that is part of the History Club's mission and members."

"When you go out and speak about something in a community and the opposing position doesn't like it they shut your views down." Branster says this doesn't end with what happened tonight; that the cancellation of his event has put Sioux Falls on his radar. "When somebody closes the door on me and free speech and the Constitution I'll come back."

The group 'South Dakota Voices for Peace' released a statement earlier tonight which says in part, "South Dakota Voices for Peace applauds and thanks the History Club of Sioux Falls for taking a stand against the spread of fear and hate in our community."