Multiple event venues in Virginia have canceled on the organizers of a journalism conference after pressure and threats from a local Antifa group.
The Common Sense Society and The Virginia Council were to host the inaugural “Virginia Forum” Sept. 22 featuring journalist and author Andy Ngo, who has reported extensively on uncovering connections between Antifa and the riots in Portland, Oregon, and Richmond, Virginia.
The event was first slated to take place at Richmond’s Commonwealth Club, an organization founded in 1890 that describes itself as a “vibrant city club with a diverse membership … including leaders in business, politics, education and society.”
But when club officials learned of someone they say is a leader of Richmond, Virginia, Antifa doxxing the event on X, formerly Twitter, they canceled the event, citing “safety” concerns and “the current political climate.”
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Journalist Andy Ngo speaks out after losing a lawsuit against two Portland activists. (Fox News)
“After careful consideration and in light of the current political climate, the leadership of the Commonwealth Club have made the difficult decision to decline hosting the event. This decision was not made lightly, but the safety and well-being of our guests and employees is our top priority, especially after recent social media posts by radical groups have targeted the event and the location,” the club stated in an email to event organizers.
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“We understand the importance of this event to your group and the effort that has gone into planning it. However, we believe that it is our responsibility to prioritize the safety of everyone involved.”
The Common Sense Society (CSS) is a group that describes itself as exploring “ideas, cultures, and geography that have shaped our history in order to best contribute to a future that fosters human flourishing.”
According to CSS, the club shared a post on X from user @GoadGatsby, a writer at left-wing RVA Mag who “runs the Richmond Antifa and is sure to draw attention that we don’t want.”
An Oregon judge ruled in favor of conservative journalist Andy Ngo’s claims he was brutally assaulted by members of Rose City Antifa during a June 2019 protest. (Moriah Ratner/Stringer)
CSS then arranged to host the event at The Westin hotel in Richmond, a property owned by Marriott International. But after alleged Antifa members posted on social media to call and pressure the hotel, the Westin caved.
“Virginians — particularly Richmonders — desperately need to hear a message of hope as they endure Antifa’s vandalism, bullying, threats and general disregard for public safety. They need to see individuals and businesses courageously stand up for freedom of speech, the rule of law and the well-being of Virginians,” CSS and The Virginia Society said in a joint statement.
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“Common Sense Society, The Virginia Council and our guest Andy Ngo intend to be that beacon of light and hope. Through our inaugural and ongoing Virginia Forums, we will strengthen the many courageous yet weary Virginians who want to defend their freedoms, preserve their history and advance prosperity in their home state,” the statement said.
“The Commonwealth Club had an opportunity to stand up with us, but they backed out in fear. The Westin (Marriott Corp.) then had the chance to be that platform. They’ve also elected to cower.
“Let us be perfectly clear. Common Sense Society and The Virginia Council will not succumb to bullying. If anything, Antifa’s destructive behavior underscores the critical need for free speech and the rule of law in Richmond.”
The Virginia Council’s founding chairman, John Reid, said this isn’t the first time the group has been threatened by violent extremists.
“The Virginia Council was founded in 2021 to preserve Virginia’s history and promote prosperity and the rule of law in the face of violence and destruction by groups like Antifa. We were not intimidated in 2021, and we will not be intimidated now. Good things are worth standing up for,” he said.
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“Free speech, the rule of law, truth — these things will prevail over bullying, slander and intimidation. Andy Ngo was courageous in Portland, and we will be courageous in Richmond.”
The event organizers say they have secured a third venue and are planning to continue with the event.
According to Ngo’s lawsuit filed by the Center for American Liberty, Ngo’s “unfavorable” reporting on members of Rose City Antifa led to violent retaliation. (Moriah Ratner/Stringer)
In August, an Oregon judge ruled in favor of Ngo’s claims he was brutally assaulted by members of Rose City Antifa during a June 2019 protest in downtown Portland.
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Multnomah County Circuit Judge Chanpone Sinlapasai directed three defendants to individually compensate Ngo in the amount of $100,000, culminating in a total of $300,000 in damages.
The Aug. 8 ruling is “some vindication” for Ngo after a Portland jury found two other defendants listed in the same suit not liable for the assault.
“It feels like some vindication for a really horrific, retraumatizing process through the litigation process,” Ngo told Fox News Digital at the time of the ruling.
Fox News Digital’s Jamie Joseph contributed to this report.
Brianna Herlihy is a politics writer for Fox News Digital.
Multiple venues cancel journalism event featuring Andy Ngo after doxxing, ‘bullying’ by Antifa
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