A controversial far-right reporter was arrested Tuesday night following an altercation at a University of Connecticut event where he was speaking, a university spokesperson said.
Lucian Wintrich, 29, the White House correspondent for the conservative website The Gateway Pundit, had been giving a speech advertised as “It Is OK To Be White” when a woman approached his lectern and took some papers off of it.
Video from the scene shows Wintrich chasing after the woman and grabbing her in what appeared to be attempt to snatch the papers back. Campus police quickly stepped in and escorted him out of the room. He was then taken into custody and charged with breach of the peace before being released on an $1000 bond, the university spokesperson said. Photos show a crowd of protesters following the police car that took him away.
Meanwhile, chaos ensued in the lecture hall where Wintrich had been speaking. Someone broke one of the lecture hall’s windows and threw a smoke bomb into the room as attendees were clearing out, a university spokesperson said. Police arrested UConn student Sean Miller, 19, in connection with the broken window. He was later released.
Wintrich defended his actions in a tweet, saying that he should have the right to retrieve stolen belongings.
The UConn College Republicans had invited Wintrich to speak on campus. In the days leading up to the event, students took down or modified posters advertising it.
Wintrich, who was controversially given White House press credentials earlier this year, has been a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and a recognizable name in right-wing media. He collaborated with former Breitbart News editor and conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos on “Twinks for Trump,” a photo series of topless men wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. The Gateway Pundit has rivaled Breitbart in both its support of the president and its penchant for spreading hoaxes.
Many students showed up to protest Wintrich’s speech, shouting “Go home Nazis” and “Black Lives Matter” during his remarks.
Liberals “want black people to dress like they did in Africa 300 years ago,” Wintrich said, according to the Hartford Courant. “They want Muslims to dress the way they’ve always dressed. The left wants them to seem like visual advertisers for their multicultural utopia they’re claiming to promote.”
University president Susan Herbst called the incident “very disappointing” in a statement provided to HuffPost. “Thoughtful, civil discourse should be a hallmark of democratic societies and American universities, and this evening fell well short of that.”