By Debra Tash
William Becker, Founder and President/CEO/General Counsel for the boutique civil rights law firm Freedom X gave the keynote speech, The Cancel Culture, at the October meeting of the Camarillo California Federation of Republican Women. The First Amendment, the freedom of speech, is at risk in this country. Mr. Becker stated that not all speech is pleasant speech. However the First Amendment grants Americans the right to “piss off people.”
The majority of lawsuits filed at Freedom X are for Viewpoint Discrimination. In the current climate, those cases are to the right on the political spectrum. What is deemed fitting discourse has veered so far left that it’s no longer a matter of what is politically correct, opposing viewpoints, conservatives, are being outright silenced. Events and personalities have become casualties of what has been termed, the Cancel Culture. It goes beyond disagreements and labels, what is occurring is that certain events, activities, voices, are flat out not being tolerated.
One of Becker’s biggest victories resulted from a lawsuit filed against the University of Washington. From Freedom X‘s website: “In the lawsuit, College Republicans of the University of Washington v. Cauce (18-CV-00189 MJP), the University of Washington College Republicans (“UWCRs”) alleged that a university policy unfairly discriminated against them and other politically conservative campus groups by charging exorbitant event fees to provide increased security needed to thwart violent protests from leftwing political activists.” By overcharging groups that oppose the approved cultural viewpoint the University was effectively silencing the conservatives on campus. The court ruled early that UW was chilling free speech with its use of outrageous fees. The University had to pay $115,000 to Freedom X and $7,500 to the Seattle law firm of Ellis, Li & McKinstry, who assisted in the case. More importantly they can no longer assess fees “based on the content or viewpoint of a speaker’s speech or based on the community’s reaction or expected reaction to an invited speaker.”
Mr. Becker touched on topics that are being squeezed out/or forced into the public square by the Cancel Culture. For instance, the claim there are over 100 genders is one such way to silence speech. Misusing pronouns can lead to fines, loss of employment and disciplinary action. Another example is “Drag Queen Story Hour” in public libraries that exposes young children to questionable role models. In Mr. Becker’s estimation these, and those like them, are actions posing the biggest threat to Western Culture.
An example of the attacks, besides gender, are those leveled at Christianity/religion as evidenced by a case Freedom X took on for the American Freedom Alliance. AFA is a conservative group that holds workshops and lectures on topics relevant to today’s politics/culture in America. The group had contracted with the California Science Center, CSC, to use their theater to screen a film on Intelligent Design. When the Center’s administration became aware of the group’s subject for their event they canceled the contract. Becker filed against the Center. It ended with a settlement, CSC paying AFA $110,000.
AFA bestowed on Mr. Becker one of its highest honors in August, the American Freedom Award. Here is Mr. Becker’s acceptance speech:
Locally Freedom X helped push back against Rancho Campana High School in Camarillo, when they attempted to quash conservative expression. Wyatt Germaine wanted to start a Young America’s Foundation chapter at the high school. The group couldn’t get an advisor, which is required, from the staff and therefore was unrecognized as a registered organization on campus. When YAF wanted to do a 9/11 memorial they were denied because of that. Becker sent a letter to the school’s administration admonishing them for not securing YAF an advisor. Campana acceded to the demand and now has allowed YAF on campus.
Becker is a one man shop, though he partners with other firms. From Freedom X‘s website: “Bill Becker is an unapologetic “warrior for Christ.” Always a Christian but not always a warrior, Bill saw the culture shifting from its moral base––the Judeo-Christian foundation of our nation’s laws––with little resistance from right-thinking moral Americans.
“Bill is an allied attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom who has been awarded its highest achievement award, the Gold Service Award, for dedicating more than 10,000 pro bono hours to the body of Christ and religious liberty. That number has grown exponentially.
“Bill is admitted to practice before numerous federal district and appellate courts, the United States Supreme Court and all courts in California and Colorado, and appears pro hac vice throughout the country to defend our First Amendment freedoms.”
Of the civil rights law firms out there Freedom X is small. The 501 3C’s funding derives from court awarded fees and donations. Still Becker is in the fight, warring against the Cancel Culture before freedom of speech is snuffed out in America.
Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.
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when you can’t beat your opposition based on measurable facts, you have to silence your opposition.
It’s been a winning strategy for left leaning politicians and philosophers; until President Trump, that is.