An apparently outraged University of California, Riverside, student allegedly grabbed another student’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat from his head during a campus organization meeting because it is a representation of “genocide.”
In a video of the confrontation that he recorded on his phone and has received more than 4 million views on Facebook so far, hat owner and College Republican member Matthew Vitale repeatedly asks for the return of his property from the female student who took it.
The nine-minute NSFW video (for language) also depicts how calm college administrators in the Student Life Department, to their credit, try to mediate the situation, during which the female student implies that the MAGA hat should be banned on campus.
“Make America great again” was one of President Trump’s 2016 campaign catchphrases.
The female student in the video seems to justify taking the hat because to her, it represents genocide. She also, at one point, equates freedom of speech with genocide, and also seems to consider the MAGA hat a form of microagression against people of color on the UC Riverside campus, which is located in the greater Los Angeles area.
When she also mentions that most of the groups on campus are led by students of color and implies that they are likely to be offended by the MAGA hat, Vitale mentions that he is half Nicaraguan, and again, just wants his hat returned. The woman seems to respond that he is benefiting from white privilege anyway. She also seems dismissive of private property rights and indicates that she’d like burn the MAGA hat.
At another point in the discussion, the woman seems to reveal that she doesn’t think America is particularly great.
“I f***ing hate this country. I’m staying here because there is sh*t that needs to be fixed here, so that’s why I’m staying. All right? Because we need to get rid of all you all.”
A senior economics major, Vitale finally gets his hat back as the expletive-filled exposition by the female student winds down. At the end of the video, campus cops show up in the office where the confrontation is taking place, at least initially preventing her from leaving.
Matthew Vitale is apparently pressing charges, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Vitale signed an order Friday asking campus police to arrest the alleged assailant on a charge of petty theft.”
He also told the Times that free speech is under attack at UC Riverside.
“There has always been an undertone of liberalism and mild hostility towards conservative students, but nothing this blatant,” he added.
A UC Riverside official issued a statement to Campus Reform about the encounter.
“The unfortunate incident that was recorded and shared on social media does not conform to UCR’s Principles of Community. Federal privacy laws prevent the university from commenting on student conduct matters but UC Riverside stands by its deep commitment to freedom of expression, civil discourse, and respectful interactions within our community.”
Watch the viral video of the MAGA hat confrontation (again, NSFW for profanity) at UC Riverside and draw your own conclusions.
The Facebook video below allegedly purports to show in the background the hat being taken from the Trump supporter, according to Breitbart News.
As the UC Riverside MAGA hat controversy is a developing story, be sure to watch this space for updates.
[Featured Image by Brynn Anderson/AP Images]