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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

‘Tyrant’s Work’: Babylon Bee CEO talks political correctness, comedy

By Richa Shah

Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon hosts forum at Texas A&M exploring censorship in media.

On Thursday, March 24, Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon hosted “Canceling Comedy” at Texas A&M to explore the world of censorship, satire and The Babylon Bee’s work. Coming fresh off a Twitter feud regarding one of their posts, Dillon spoke of the importance he placed on expressing his truth. 

Co-hosted by Aggies for Liberty and A&M’s chapter of Turning Point USA, or TPUSA, “Canceling Comedy” featured the head of the Christian conservative, satirical news site The Babylon Bee. For the roughly two dozen audience members laughing and cheering for the speaker, the event provided t-shirts, pins and buttons emblazoned with the ideas they fight for, such as “Print Guns NOT Money,” “Kiss me I’m a Capitalist” and “Entrepreneurs are more efficient than the government.” 

The event detailed not only a group’s fight to preserve free speech, but the recent controversies surrounding The Babylon Bee. On March 16, USA Today named Admiral Rachel Levine, Ph.D., as one of a dozen people honored as Woman of the Year. The Babylon Bee responded with a post nominating Levine as their pick for Man of the Year. The post caused Twitter to suspend The Baylon Bee’s account indefinitely. 

“Babylon Bee made a joke because [she] is originally a man,” Pate said.

As Aggies for Liberty and TPUSA spoke of their firm belief in protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights, they decided Dillon would be the best choice to embody that concept. He began his speech by projecting satirical articles The Babylon Bee wrote. Dillon said the articles were fact checked and expectedly deemed false. He explained that he felt baffled by any outrage toward Babylon Bee articles.

“It’s strange to us because we’re literally just making jokes,” Dillon said. “We’re trying to do comedy.”

Continuing the discussion on gender, Dillon brought up Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was recently asked to define the word “woman” during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Jackson declined to comment by stating she was not a biologist. In Thursday’s speech, Dillon said Jackson’s refusal to answer and its reasoning proved that perhaps sex was related to gender.

“What is a woman?” Dillon said. “She is a woman and she’s saying, ‘I can’t define what a woman is.’ That is absolutely insane.”

Aerospace engineering junior Cameron Dunn, president of Aggies for Liberty, was involved in coordinating the event, in conjunction with other campus organizations. Dunn said the organization’s goal is to bring libertarians, liberty Republicans and Democrats against war together to implement change.

“We obviously don’t agree with Turning Point on everything. But, free speech we definitely do agree with them on,” Dunn said.

During her introduction, Dunn spoke of The Babylon Bee’s purpose and their obvious satire. He went so far as to state it was almost impossible to not understand that the Babylon Bee’s content was satire as it was quite outlandish. Beyond the satire, Dunn said the event centered around censorship and free speech.

“[Dillon] is here to speak on … First Amendment principles, which is one of the things that our org[anization] [focuses on],” Dunn said. 

Economics junior Daniel Pate serves as president of the A&M chapter of TPUSA. Pate said  Dillon’s speech shared how true comedy is becoming obsolete due to an increase in support for speech deemed “politically correct.” Comedy has essentially been canceled in recent years, Pate said.

“It’s no longer funny to say anything, you gotta be politically correct,” Pate said.

During his speech, Dillon shared how he often receives questions from students who are afraid to speak their mind because they are worried about being labeled a racist, transphobe, bigot, among other labels. Dillon said these labels are tied with a type of censorship, have been overused and lost all meaning. He said he encourages everyone to boldly speak the truth and disregard the labels. 

“When you censor yourself, you are doing the tyrant’s work,” Dillon said.

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