Before Youtuber Laci Green could get through her opening monologue during USF’s University Lecture Series on Tuesday night, unprovoked middle fingers and obscenities erupted from a member of the audience, causing him to be escorted out of the Oval Theater by University Police (UP).
The audience member, a man appearing to be in his mid 20s and not believed to be a USF student, according to UP, stood up from his seat off to the side of the crowd of nearly 200, students shouting obscenities toward Green.
The man stated she was a “leftist (expletive),” among other things, before turning to verbally attack the crowd with more expletives.
The flustered crowd soon roared in celebration as the man was escorted from the theater.
Green was visibly shaken by the event, prompting members of the audience to yell from their seats asking if she was OK. Green responded by saying, “To be honest, I’ve been receiving these threats all week.”
UP said after the lecture that they weren’t able to properly identify the man.
One officer who escorted him out said although he was disruptive, he did not break any laws. The officer said the man was trespassed, but not officially detained by police.
Patrick Daley, a student who was near the man in line prior to the lecture, said he overheard the man claiming he had gone to other events of Green’s prior to this one.
“I heard him mentioning a few other events that she had done saying, ‘Yeah, I’ve been to this one and I’ve done this at a few of them,’” Daley said.
UP said they had heard rumblings of political protests prior to the event, but nothing of any large scale materialized.
Despite the disruption, Green, whose Youtube channel has gained more than 5 million followers, quickly returned to her message: rape culture.
It’s a sensitive topic, but Green doesn’t shy away from it, diving straight into it with a video compiled of examples of how victims of sexual assault were blamed and the accused set free with minimal consequences.
“This is one of the hardest conversations to have,” Green said, her voice still shaking from the incident. “There are a lot of angry people in the world who don’t want to talk about it. But we need to be able to confront this conversation so we can understand it.”
Green highlighted the rise of the amount of sexual assaults and attributed it to the lack of consequences given to those who are accused of rape.
“Those numbers get big because we don’t really do anything about it,” Green said. “There aren’t that many consequences for those who commit sexual assault.”
According to Green, the average perpetrator will violate six different people.
Green offered her take of how to aid the decline of sexual assault, beginning with getting the idea of consent into teenagers much sooner.
“Right now, the way people feel about consent is if you didn’t scream and yell and say ‘no,' then you have consent,” Green said. “It may be controversial … but what if every middle schooler learned what consent was? It’s that simple, but we refuse to do it.”
Green’s mindset is to keep stirring that conversation, regardless of the discomfort is causes.
“It doesn’t take a ton of work,” Green said. “It doesn’t take a ton of effort. Sometimes the smallest things can make an impact around the world. Those are the types of things we need to be willing to do.”