Who is Ben Shapiro and why is he so controversial?

Ben Shapiro

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah is alerting students about increased police presence, relocated classes and barriers around certain buildings in preparation of Ben Shapiro’s speech Wednesday evening .

So who is Shapiro and why is he so controversial?

Who is Ben Shapiro?

Shapiro, 33, is a conservative political commentator and editor-in-chief of the right-leaning news site The Daily Wire, according to Fox News.

He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Harvard Law School, according to his biography.

In addition to the Daily Wire, Shapiro is also a conservative columnist, New York Times bestselling author and hosts his own podcast, “The Ben Shapiro Show.”

Shapiro was the editor-at-large at Breitbart, but resigned in March 2016 during the conflict between a Breitbart reporter and Corey Lewandowski, President Trump’s campaign manager at the time.

Shapiro defended the reporter and accused Breitbart of “abandoning” his former colleague.

What are some of his works?

Shapiro is the author of several books, including “Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV” and “Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth.”

His 2013 book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans” was a New York Times bestseller.

Additionally, Shapiro is outspoken about his opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movements, according to Fox News.

“Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, has worked to expose the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic motivations behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” his Daily Wire website states.

Shapiro also has been outspoken about his anti-abortion views, including in the cases of rape, and his support of small government, free speech and religious liberties, Fox News reported.

So why is Shapiro considered by some to be ‘controversial?’

Cal Berkeley Democrats President Caiden Nason told the Daily Californian student newspaper that he hopes that Shapiro’s visit will “prove he has outdated beliefs.”

“Berkeley is not a school that doesn’t pay attention to facts. And Ben Shapiro is someone that directly spits in the face of facts,” Nason said.

Shapiro’s news website published videos earlier this week of protesters who called him the “founder” of “this fascist ideological regime.” The Daily Wire speculated the demonstrators were referring to the Trump administration, of which he has been largely critical.

Spencer Brown, YAF’s spokesman, pushed back on the notion that Shapiro is “controversial” and said the label comes from left-leaning people who apply it “to conservative speakers when they make their attempts to silence them.”

“In the case of Ben Shapiro, they label him as ‘controversial’ because of his effectiveness at attacking a few of the liberals’ favorite things: safe spaces, so-called microaggressions, intersectionality, etc.,” Brown told Fox News.

“Young America’s Foundation has worked to bring Ben Shapiro to more than 30 college campuses in the past few semesters, and so we’ve seen campuses pull out all the stops in attempts to block him from speaking or ensure that the event is limited in size or accessibility,” Brown said. “UC Berkeley’s attempts to block Ben from campus have failed because they met their match in YAF.”

"They label him as ‘controversial’ because of his effectiveness at attacking a few of the liberals’ favorite things: safe spaces, so-called microaggressions, intersectionality, etc."

- Spencer Brown, YAF spokesman

Brown added that some people at Berkeley have called Shapiro a “white supremacist” – which he called “laughable.”

“Ben receives more hate from the alt-right than anyone else online these days,” Brown said.

Michael Burawoy, a sociology professor and chairman of the Berkeley Faculty Association, told the Associated Press that many are upset about the disruptions to campus speakers like Shapiro bring.

“There are faculty who don’t think the campus should be the site of this, what they call, political circus,” he said.

“We bring them on campus and allow them to speak and we encourage both right- and left-wing groups” to hold potentially violent protests, he said. “If we exclude them, they say Berkeley doesn’t believe in free speech. It’s a lose-lose situation.”

By Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News