Texas business association cancels Dinesh D’Souza event after his comments mocking school shooting survivors

Organizations should stop booking the idiot troll in the first place

Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

The Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce in Texas has canceled its event with conservative author and pundit Dinesh D’Souza after he mocked the student survivors of the Parkland, FL, school shooting.

An organizer for the event confirmed to Media Matters in an email today that the event has been canceled. 

The event, titled “Dinesh D'Souza - The Case for Capitalism," was scheduled for February 23 and was sponsored by local groups and financial institutions like NewFirst National Bank and First Financial Bank (a cache of the event page, which has been taken down, is available here).

Student survivors of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been speaking out against gun violence, calling for new gun laws, and organizing rallies. Right-wing media personalities, however, have smeared the students with attacks and conspiracy theories.  

D’Souza has recently mocked the student survivors and said their grief “strikes me as phony & inauthentic”:

D’Souza’s remarks drew widespread criticism. The Conservative Political Action Conference, where D’Souza spoke in the past, said “his comments are indefensible.” On Twitter, activists criticized the Texas event and its listed sponsors. While D’Souza claimed he was “sorry,” there’s little in his history to suggest he actually cares about basic decency.  

As Daily Beast Senior Editor Andrew Kirell summarized in a piece wondering why D’Souza is on the National Review’s masthead:

And yet, his comment about the teenagers was no isolated incident. And National Review's own star editors and writers are well-aware of that.

Over the past year, D’Souza has: suggested the Charlottesville white-supremacist rally (which led to the murder of an anti-racism protester) was a “staged event” designed to make the right look bad; shared a meme calling former President Barack Obama a “gay Muslim” and suggesting Michelle Obama is a man; started a conspiracy theory that the media covered up Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock’s background as an anti-Trump activist (he wasn’t); used a photo of a grieving military widow—despite her protests—to attack football players kneeling during the national anthem; and defended Adolf Hitler, who sent thousands of gay people to death camps, as being “NOT anti-gay.”

In 2014, a federal judge sentenced D’Souza to a five-year probation, “with eight months during the first year to be served in a community confinement center, after having pled guilty to violating the federal campaign election law by making illegal contributions to a United States Senate campaign in the names of others.”

D’Souza’s resume -- both before and after his tweets about Parkland -- is so toxic that any legitimate organization should avoid him. Still, he recently headlined a February 16 Republican Party event in Nevada that was attended by Nevada Republican officials such as Sen. Dean Heller and state Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt.

And in 2017, D’Souza headlined fundraisers for groups such as the Florida State University College Republicans, the Washington County Republican Party in Utah, and the Ector County Republican Party in Texas.

While the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce canceled D’Souza’s appearance, he is still set to appear at other events in the near future. He is scheduled to:

  • speak at an event sponsored by the Flathead County Republican Party (MT) in March;  
  • appear at the 14th Annual Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast (FL) in March; and
  • headline the Bonneville County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Banquet (ID) in April.

Requests for comment to those three groups were not returned.