GREENWICH VILLAGE — Eleven people were arrested outside New York University Thursday night at a protest against right-wing comedian and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, according to the NYPD.
McInnes — who coined the term "proud boy" to refer to his anti-feminist stance — was invited to speak at the school by the College Republicans student organization.
His presence outraged critics who say he spews racist, sexist and transphobic rhetoric. A few dozen protesters, several wearing masks, gathered outside the front entrance to NYU's Kimmel Student Center to protest his speech, chanting "NYC says f— white supremacy" and "How do you spell fascist? N-Y-P-D."
When a man wearing one of President Donald Trump's signature red "Make America Great Again" hats tried to walk through the crowd, some of the protesters grabbed the hat from his head, pushed him and punched him at least once before he managed to make it into the building.
When protesters set the hat on fire, police deployed to extinguish the flames and pushed most of the crowd toward the corner of LaGuardia Place, blaring an audio warning that the protesters could be subject to arrest.
About 10 minutes later, a group of officers charged into the crowd, pushing them to the opposite side of the street and making a handful of arrests.
Of the 11 people arrested, the NYPD said eight were men and three were women.
Five were charged with misdemeanors, according to the NYPD: two for criminal mischief, two for resisting arrest and one for criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Six were issued violations: five for disorderly conduct, and one for harassment, the NYPD said.
Nine of the 11 people arrested were issued desk appearance tickets summoning them to Manhattan Criminal Court on April 3, the NYPD said.
Salvatore Cipolla, 28, was arrested after accosting a DNAinfo reporter and a Gothamist reporter, police said. He was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and issued a violation for harassment after yanking the reporter's press pass, grabbing him by the collar, pushing him and yelling at him, the NYPD said. He is due in Manhattan Criminal Court on April 3, along with eight other people who were arrested, the NYPD said.
GCasl https://t.co/Lx0XDTIccf— NYU Local (@NYULocal) February 3, 2017
Police did not release the names of the other protesters.
McInnes, who left Vice in 2008 due to "creative differences," was also caught up in the protests, telling those inside Kimmel Student Center that he had been pepper-sprayed on the way in.
But according to someone who attended the event and was involved in the planning details, McInnes insisted on interacting with the protesters, "brusquely" refusing to use a side entrance that NYU officials had arranged for him after seeing growing calls on social media for protesters to assemble out front.
Instead, he demanded to barge through the protesters to the front door with a large entourage he insisted on bringing.
"Virtually all the violence that took place was a result of that decision," the witness said.
None of the people arrested outside were NYU students, according to school officials.
Only people with NYU ID cards could enter the Kimmel Student Center.
A large group of NYU students attended the event to protest and interrupted McInnes, but the witness said "it wasn't a one-sided thing."
"The reality's that McInnes was determined to bait the crowd and even went so far as to gratuitously insult the administrator that tried to keep the room calm so McInnes could continue," the witness said.
According to student blog NYU Local, McInnes called the administrator "a dumb liberal a--hole” before eventually storming off the stage.
NYU spokesman John Beckman said that while there was reaction against McInnes inside Kimmel — where only people with NYU ID cards could get in — there was no violence or arrests.
"He held the floor for some 20 minutes, although he was interrupted repeatedly. The decision to end the event when he did was his own," Beckman said.