An event at a California university featuring controversial so-called "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled Friday after a large number of protesters blocked entrance to the event, UC Davis said.
The speakers were invited by the student group Davis College Republicans. UC Davis said in a statement that after protesters blocked the venue "it was determined that it was no longer feasible to continue with the event safely."
"I am deeply disappointed with the events of this evening," Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter said in a statement. "Our community is founded on principles of respect for all views, even those that we personally find repellent."
Shkreli, who came under sharp criticism for raising the price of a drug used to treat a life-threatening parasitic infection by 5,000 percent, told NBC affiliate KCRA that he was there to debate Yiannopoulos and said it was "reasonable" that the event was canceled.
"I'm pro-feminism; I don't think these people know that," Shkreli said as he was surrounded by demonstrators. "I was going to tear Milo to shreds ... he doesn't understand feminism."
Protesters carried signs with slogans like "Fascism, Hate & Bigotry Will Not Be Tolerated" and there were occasional shoving matches, KCRA reported. Shkreli was eventually removed by police after a demonstrator got in his face and blew a whistle at him.
UC Davis said the Davis College Republicans made the decision to cancel the event.
Yiannopoulos, a conservative provocateur who made headlines earlier this year after he was banned from Twitter following online abuse of "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones, on Facebook blamed "violence from left-wing protestors" for the canceled event.
The university said that reports of broken windows or property damage were wrong, and that there was no damage. Police arrested one person inside the venue and no other arrests were made, the university said.