John M. Becker

LaBarbera Provokes Arrest in Canada; Martyr Complex to Follow

Filed By John M. Becker | April 15, 2014 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: AFTAH, arrests, Canada, hate group, hate speech, martyrdom, persecution complex, Peter LaBarbera, Porno Pete, staged arrests, victimhood

peter-labarbera-arrest-canada.jpg(Editor's Note: I wasn't going to write about this, but the story's gotten so big that I'm just going to have to hold my nose and do it...)

International anti-LGBT activist and hate group leader Peter LaBarbera has spent the last several days throwing temper tantrums in Canada.

On Friday, LaBarbera was detained at the Canadian border after authorities suspected the anti-LGBT propaganda he carried might be a violation of the country's hate speech laws. (Of course LaBarbera made great hay out of the incident.) He was later allowed to enter the country after officials changed their mind.

Now today he's gone and got himself arrested for trespassing, refusing to leave a university campus after authorities asked him to -- with cameras rolling, of course. CBC reports:

U.S. anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera and a Saskatchewan man were arrested on the University of Regina campus on Monday and will be charged with mischief, police said.

LaBarbera, who is with a group called Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, and Bill Whatcott were distributing anti-gay literature on the campus.

Before their arrival, the university issued a news release saying the pair would be monitored to ensure they did not engage in any activity that would promote hatred.

At one point, with news cameras rolling, an unidentified university official approached Whatcott, 46, and LaBarbera, 51, and asked them to leave. During that encounter, Whatcott said he had attempted to get permission to set up an information table and, since he was denied, proceeded to set up a table anyway.

"I'm not leaving," Whatcott told the official, "You guys are intolerant and should be ashamed of yourselves for shutting down our message without even considering it."

A short while later, several Regina police officers arrived and Whatcott and LaBarbera were handcuffed and taken off campus.

Of course, LaBarbera -- whose organization, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, is an SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group -- knew exactly what he was doing. Equality opponents like him are always on the lookout for opportunities to film themselves in situations where it looks like they're being victimized for their beliefs; it's a compelling visual that's great for fundraising and plays right into the religious right's phony persecution narrative. Being led away in handcuffs while wearing a shirt that reads "NO to HATE CRIMES against CHRISTIANS" is precisely the visual he wanted.

And it's having the desired effect: as I write this, the story is being read on National Public Radio's hourly newscast. (NPR shamefully omitted the part about LaBarbera being a hate group leader, though.) Expect LaBarbera to be hailed as a martyr by anti-LGBT religious conservatives and his schedule to fill up with appearances on right-wing talk shows.


Two videos of LaBarbera's arrest are after the jump.

UPDATE: Bill Whatcott, LaBarbera's fellow arrestee, was released today, but LaBarbera himself is still in jail.

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