The Idaho Freedom Foundation was able to hold its annual banquet after controversy surrounding the keynote speaker, Dr. Charles Murray, and possible protests prompted the foundation's first choice of venue to cancel.
As KTVB reported last week, the event was supposed to happen at the Riverside Hotel, but had to be moved to Chateau des Fleurs in Eagle after the owners of the Riverside Hotel canceled. They canceled citing safety concerns for guests in case protests happened.
"I think the security concerns were way over blown. The fact is we brought the folks here to help us with the event out of an abundance of caution because of some of the rhetoric," said Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation.
They decided to beef up security mainly for the protection of the new venue.
"They have been under a tremendous amount of fire,” Hoffman said. “Unnecessarily, completely unnecessary. They’re good people they’re also of mixed backgrounds, religions and races and I just happen to think the world of them for allowing us to hold this event here on such short notice despite all of the screaming and yelling from the activists."
The protesters lined the highway right at the entrance of the venue. They remained peaceful. Their concern: Murray is the co-author of “The Bell Curve.” They say it’s racist because it talked about possible differences in intelligence between races and genders.
"We're working extensively to keep the message that all people are equal alive,” said Nancy Harris, protest organizer. “To let people know that immigrants, that African-Americans, that women have equal standing with white males."
"The fact is Charles Murray is a public policy researcher just like we are,” Hoffman said. “We aim to improve the quality of everyone's life, and we're not looking at their skin color.”