Controversial philosopher Peter Singer is looking for a new venue in Auckland after SkyCity cancelled his speaking event without warning citing public concern over the subject matter.
Singer was scheduled to appear at the Auckland venue on June 14 for ‘An Evening with Peter Singer’. But the venue has cancelled the contract fearing “reputational damage” from his views that it may be ethical for parents to choose euthanasia for severely disabled newborn infants.
Singer said it was the first time he had been “de-platformed” in his 50-year career.
“It’s extraordinary that Skycity should cancel my speaking engagement on the basis of a newspaper article without contacting either me or the organiser of my speaking tour to check the facts on which it appears to be basing the cancellation,” Singer said.
“I have been welcomed as a speaker in New Zealand on many occasions and spent an enjoyable month as an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury more than 20 years ago. If New Zealand has become less tolerant of controversial views since then, that’s a matter for deep regret.”
Speaking to Newshub, a SkyCity spokesperson said the decision to cancel follows “concerns raised by the public and local media”.
“Whilst SkyCity supports the right of free speech, some of the themes promoted by this speaker do not reflect our values of diversity and inclusivity,” the spokesperson said.
Singer has been recognised both as the Australian Humanist of the Year for his views on animal welfare and the most dangerous person in the world for his views on euthanasia.
Proceeds from his speaking tour were going to his charity ‘The Life You Can Save’, which helps “transform the lives of people in extreme poverty in low-income countries”.
Currently searching for a new venue, the show’s promoter, Suzi Jamil of Think Inc, said the “incident sets a dangerous precedent for all forms of intellectual discourse and is an affront to academic freedom”.