Andy Ngo, a self-described “independent journalist and photographer who covers antifa and the far-left,” has been disinvited from the annual conference put on by evangelical Christian group Q Ideas. Conference organizers have stated that the reason for their decision was due neither to outside pressure nor to the controversial nature of Ngo’s topic.
“Our decision to not move forward with the conversation we had planned for Unmasked author, Andy Ngo, was made by our team using the same process we’ve implemented dozens of times over the years,” said conference organizers in a statement on their website. “We were not successful in booking an acceptable alternative voice that would present the other side of the conversation—specifically, detailing the tactics and motivations of the alt-right. Based on that factor, we decided we could not host a well-balanced conversation on this topic at this time.”
Ngo writes extensively on antifa, which is short for “anti-fascist,” and has also written a book called, “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.” The Q conference organizers told Religion News Service (RNS) they had asked Ngo to give a talk called “What Is Fascism?”
Andy Ngo Responds to Being Disinvited
Q Ideas—not to be confused with the QAnon conspiracy theory—was founded in 2007 by Gabe and Rebekah Lyons “as a platform to help leaders and influencers engage culture from a biblical worldview.” The letter “Q” stands for “questions,” and the annual conference features short talks similar to TED talks. This year’s speaker lineup includes Matt Chandler, David Platt, John Mark Comer, and Danielle Strickland. According to RNS, Ngo was listed as a speaker in a promotional email sent out ahead of the conference.
In their statement, organizers said that one of the guiding principles of the Q conference is that “no topic is off limits.” The whole purpose is to explore controversial ideas that many people avoid:
We often hear from a spectrum of leaders in our community with their insight or concerns about certain topics or speakers. Both positive and negative reactions are expected when we fulfill our mission of convening difficult conversations and trying to help leaders think well in a polarized culture. There are few places where this is possible anymore which is why we believe we need this time and space now more than ever.
The organizers said that when they were unable to secure a speaker on the alt-right movement as well as on antifa, “We respectfully communicated this programming decision and rationale to Mr. Ngo. Any other assertion is simply untrue.”