Resisting Hate with Free Speech: A Conversation with Nadine Strossen and Christie Hefner

Selected date

Tuesday February 26

Selected time

6:30 PM  –  8:30 PM


Resisting Hate with Free Speech
A Conversation with Nadine Strossen and Christie Hefner
Tuesday, February 26th from 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Please note, this event is at:
The Standard Club
320 S. Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604

Controversial speech is as old as America itself, from the passionate pamphlets and broadsides of the American Revolution to today's ideologically diverse media. Throughout our history we've grappled with how to protect speech many find "hateful," from white supremacist rallies to radical anarchist propaganda. In November 2016, in the shadow of the most contentious presidential campaign in history, The New York Times editorial board launched a weekly feature entitled “This Week in Hate," intended to track the rising tide of angry rhetoric from the college campus to the halls of power.

U.S. law secures freedom even for hateful, hated ideas, viewing this as essential for both individual liberty and democratic self-government. Yet polls show strong support, especially among younger people, for imposing more restrictions on offensive speech, especially concerning the sensitive subjects of race, sex, and gender. Would such restrictions promote the essential goals of equality, inclusion, diversity, and social harmony? Or could these restrictions actually do more harm than good? What can we learn from the experience of other countries in enforcing their anti-hate speech laws? How can we fight hatred with free speech, rather than censorship?

In her new book HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship, Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), argues that expanding free speech, not limiting it, is the solution for changing the hearts and minds of those who espouse hateful ideologies. She dispels many of the myths and misunderstandings that have permeated the debates of what constitutes “hate speech,” including what is and isn’t protected speech.

Christie Hefner will moderate this discussion, bringing to light Strossen’s powerful argument on behalf of free expression. Many are familiar with Hefner as the Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., though fewer know she is a passionate advocate of freedom of expression, social justice and equal rights and opportunities for women. She was the first woman elected to the Chicago Chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization, and is a founder of the Chicago Chapter of Women Corporate Directors which works to increase the number of women serving on corporate boards.

In 1991, Hefner was inducted into the Women's Business Development Center Hall of Fame for "opening doors and building opportunities for all women entrepreneurs." She was also on the advisory board of and was spokesperson for "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything" which sparked a global conversation about the consequences of women's shifting roles in the workplace and in society. She presently serves on the Civic Advisory Committee of the Better Government Association and the board of the D.C.-based Center for American Progress Action, the leading progressive public policy think tank.

Strossen is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School. She has written, taught, and advocated extensively in the areas of constitutional law and civil liberties, including through frequent media interviews. She served as President of the American Civil Liberties Union, the first woman to head the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization.

Her media appearances include 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, Today, Good Morning America, The Daily Show, and other news programs on CNN, C-SPAN, Fox, Al-Jazeera, and in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. program

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