The Contented Cow has canceled a series of talks by James Fetzer, an alleged Holocaust denier, according to an email from Diane Burry, a co-owner of the Contented Cow.
She wrote, “Cow Talks are hereby canceled. Our livelihood is threatened. Our staff is harassed. Our regulars worried.”
The series, called Cow Talks, became the center of controversy in the Northfield community due to the inclusion of Fetzer. He was scheduled to speak four times between February and May on issues including the Kennedy assassination, the terror attacks of 9/11, the death of Senator Paul Wellstone and the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, according to press releases from the Cow.
Among his arguments are claims that 9/11 was part of a conspiracy orchestrated by the U.S. Government in cooperation with the Israeli intelligence services, that the Charlie Hebdo shooting was a false flag operation staged by Israeli interests and that the Sandy Hook shooting was a ‘hoax,’ according to Fetzer’s website.
However, his most controversial claim is his revisionist interpretation on the Holocaust, which many characterize as hate speech due to the inflammatory nature of the rhetoric, and the emotional distress the Holocaust still causes.
Members of the community have written and spoken with Butler.
Some of the notes and emails were then forwarded onto Fetzer, who posted the emails with the authors’ contact information onto his website. Butler was not aware that Fetzer would do this, and told the Carletonian that he did so in order to keep Fetzer abreast with developments.
Those who sent emails to Butler received threatening emails from Fetzer’s supporters, according to an email from a Carleton faculty member.
An editorial signed by members of the Carleton faculty was submitted to The Carletonian. In it the authors stated “We object in the strongest possible terms both to Fetzer’s views and to Butler’s decision to promote them.”
They subsequently announced their intent to ‘traffic business’ away from Butler’s restaurants, the Cow and Chapati, and advised members of the community to do similarly.
Initially, the Cow had insisted Fetzer would still appear in the series of Cow Talks. Butler defended this situation by claiming that he was exercising his freedom of speech.
Yet, while the appearance has been canceled, Fetzer has continued his attacks on those who protested his appearance.
In response to this development, Fetzer posted an article on his blog condemning the development called “Auschwitz, Cows and Bigots in Northfield.”
The article contains direct and personal attacks against several members of the Northfield community and the college faculty. It described those who were part of the movement of protest against the Cow as “bigots.”
Those whose contact information was leaked by Fetzer feel concern for themselves and their families.
As of publication, the Northfield police said they are monitoring the situation, yet do not feel that there is a threat sufficient to warrant any course of action.
His status as a holocaust denier and frequent accusations of Jewish or Israeli conspiracies means many accuse him of being an anti-Semite.