Since being fired by Donald Trump in August of 2017, Steve Bannon has been busy speaking at different conferences. Some of these conferences are staples for Republican figures while others are just plain weird.
The weirdest conference of all was the 4th International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots. Bannon was tabbed to become the Keynote speaker at the ACE conference which was merged with the robot sex conference.
The announcement of Bannon as keynote speaker led to immediate backlash. Speakers meant to appear alongside Bannon began to drop out of the conference.
Peter Gray, a former Boston College professor who was to appear as a keynote speaker at ACE, said, “Bannon’s alt-right brand is personally odious to me and, more importantly, by association would work against my credibility and that of the causes to which I am passionately devoted.”
Katharine Neil, a game developer, also took issue with Bannon’s role in the conference, “For a conference like this, the keynote is either a leading academic researcher, or someone from industry who does relevant work. This is like inviting Ed Sheeran to keynote a microbiology conference. It’s unfathomable.”
To take advantage of Bannon’s appearance in Montana, ACE event organizer Adrian Cheok attempted to schedule a debate between Bannon and a University of Montana professor.
Due to heavy push back on multiple fronts, the merged conference and the debate have all been cancelled.
Loveandsexwithrobots.org noted on their website, “Since the arrangements being made for both conferences were inextricably intertwined, we have had no alternative but to postpone the congress on Love and Sex with Robots.”
This isn’t the first time the specter of a Bannon appearance has created controversy for an event. The organizers of the New Yorker Festival had to remove Bannon as a headliner when many other guests refused to appear alongside him.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.