06:00 GMT30 May 2020
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    In what was initially thought to be a touch of performance art at a March 5 TEDxBrussels talk concerning global censorship, a male event organizer forcibly dragged the female speaker off the stage. It was, however, not an act.

    TEDxBrussels presenter Deborah De Robertis was in the middle of a speech on censorship of her artwork, when she was forcibly grabbed by one of the organizers of the event, and dragged off the stage. The act was so audacious that audience members initially applauded, thinking that the assault was part of her speech.

    But the assault turned out to be all too real, and was quickly compounded when the male organizer who — during projections of photographs depicting her recent works, which pictured nudity — dragged De Robertis off the stage, removing her shirt in the process and exposing her breasts to an astonished crowd.

    On their blog, TED staff posted a statement in apology.

    "Today at TEDxBrussels, an independently organized TEDx event, speaker and performance artist Deborah De Robertis was forcibly removed from the stage by one of the event's organizers, who objected to the talk's content."

    "We have reviewed the situation and spoken with the organizer. While we know there are moments when it is difficult to decide how to respond to a situation, this response was deeply inappropriate," the statement asserted.

    "We are immediately revoking the TEDxBrussels license granted to this individual," claimed TED staff.

    But the semi apology is not enough, according to the assaulted speaker.

    In response to the incident, De Robertis tweeted, "As a compensation and to show real support to freedom of speech, @TEDTalks should invite me to the next TEDx to present the uncensored version of my conference."


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