"TED invites Sarah Silverman, a shock and insult comedian, to the event to give a talk. She turns up and shocks and insults, but for a good reason. The crowd doesn’t get it even though it plays right into their politics, and the event organizer trashes her publicly. Silverman hits back on Twitter, and there’s a quick cameo by Steve Case in the whole drama. Then it turns out Silverman is already donating her time to help fight the very issue she brought up in the talk."
So some of the noise about this event is about the use of words and you can find out more by having a look here - but I'm not so fussed about all the politics and the jibes being banded about. I'm left thinking that the next move is going to be crucial.
What can often happen when offence it taken (yes, taken) by either or both sides, is that walls are built, "they're all like that" becomes the voice in our heads we believe and there's an impass. No-one wants to change, to admit they were wrong (even a little).
TED (owned by The Sapling Fund) has impacted many people by publishing their content online, "free to the world". It's all about "Ideas worth spreading". I love that. However, will the response to this situation be that TED pulls down the blinds, to limit the people who they invite - even just a little? That would be a loss for the those who want to learn, to hear voices that they wouldn't normally have access too. And perhaps to be challenged by those who they might not always agree with. Surely this is the way that mature people handle things?! ;-p
I hope that the organisers are strong, that both sides admit that we're all still learning how to interact online and move on. I think they might get it, but only time will tell.