UNF student verbally assaulted by comedian at Battle of the Bands

Carter Mudgett, Editor in Chief

Students packed the grassy field in front of the UNF Coxwell Amphitheater on Sep. 30 to watch the Battle of the Bands, organized by UNF Osprey Life and Productions (OLP). The night was meant to feature incredible music, but one man threw a shadow over the entire event. Hired by OLP, comedian Ryan O’Flanagan drew attention as he entertained the crowd in between bands.

While he joked about porn, political affiliation, genitalia, and more, students attempted to “boo” O’Flanagan off the stage multiple times during the event. One student, Patricia Muniz, experienced a direct insult from the comedian. 

“He was talking about his dick for a good minute, cracking jokes. I started Booing him and he yelled “Shut up Whore” a couple of mins later reffered to me as annoying in the crowd,” wrote Muniz. “Completely inappropriate, I left right after,” she wrote in another comment. 

 Photo by Justin Nedrow.

Spinnaker interviewed OLP Director Courtney King, asking if she was aware of this insult.

She said that “that’s not something I was aware of was directed directly at a student, it was my understanding it was said in general, as part of a joke.” Spinnaker also discussed the process of how performers are chosen by OLP for these events.

“Pretty much whenever we’re choosing an artist, especially when it comes to comedians, hypnotists, magicians, we have about three to five minutes of Youtube videos that we receive from our agent or other agencies we worked with in the past,” King said. 

She continued to explain how, in this case, the students found a video of O’Flanagan and shared it with the rest of their team who liked what they saw. Having obtained a copy of O’Flanagan’s contract from OLP, Spinnaker found that he was paid $5,000 for the show. Hotel and plane expenses were fully paid for as part of this all-inclusive deal. 

View O’Flanagan’s full contract here

Photo by Justin Nedrow.

Through a poll released on Spinnaker’s Instagram, students gave their thoughts on the event. Amid comments praising the music, other students complained about O’Flanagan. 

“The music was great, the host dude was horrible. He wasn’t funny at all and was kind of just creepy,” wrote one student, “He was just so bad **thumbs down emoji.**”

Another student responded saying, “the comedian was disgusting but all the bands were amazing,” while yet another one said while the music was good, the comedian was “so inappropriate and crude. So uncomfortable.”

Director King said that while she was not in attendance at the event, the rest of her team was there. 

When asked whether King thought the show went well, she paused for many seconds before responding with, “our students kind of choose [performers] off of what they were able to see. Then the comedians do perform, what we hope is, their usual set.”

Photo by Justin Nedrow.

King acknowledged that OLP does have the power to stop events, but said that “this is one [event] where we do have him up in different snippets so it is kind of unique. Other times when we have had things occur, we have pulled the plug on the event.”

After Spinnaker’s interview, King sent her official written statement about the event:

“The goal of our events is to provide fun and engaging experiences for students and we never want students to leave events feeling hurt, frustrated or targeted. Comments made by hired third-party vendors are unfortunately out of our control. We are working to have more conversations with booking agents for future performance act events to hopefully address and alleviate any issues in the future.”

Spinnaker also reached out to O’Flanagan over Instagram about the event but no response has been received by the time of publication. 

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