Conservative Speaker Draws Cheers And Jeers

A story of national import surrounding an August 26 conservative banquet speaker’s penchant for stirring emotions and a local hotel’s desire to stay out of the political fray is unfolding in Boise.

In a nutshell, the Idaho Freedom Foundation has invited Charles Murray to speak at the conservative group’s annual banquet. Apparently based on Murray’s reputation for attracting angry demonstrators at Middlebury College in Vermont as reported in March by the WASHINGTON POST, the Riverside Hotel cancelled the IFF reservation a mere 10 days prior to the event.

The GUARDIAN is getting the story in bits and pieces from several sources, but the issue seems to be about the Hotel having what amounts to veto power over the choice of the Freedom Foundation’s speaker vs the understandable desire on the part of the hotel to keep a secure venue and not be subject to potential disruption for its guests.

Unlike “solar eclipse rate hikes,” the Riverside Hotel cancelled the IFF banquet reservation in the wake of the civil unrest and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Riverside came up with a payment of $10,000 to make amends for the late cancellation. It was obviously worth the money to the hotel to not be the venue for conservative Murray’s speech. The IFF calls the deal a “reimbursement” to cover their expenses and troubles to find a new venue. Ironically, the Freedom Foundation has previously held several other events at the Riverside, according to a spokesman.

The IFF event has been rebooked at Château des Fleurs in Eagle, Idaho. The address is 176 S. Rosebud Lane in Eagle.

IFF cried “foul” in an ONLINE MESSAGE to members saying, “The Leftist campaign to stifle the free exchange of ideas has struck a blow right here in Idaho. At the last minute, the venue where IFF was to host its annual celebration of freedom cancelled our reservation. For a while, we had no place to hold our August 26 banquet with renowned guest speaker CHARLES MURRAY.”

Murray is most famous for his 1994 book, “The BELL CURVE: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life,” described by one reviewer as, “…controversial, especially where the authors wrote about racial differences in intelligence and discussed the implications of those differences.”


Wayne Hoffman is the executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative lobbying group. He was recently featured in the BOISE WEEKLY as one of three power brokers who will most influence the Idaho gubernatorial primary race in March 2018. The Weekly article mentioned that candidates Raul Labrador and Tommy Ahlquist are supporters of the “shindig of the summer.”

The Weekly said, “The Idaho Freedom Foundation will host what is promised to be the “shindig of the summer for liberty lovers”—its annual Faces of Freedom Banquet, Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Riverside Hotel in Boise ($50 for non-members). There’s no official confirmation that Ahlquist, Labrador or (Lt. Gov Brad) Little will be on the guest list, but Ahlquist and Labrador have committed to being sponsors of the event. Hoffman reiterated that his organization doesn’t endorse, but it does have an interest in the outcome.”

Playing to his followers, Hoffman’s sales pitch also noted, “We will defy the thought police at every turn and continue to defend vigorous and healthy debate in the area of ideas. We will not allow fear and intimidation to silence us. To take a stand against this attack on thought, I invite you to join us August 26 at IFF’s Faces of Freedom Banquet at the Château des Fleurs in Eagle.”

Hoffman told the GUARDIAN that “the left” put pressure on the Riverside to cancel the banquet and they are also putting pressure on Château des Fleurs to also deny the group a venue.

UPDATE–In a comment below under the name “ILOVEYOUIDAHO,” Lynda Johnson of Johnson Hospitality, a Riverside owner, claims there was no “pressure from the left.” They just wanted to avoid the potential conflicts.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Kent Goldthorpe
    Aug 17, 2017, 2:45 pm

    Sincere disappointment that the Riverside chickened out from gaining a large piece of business as well as allowing the presentation of one particular event that was absolutely NOT designed to become an issue for any besides those looking for trouble. Just a shame, period, but certainly their right. I hope the folks in Eagle are stronger than that. I am not a member of the IFF but certainly acquainted with many members there as well as many in virtually all organizations across the Treasure Valley. Everyone should be able to present messages from their organization. Everyone should be able to voice an opinion, peacefully.

  2. I want to know what evidence he has for his claims that “leftists” are putting pressure on anybody about this. I’ve certainly heard no indication of it, and I like to think I keep up on such things.

  3. Bieter Begone
    Aug 17, 2017, 2:59 pm

    We used to have Freedom of Speech in this country and those on all sides of the aisle used to be willing to allow others to speak even if one didn’t agree. We used to fight speech with speech. Or we would live and let live.

    Now apparently, minds are so closed and atrophied that speech one doesn’t agree with is horrifying and pathetic people quail in horror.

    Once upon a time, sticks and stones would break my bones, but words could never hurt me.

    Once upon a time, I might disagree with what you say, but I would defend to the death your right to say it.

    Today – waaaahhhhhh I’m triggered. You’re too mean to me. You must shut up.

  4. ILoveYouIdaho
    Aug 17, 2017, 4:37 pm

    There was no pressure from anyone – no political motive, no desire to suppress free speech – only a business owner staying up all night researching a scheduled event. Please google Charles Murray protests, and read the 18 pages of news reports and videos, a long list of protests and riots at previous engagements. Then look at their Facebook page – this is how they were advertising their event in Boise – asking guests to watch a video showing protests at Middlebury College, and to then purchase tickets and come to The Riverside Hotel. A photo at the top of the page says, “College students in Vermont shouted him down, but you can see Charles Murray in Boise.” Is this an event you would want in your home? Is this something you would want to expose your guests and your beloved employees to? Especially in light of this week’s tragic events in Charlottesville?

    Our convention center/resort cannot separate guest rooms from the convention area. We are responsible for making certain our guests and employees are safe. In light of all the contention in the world, had we known about this volatile speaker, we would not have booked this event. There are venues that would be much more appropriate for them. We found out just two days ago, and we did the best we could to make things right. I hope you can understand the difficult situation we are in, and that my explanation gives you some clarity.

  5. So who are the owners of the Riverside? Could we know the names of the owners?

    EDITOR NOTE–See previous comment from Lynda Johnson at Johnson Hospitality.

  6. Thanks, ILoveYouIdaho, for giving us the straight story.

  7. I know whose books I’m going to buy and whose PAC I will donate to now. Thanks for the enlightening post Editor.

    As for the hotel, yep it’s their choice, and it is business-smart to drop it. Here’s why:
    -The left has paid protestors who do damage to venues.
    -The liberals in charge of the police do not offer services to protect the venue from the paid protestors. Exp. Virginia State Police last week allowed the clash to happen on the liberal Governor’s orders.
    -The employees of the venue tend to side with the left because they tend feel they deserve $150K per year for keeping the toilet fresh while only having six smoke breaks per shift.
    -A good rowdy New Year’s party that sells lots of booze is a safer bet for the venue.

    Conservative organizers simply need to keep all events outside of liberal controlled political districts like Boise City in the future.

  8. These are the wimps
    Aug 17, 2017, 10:43 pm

    The WIMPS listed as owners of the Riverside Hotel, per the Idaho Sec of State are:

    David L. Johnson
    David Wali
    Chris Beeson

    Must not be a single “ball” among the three.

    I for one will not be using the Riverside ever again.

  9. I don’t know Mr Guardian…. When I was growing up my parents told me that sticks and stones might break your bones but words would never hurt you…. And…. I may totally disagree with what you say but will defend your right to say it.

    I guess those days are long gone. It seems to me the best thing to do is not to go to events you don’t agree with or call attention to them. When hate groups on the right and left start talking to crickets in rented ball rooms they will stop renting them I would think.

  10. Oh god, listen to the rhetoric. Now if protesters show up anywhere they must be paid to protest, not just regular people protesting. Considering the timing, I can’t blame the Riverside. Tempers,nerves and emotions are frayed on both sides right now, why poke the ant pile? Just very poor timing, no one’s fault. I was actually going to go and hear what he has to say. Now probably not, I’ll read his books instead. I have to admit I have lost respect for the IFF as their claims and posts are as imflammatory and exagerated as anything from the left. The “free exchange ideas” lol, as long they are conservative of course.

    Dave you bring up a very important topic, the May 2018 primary where a small minority of voters will choose the republican candidates, which will in all likeliehood win their fall elections. The secretary of state website shows 1.2M people in Idaho of voting age. Only 750,000 are registered of those only 325,000+ are registered republicans. In 2014 150,000 republicans chose the next Governor- Otter over Fulcher. It is sad that in every venue print, online and news we talk about change, yet such a small percentage are willing to take part in the most important part- the primaries…The fakll elections are just affirmations of the choices made in the spring primaries.

  11. (re-post!)

    This is the first I was aware that Charles Murray was speaking in Boise… so obviously I’m not aware of any efforts to silence him. However, it’s hardly a stretch to imagine it happening. “Leftists” shouted him down at Middlebury College in Vermont earlier this year (and assaulted his host).

    Here (link) is an interesting article about the end of free speech in America.

    When the Riverside Hotel was spankin’ new, back at the height of the Vietnam War, I remember General William Westmoreland speaking there. Peaceful demonstrators showed up, both to support and oppose. (Back in the day, they had signs and megaphones, instead of guns and baseball bats and crowbars.) There was a news report – some bikers showed up, probably to support (bikers generally being a patriotic lot), and apparently some misguided police officers pushed a couple of their Harleys into the river. If memory serves, some ex-cops were looking for work and the municipality they once worked for made a meaningful payout to the damaged parties.

  12. ProudAmerican
    Aug 18, 2017, 1:02 pm

    I Get It – why don’t you first buy a map? The Riverside is in Garden City, not Boise. As for Kent Goldthorpe, it is shameful how as an elected official you continue to make unnecessarily divisive language. Other folks on this thread seem confused that the first amendment protects hate speech – it does not. Why don’t you go stand in a theater and yell “Fire” see how it works out to claim that was protected speech. And as for IFF and others to label those opposed to racism, bigotry, white nationalism and white supremacy as “leftists”, I think you mean “Americans” as the description fits most Americans, the Army Chief of Staff, the head of the Marine Corps and other patriots.

  13. Bieter Begone
    Aug 18, 2017, 1:17 pm

    Wow, Proud American. I guess you really don’t know that “hate”speech IS covered under the first amendment, whatever “hate ” speech is. (Which to most people nowadays means anything somebody says that they don’t agree with).

    I suggest you take a civics course.

    And BTW, yelling fire in a crowded theater is NOT “hate” speech but rather was one that presented a clear and present danger. I said WAS because since 1969 that standard has changed due to a Supreme Ct ruling Brandenburg V Ohio.

    I’ll even direct you to a ledtist publication to explain it to you.

    Read, comprehend and enjoy.

  14. No one has asked how Murray’s team and IFF became associated. Talk about failed research, did Murray’s team not research Hoffman and IFF? Would they have changed their mind if they had known more about Hoffman and IFF?

    Was it IFF that reached out and paid for Murray to come here?

    I know the narrative is that Murray is a libertarian conservative but his alma mater is Harvard. His op-eds have appeared in the Wash. Post, NY Times, The New Republic. Those aren’t exactly bastions of conservatism.

    The Bell Curve is certainly controversial, uh, man, I don’t want to touch this with a 10′ pole.

    But to throw more gas on this fire, another study out of Harvard called “The Downside of Diversity” comes to mind.

  15. ProudAmerican. The Riverside might be in GC but they proudly claim to be in Boise. Look it up. Heck, it even says Boise when you google it. Their letterhead says Boise.

  16. Dear ProudAmerican: Unless I’m mistaken, the “yelling fire in the crowded theater,” or even Mr. Murray speaking at the Riverside Hotel, are NOT protected by the First Amendment in any case. The Riverside management, and the theater management, can allow or disallow any speech they choose, as private property owners.

    On the other hand, supposedly the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to say what’s on his/her mind, regardless of whether you or I find it hateful or offensive, in a PUBLIC place. But that seems to be evolving. Can’t offend any Snowflake Sensibilities any more…

  17. ProudAmerican
    Aug 18, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Boise Cynic – the Riverside is “proudly” providing their address as assigned by the US Postal Service. Zip codes have a different geographic than city limits. Glad it’s dawning on you that “conservatives” sometimes graduate from Harvard.

    Bieter Begone – I’m so happy I baited you into reading a 2012 article from the Atlantic! Perhaps I should have used the term “violent speech” as the First Amendment does not protect speech that incites violence. I have no idea what Mr. Murray plans to say but there probably is no risk that a group of older white men will grab tiki torches and run through the streets of Eagle after his speech as opposed to the mobs in Charlottesville that beat an African American and the conservative young man who killed a woman and injured many more. I think he needed a civics course more than me, agreed? You just had your feelings hurt, but Heather Heyer died.

  18. No it is not unless you suffer Trump Derangement Syndrome
    Aug 19, 2017, 12:23 am
  19. ProudAmerican – What’s the deal with Riverside’s address and how is it even relevant to the discussion? But just to clarify, 83714 is Riverside’s zip which is GC. Just 200′ away across the river is 83702 which is Boise. I don’t blame them for using Boise. How many tourists have ever heard of Garden City? But I bet most have heard of Boise.

    Now, having gotten that out of the way, I’m not clear on what point you’re making. Are you sitting on the left or right side of the fence. The risk wasn’t that Murray’s group would run wild, it’s the counter protest The Riverside feared. The other problem is the fact it was Hoffman bringing him here. Had it been the Fettuccine Forum would it have been the same?

    I’m going to come right out and say it. I support Murray and The Bell Curve. I’ve read it and tons of its criticism. I still support it. I also subscribe to the Downside of Diversity.

    Regardless, I’m no Trump supporter. I’ve voted Democrat since the Bill Clinton years. But I’m an anti-immigrant Democrat. If Democrats don’t want a 2nd Trump term then they better dang well change their message. Don’t take it from me though, plenty of better and more respected writers than me have covered this.

    How The Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration

    Yeah, I’ve read Vox’s critique on this. Doesn’t change the fact that Trump won. And I’d like to point out, American social justice warriors should try emigrating to Mexico, or Canada or Australia or that socialist paradise of Denmark and see how that works out for them. I don’t mean love it or leave it. I mean literally try the process of emigrating.

    Every country in the world has an immigration policy. You can’t even visit abroad without jumping thru the bureaucratic hoops.

  20. Truth is the lefties are likely violating the law as defined by the Supreme Court decades ago by inciting violence against people and ideas they don’t like.

    A basic tenant in today’s politics is anything the lefty is whining about they are aggressively engaged in themselves. This concept has a basis in the psychological concept of projection. Always know that liberalism is a mental disease. Approaching a liberal with this in mind yields the best clarity in understanding of these profoundly screwed up people.

  21. ...too quiet
    Aug 19, 2017, 2:11 pm

    Charlotsville was a false flag event.
    Cops didn’t keep the two sides apart, didn’t intervene when the situation got hot, and the counter protestors were generated through a craigslist ad, and paid $25 an hour to cause trouble by a company called “Crowds on Demand” based in Los Angeles, CA.

    EDITOR NOTE–A simple web search did turn up this link. we have no proof whether or not someone hired them for that event.

  22. boisecynic – Garden City does not have a post office. The post office for 83714 is on Cole Road in Boise. The Riverside is correct in using Boise on their letterhead.

  23. ericn1300.. yeah.. they do. Marigold near Glenwood.

  24. ...too quiet
    Aug 21, 2017, 12:37 pm

    Mr Editor- research the Ferguson riots. Same thing happened. Paid protesters were bused in, and the cops just stood back while the “protesters” looted and burned the town. The Corporate TeeVee cameras were all there in force though…
    A scared population is easiest to control, therefore the 24/7 terrorism, riots, war, disaster and crime stories will continue until all of our civil liberties and freedoms have been confiscated.

  25. I am dazed at a few comments here.
    First of all, if you are on a political fringe of anything, you are most likely WRONG!
    That would include such comments as “anti-immigrant” from Boisecynic. If you are “anti___ (any group of people)” you are probably in the wrong.
    Oh, wait, I am anti-ignorant, bigots. I guess I’ll l have to reconsider my wording.

    I agree with ProudAmerican, that it is shameful that an elected official such as ACHD Commissioner Goldthorpe, makes such an opinionated statement (chickened out. stonger than that). But then he is simply in the shadow of Trump and some elected Idaho legislators, such as Heather Scott (fully endorsed by IFF); being right in-line with the extremist, nationalist ideology.
    Perhaps the guest speaker (Murray) could divert his IQ research to IQ tests of IFF members and Idaho TeaParty members- the typical rural, white, uneducated, religious person, who wants to scapegoat immigrants and minorities for one’s perceived circumstances. If IFF is truly concerned about Idaho, they should be finding ways to maximize K-12 education funding in rural Idaho. Rural poverty and the related ignorance is Idaho’s issue, not racial profiling or “paid protesters”.

    If anyone finds it necessary to join such a group and offer your money to their objective, one might want to ask what the real motivation is.
    People who tolerate such negative opinions from other people are just as bad as those generating the vulgar words and ignorant opinions. Hitler killed himself; his disciples were put on trial.

    Engaging in debate and free speech is fine, tolerating ignorant speech achieves nothing.
    Perhaps C. Goldthorpe and ACHD would like to host IFF at ACHD’s public auditorium.

    Good job to the Riverside for pulling the plug on IFF’s plan.

  26. Editor as to your note of “a simple web search turns up” the ‘hired protesters’ reference:
    another simple search shows that same “business” shares the exact address with “Beverly Hills Photography”.
    A world conglomerate perhaps? ha!

    I can create a website announcing “Rednecks for Hire” and then publish false statements that “Rednecks for Hire” is available to crash your wedding (or political rally). And I’ll bring a professional photographer too.
    Maybe HuffingtonPost will pick up my ‘false story’- that my business paid a million rednecks to show up at the last inauguration.
    May I put the address of “too quiet” for contact info?

    “A false flag” in Charlottesville? fake stories and idiots are roaming wild!
    Such statements are sad.
    Hey, too quiet, I suppose you and Alex Jones still think 9/11 was an inside job. Please hide in your closet forever.

    From the folks at the Chateau, a poem by Saadi:

    Human beings are members of a whole,
    In creation of one essence and soul.

    If one member is afflicted with pain,
    Other members uneasy will remain.

    If you’ve no sympathy for human pain,
    The name of human you cannot retain!

    “or, one can be anti-people”. :-/

  27. Anti-Commie
    Aug 22, 2017, 9:48 pm

    Eastie are you a Commie, or whatever they are called these days?? You know not even the Commies are voting for Commies in Russia. China is diluting it’s system with capitalism for individual wealth creation. Trump rocked in AZ tonight. Give up, you are beat the world over and especially here in Idaho.

  28. ...too quiet
    Aug 23, 2017, 12:39 pm

    Easterner – Your “political fringe” comment is hilarious.

    In America, we have what is described as the two biggest hate groups in America, the Democrats and Republicans, who are both laser focused on the belief that their team would succeed if not for those hated others.
    “Politically moderate” is code for ideas approved of by the Deep State.
    The “political fringe” is used to discredit anyone with beliefs not manufactured and certified by the corporate media.
    In reality, the political fringe are the only folks worth listening to, since everyone else is just regurgitating Deep State propaganda.
    Easterner, your red pill awaits, just swallow and say goodbye to The Matrix.

  29. Insecticide needed
    Aug 23, 2017, 2:29 pm

    Trump is the first guy to be president who was rich before getting elected (in recent history). Therefore all the political maggots of both political parties are very upset they don’t have a way to control him. These maggots have been inventing one scandal after another hoping something will stick. We don’t need to be rid of Trump, we simply need insecticide for the political maggots.

  30. Trumplandia
    Aug 23, 2017, 3:53 pm

    Wow! Guardian your post has spawned a record amount of valueless discussion completely divorced from the realities of our country. History never goes backwards. Like it or not the country is moving ahead and we can either try to make it work or move closer to chaos. Name calling and personal attacks move us toward chaos. Constructive dialog and compromise are a positive way to move forward but obviously not a strategy useful to many of your commenters. Wow!. Finally, I’m not sure why it matters whether the Riverside hotel is located. I must have to be a commie libtard paid protester or a right wing Nazi, America Firster to understand that conundrum. I guess I’m way out of the looney loop.

  31. What he said
    Aug 23, 2017, 4:40 pm
  32. Easterner, why should we subsidize immigrants?

    Why do the execs at Janus aka Mountain States Group ada Agency for New Americans make six figure salaries? Why don’t they just volunteer their work? And why do they need to hide behind so many names?

    Look around you. We have native born people who can’t afford to go to college and yet we’re shelling out how many $billions to resettle immigrants?

    If they want to come here by their own means, then fine. There is only a finite amount of taxpayer fund to go around and it is a huge slap in the face to native born citizens to have their social safety net cut only to fund immigrants.

    Everyone notice how Easterner didn’t address the emigration issue to Canada or Australia or China or the UK?

    You need something like $500,000 to emigrate to Australia either that or a business that can instantly employee at least 10 Australians. Maybe they’re immigrant hating bigots too, huh?

    Don’t even try to emigrate to Mexico, it can’t be done.

  33. boisecynic, you have a personal problem.

    First, there is a difference between immigrants and refugees. You are confusing the two.
    Jannus works with refugees.
    US Dept of State works with immigrants.

    Immigrants AND refugees are the seeds of America! Any opinion not embracing that fact is just ignorance.

    You typed, “Citizens can’t afford to go to college…”
    Yet you are implying ‘we’ should ‘subsidize’ them to go to college?
    In YOUR own words, “IF they want to {go to college} on their own means, then fine”.
    IF a “native born”?
    So a Mexican child born in Texas (to a non US Citizen) needs their “social safety net”, right? Are you okay with those second generation immigrants, or is just the ones with blue eyes?

    To correct your misunderstanding Cynic, we are not “resettling immigrants”. We help resettle refugees.

    Cynic, you simply need to pick up a book and read about scapegoating- exactly what you are doing- best reference is Europe in the 1930’s. Maybe you can use Google for a search on the topic. Google, a great American company started by a couple of immigrants. Maybe YOU, personally, “subsidized” them too. ha! 🙂

    But first, try to decide if you are scapegoating “refugees” or “immigrants”.
    Big difference!!!!

    And then read this a few times:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Those “Americans” who don’t believe in the principles of immigration and providing shelter to refugees, do not understand the real principles of America and humanity. It is ignorant Nationalism. It’s sad!
    Perhaps they should be cast out of this land and be refugees themselves.

  34. Eastener, you should disclose whether you work for Janus or not. Because it really seems like you’re very worried about losing a source of income.

    “Immigrants AND refugees are the seeds of America!” What does this even mean? I bet American Indians don’t use such handy euphemisms to describe the immigration that destroyed their culture.

    Janus execs make 6 figure salaries taking advantage of grant money related to the 37 year old 1980 Refugee Act meant to deal with Cubans and Vietnamese. It’s time for reform and millions of people voted that way.

    The only principle of America that matters is that it’s a democracy. Sounds like you have a problem with democracy and you’re grasping at straws. It’s an understandable dilemma. I’m sure you believe in democracy but you can’t come to grips with the fact that it went against you this time. Hey, you win some you lose some.

    Regarding: A Mexican child born in Texas is not a Mexican, he or she is an American under current law and that’s off topic.

    Refugees vs immigrants? Come on, one is a subset of the other and you’re being pedantic. To Trump’s base it’s irrelevant

    You’re missing the big picture. Trump won on a base of disaffected blue collar workers. They apparently exist in the 10s of millions and they vote. Not only did Trump beat Hilary he beat the Republican status quo as well. It was an astounding piece of work. I’ll say it again. If Democrats don’t want a 2nd Trump term then they better come to grips with blue collar America. What’s really funny is the Democrats used to be the party of the blue collar worker.

    You need to read The Downside of Diversity and The Atlantic article on Democrats and Immigration.

    I have lived in more than one “diverse” neighborhood and exactly as described in Downside of Diversity, there was little integration. There was little participation by immigrants in the local gov’t. It is not a panacea and to think otherwise is naive idealism. I guess I’m just an outlier and my experience is useless anecdote right?

    And finally, I bet I’ve done more to help immigrants and poor than 90% of the people out there. You’re just going to have to take my word for it but I’ve worked in a couple of businesses which focused on the 99%. Honestly, that path was probably a mistake, it’s pretty hard trying to get rich selling to poor people unless you’re a Walmart or something.

    EDITOR NOTE–Time to go to your rooms and be quiet for awhile. You guys have each had more space than the original story times about 4! Comments closed.

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