Carole McGranahan describes a memorable case where academics shut down public discussion of their work: "Dialogue with the Public: Adam Yauch and Academic Snobbery". The subject of the story is the recently deceased Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch.
Before anyone on the panel could reply, one of the conference organizers—a Harvard professor—stood up and said forcefully that this was an “academic conference” and that “emotional” questions would not be entertained. He made it clear we were here to discuss real politics in an academic, dispassionate manner. That is: in discussing politics we were to be apolitical.
A celebrity unrecognized by the academics, asking a simple question.