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Milo Yiannopoulos (/jəˈnɒpələs/;[3] born Milo Hanrahan, 18 October 1984), or pen name Milo Andreas Wagner,[4] is a British far-right[5] political commentator, public speaker, and writer. Yiannopoulos is a former editor for Breitbart News who describes himself as a "cultural libertarian". Through his speeches and writings, he ridicules Islam, feminism, social justice, and political correctness.[2][6][7]

Milo Yiannopoulos
Milo Yiannopoulos 2016.jpg
Yiannopoulos in 2016
Born
Milo Hanrahan

(1984-10-18) 18 October 1984 (age 34)
Kent, England
Other namesMilo Andreas Wagner
CitizenshipBritish
EducationUniversity of Manchester (dropped out)
Wolfson College, Cambridge (expelled)[1]
OccupationWriter
Years active2007–present
Movement"Cultural libertarianism"[2]
Children1
Websitedangerous.com

Yiannopoulos was one of the first journalists to cover the Gamergate controversy. He worked for Breitbart from 2015 until 2017. After moving to the United States, Yiannopoulos became a supporter of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. In July 2016 he was permanently banned from Twitter for harassment.[8][9] He was permanently banned from Facebook in 2019.[10][11][12][13]

According to leaked emails, some of Yiannopoulos' work at Breitbart was based on feedback he received from neo-Nazis and white nationalists. These leaked emails also showed that his book, Dangerous, and many of his Breitbart articles were ghost-written by a Breitbart colleague.[14]

Yiannopoulos has been accused of being an apologist for or supporting paedophilia. The allegation arose from several video clips in which he said that sexual relationships between 13-year-old boys and adult men and women can be "perfectly consensual" and positive experiences for the boys.[15] Following the release of the video, Yiannopoulos was forced out of his position at Breitbart, his invitation to speak before the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was revoked, and a contract to publish his autobiography with Simon & Schuster was cancelled. Yiannopoulos has said that he is not a supporter of paedophilic relationships and that his statements were merely attempts to cope with his own victimhood, as an object of child abuse by unnamed older men.

Contents

Early life and personal life

Born as Milo Hanrahan, Yiannopoulos was born and raised in Kent, England. His father is of half-Greek and half-Irish descent. Yiannopoulos claims his father wanted to divorce his mother while she was pregnant with him; however, his parents remained together for six more years before divorcing. He described his biological father as "terrifying", remarking at one point, "I would think, if my dad is just a doorman, why do we have such a nice house? Then I saw it on The Sopranos".[16]

Raised by his mother and her second husband, Yiannopoulos has stated that he did not have a good relationship with his stepfather. Yiannopoulos has spoken of how his stepfather would beat him up. In a previous interview, he told The Times: "My mother never really stopped that stuff happening with my stepdad. She just let it go on. I don't want to go too much into it... it's ancient history. But I did not have a happy time." He is described as a practising Roman Catholic, but also states that he is Jewish; Yiannopoulos states his maternal grandmother was Jewish. As a teenager, Yiannopoulos lived with his paternal grandmother Petronella, whose surname he later adopted. In January 2019, Yiannopoulos performed a song called "Silver & Gold", written by Kirk Franklin. The song chronicles a desire to place Jesus above luxury and fame.[17]

Yiannopoulos was educated at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury from which he has said he was expelled. He attended the University of Manchester but dropped out before graduating; he then read English at Wolfson College, Cambridge, but was sent down (expelled) in 2010. In a 2012 interview, he said of dropping out, "I try to tell myself I'm in good company, but ultimately it doesn't say great things about you unless you go on to terrific success in your own right".[18]

Yiannopoulos is a U.S. resident alien on O-1 visa status. He married his long-term boyfriend, an African-American man, in Hawaii, in September 2017. The couple prefer at present to keep the identity of his husband secret.[19]

Career

 
Yiannopoulos speaking in Berlin in 2014

After university, Yiannopoulos initially secured a job at The Catholic Herald. He was interested in becoming a theatre critic. However, Yiannopoulos' break came with his interest in technology journalism while investigating the subject of women in computing in 2009 for The Daily Telegraph.[20]

The Telegraph Tech Start-Up 100

Yiannopoulos organised a method of ranking the most promising technology start-ups in Europe, The Telegraph Tech Start-Up 100, in 2011. It operated through an events company called Wrong Agency, started by Yiannopoulos and David Rosenberg, a friend from the University of Cambridge but the company was dissolved shortly after the ceremony that awarded the top start-up. Mike Butcher of TechCrunch said the main prize had been given to music-streaming service Spotify, even though his casting vote had gone to the controversial payday loan company Wonga, because The Telegraph considered Wonga's reputation objectionable.[21]

The Kernel

Together with university friends David Rosenberg and David Haywood Smith, journalist Stephen Pritchard and former Telegraph employee Adrian McShane, Yiannopoulos launched The Kernel in November 2011 to "fix European technology journalism". The Kernel was at that time owned by Sentinel Media.[22]

In 2012, the online magazine became embroiled in a legal dispute with one of its contributors after he said it failed to pay money owed to him. The Kernel closed in March 2013, with thousands of pounds owed to former contributor Jason Hesse when he won a summary judgement from an employment tribunal against parent company Sentinel Media. Margot Huysman, whom Yiannopoulos had appointed associate editor and was one of the people seeking payment, said that many working for the site had been "screwed over" personally and financially.[23]

The Kernel was relaunched in August 2013, based between London and Berlin, with a focus on "modern warfare, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, pornography and space travel", but without newsletter The Nutshell. In 2014, The Kernel was acquired by Daily Dot Media, the parent company of The Daily Dot. After the acquisition by Daily Dot Media, Yiannopoulos stepped down as editor-in-chief, although he remained an adviser to the company.[24][25]

 
Speaking at LeWeb conference at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London, June 2013

Gamergate

Yiannopoulos played a role in early news coverage of the Gamergate controversy, criticising what he saw as the politicisation of video game culture by "an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers."[26]

As part of his coverage of Gamergate, he published correspondence from GameJournoPros, a private mailing list used by video game journalists to discuss industry related topics. Kyle Orland, the creator of the list, responded to the leak on Ars Technica. Orland disputed the claim that the list suggested collusion among journalists, but said that he had written a message saying several things that he later regretted.[27]

In May 2015, a meetup in Washington D.C. for supporters of Gamergate arranged by Yiannopoulos and Christina Hoff Sommers was targeted by a bomb threat made over Twitter, according to the local police responding to information supplied by the FBI. Similarly, three months later in August 2015, an event at the Koubek Center in Miami sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists was targeted by bomb threats, forcing the evacuation of the building and the suspension of a panel with Yiannopoulos and Sommers.[28]

Breitbart Tech

In October 2015, the Breitbart News Network placed Yiannopoulos in charge of its new "Breitbart Tech" section. The site has six full-time staff, including an eSports specialist, and was edited by Yiannopoulos until his resignation on 21 February 2017.[29]

Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant

Yiannopoulos and several figures in the alt-right participated in a five-hour online telethon to raise money for the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant. In August 2016, Yiannopoulos reported that approximately $100,000 had been received in donations and a further $250,000 had been pledged.[30]

In August 2016, it was revealed that the grant had been mismanaged. Yiannopoulos apologised for mismanaging the grant and admitted that he had missed a deadline for turning donations into bursaries. He denied speculation he had spent the money. In March 2018, Yiannopoulos confirmed that the fund had been closed down.[31]

In November 2017 he was hired by the conservative American news and opinion website The Daily Caller to write a weekly column, but was fired after his first column was published, and the opinion editor who hired him was also consequently fired.[32]

Debt

In December 2018, The Guardian reported that documents assembled by his former Australian tour promoters, Australian Events Management, showed Yiannopoulos had accrued more than $2 million in unpaid debt. Yiannopoulos reportedly owed $1.6 million to his own company, $400,000 to the Mercer Family Foundation, $153,215 to his former lawyers, $76,574 to former collaborator and Breitbart writer Allum Bokhari, and $20,000 to the luxury jewellery brand Cartier. Yiannopoulos told The Guardian in an email that the documents were related to "company debts, not personal", and that he is "doing fine and bringing in $40k US a month". His effort to raise money via Patreon was terminated by the crowdsourcing platform after one day because they "don't allow association with or supporting hate groups".[33]

Controversies

Feminism, freedom of speech and the "No Platform" policy

The No Platform policy of the UK's National Union of Students is intended to protect campuses from "individuals or members of organisations or groups identified by the Democratic Procedures Committee as holding racist or fascist views".[34]

Yiannopoulos and feminist Julie Bindel were scheduled to participate in October 2015 in the University of Manchester Free Speech and Secular Society's debate "From liberation to censorship: does modern feminism have a problem with free speech?". However, the Students' Union banned first Bindel, then also Yiannopoulos. The Union cited Bindel's comments on transgender women and Yiannopoulos' opinions on rape culture and stated that both breached the Union's safe-space policy.[35]

Yiannopoulos was scheduled to talk at Bristol University the following month. After protesters attempted to have him banned from the university, the event became a debate between Yiannopoulos and The Daily Telegraph blogger and feminist Rebecca Reid.[36]

Yiannapoulos has stated that both women and Asians have been scientifically proven to be worse at discerning spatial relations. "It's the only thing Saudi Arabia gets right," he commented about the nation's ban on female drivers. "Behind every racist joke is a scientific fact."[37]

In January 2018, Yiannopoulos reported a fictitious news story, written by a spoof news-site, as being true. The article claimed that an English High Court had ruled that the National Health Service was legally obliged to offer cervical smear tests to men. Unaware that the story was satire, Yiannopoulos argued that the story exemplified the thinking of those living in 'feminist clown world'. Before reading out the article verbatim, Yiannopoulos insisted that he had researched the story and promised that 'this is real, I haven't just made this up'.[38]

Social media controversies and bans

In December 2015, Twitter briefly suspended Yiannopoulos' account after he changed his profile to describe himself as BuzzFeed's "social justice editor." His Twitter account's blue "verification" checkmark was removed by the site the following month.[39] Twitter declined to give an explanation for the removal of verification, saying that they do not comment on individual cases. Some news outlets speculated that Yiannopoulos had violated its speech and harassment codes, as with an instance where he told another user that they "deserved to be harassed." Others worried that Twitter was targeting conservatives.[39][40]

For his criticism of Islam after the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, a terrorist attack on a gay nightclub, his Twitter account was briefly suspended in June 2016. His account was later restored.[41]

In July 2016, Yiannopoulos panned the Ghostbusters reboot as "a movie to help lonely middle-aged women feel better about being left on the shelf." After the film's release, Twitter trolls attacked African-American actress Leslie Jones with racist slurs and bigoted commentary. Yiannopoulos wrote three public tweets about Jones, saying "Ghostbusters is doing so badly they've deployed [Leslie Jones] to play the victim on Twitter," before describing her reply to him as "Barely literate" and then calling her a "black dude". Multiple media outlets have described Yiannopoulos' tweets as encouraging the abuse directed at Jones. Yiannopoulos was then permanently banned by Twitter for what the company cited as "inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others". He later stated that he was banned because of his conservative beliefs.[42]

On 2 May 2019, Yiannopoulos and several other influential people in politics and culture, including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and conspiracy theorists and fellow right-wing pundits Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson, were permanently banned from Facebook, which called them "dangerous." "We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology," a Facebook spokesperson said. "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."[43]

Remarks on paedophilia and child sexual abuse

In February 2017, it was announced that Yiannopoulos would address the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). A conservative website, Reagan Battalion, then posted video of 2015 and 2016 clips of YouTube interviews at the request of a 16-year-old Canadian student who was opposed to Yiannopoulos' CPAC address.

In the interview in a January 2016 episode of the podcast Drunken Peasants, Yiannopoulos stated that sexual relationships between 13-year-old boys and adult men and women can "happen perfectly consensually", because some 13-year-olds are, in his view, sexually and emotionally mature enough to consent to sex with adults; he spoke favourably both of gay 13-year-old boys having sex with adult men and straight 13-year-old boys having sex with adult women. He used his own experience as an example, saying he was mature enough to be capable of giving consent at a young age. He also stated that "paedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who is sexually mature" but rather that "paedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty." Later in the interview, after his previous comments received some pushback from the hosts, he stated: "I think the age of consent law is probably about right, that is probably roughly the right age ... but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age, I certainly consider myself to be one of them."[44]

Yiannopoulos subsequently held a press conference, at which he said he had been the victim of child abuse, and that his comments were a way to cope with it. He declined to identify his abusers or discuss the incidents in any detail. He characterised his comments as the "usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humour", and dismissed the allegation that he endorses child molestation. He alleged that the video had been edited to give a misleading impression, and stated, "I will not apologise for dealing with my life experiences in the best way that I can, which is humour. No one can tell me or anyone else who has lived through sexual abuse how to deal with those emotions. But I am sorry to other abuse victims if my own personal way of dealing with what happened to me has hurt you."[45] In response to the controversy, Simon & Schuster cancelled its plans to publish his autobiography in June 2017. Media outlets reported on 20 February that Breitbart was considering terminating Yiannopoulos' contract as a result of the controversy. Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart on 21 February, reportedly under pressure to do so.[46]

Matthew Rozsa of Salon.com wrote that although Yiannopoulos is technically correct in distinguishing between paedophilia, hebephilia, and ephebophilia, "it is still illegal in most parts of the Western world for an adult to have sex with a minor."[47] Margaret Hartmann of New York magazine additionally acknowledged the definitions for hebephilia and ephebophilia, but stated, "The lowest and most common age of consent across the U.S. is 16."[48]

Yiannopoulos was later criticized for attending Hollywood "boat parties" and "house parties" in which boys he described as "very young – very young" were sexually abused, but failing to report the abusers to the authorities or to identify them during an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience. When asked about this by Ryan Lizza of New York magazine, Yiannopoulos said he "didn't check anyone's I.D.s." and that he "had no idea what the ages of any of those people at the parties were." He stated that when he said "very young" he was assuming that they were sixteen or seventeen. He reiterated that he doesn't "advocate for any illegal behavior" or excuse it.[49] When, on 10 March, an additional video emerged in which he said on a 2015 episode of Gavin McInnes's show that child sexual abuse is "really not that big a deal. You can't let it ruin your life," Yiannopoulos was criticized for mocking child sexual abuse victims by calling them "whinging selfish brats" for "suddenly" remembering they were abused, and "suddenly" deciding it was a problem, 20 years after the abuse occurred. He also stated that a disproportionate number of paedophiles are homosexual.[50]

Commenting again on his child sexual abuse remarks, Yiannopoulos stated, "I did say something in the course of that conversation that I didn't intend, and for that I apologized." He continued, "I did it incautiously and I did it in sloppy language." He did, however add, "If I want to joke about a priest who did whatever he did to me when I was younger, I'm entitled to do so."[51]

Association with Neo-Nazism and the alt-right

Much of the work at Breitbart which brought Yiannopoulos to national attention was inspired by the ideas of neo-Nazis and white nationalists. In October 2017, leaked emails revealed that Yiannopoulos had repeatedly solicited neo-Nazi and white supremacist figures on the alt-right for feedback and story ideas in his work for the website Breitbart. The leaked emails also showed that his book, Dangerous, and many of his Breitbart articles were ghost-written by a Breitbart colleague.[14]

Yiannopoulos is commonly associated with the alt-right. In a November 2016 interview with Channel 4, Yiannopoulos talked about his relationship with the movement – "We're fellow travellers on some issues. But I'm very pro-Iraq, I'm very pro-Israel. There are all sorts of points of difference, I think."[52]

In a Breitbart article, Yiannopoulos and a co-author described the alt-right movement as "dangerously bright". The Tablet stated that many of these intellectual backers write for publications it describes as racist and antisemitic, such as VDARE and American Renaissance. The Breitbart article was criticised by opponents of the alt-right for excusing the extremist elements of the movement, and also by the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer which holds that racism and antisemitism are pillars of the alt-right.[53]

The Anti-Defamation League classifies Yiannopoulos as part of the alt-lite; a term used to distinguish individuals sometimes associated with the alt-right from those who are openly white nationalist and anti-semitic.[54] These accusations, as well as Yiannopoulos's support for Trump, have contributed to a feud between Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro, a Jewish conservative political commentator who refused to support Trump in the 2016 election. Shapiro accused Yiannopoulos, his followers, and other Trump supporters of racist and anti-Semitic behaviour. He criticized Yiannopoulos's attempts to distinguish between real racist or bigoted behaviour and trolling, stating that "words have meaning" and that the distinction that Yiannopoulos was attempting to make "simply doesn’t exist in objective reality".[55]

In October 2016, during an interview with BBC, Yiannopoulos argued that the alt-right was primarily concerned with "immigration, trade and political correctness and free speech generally". He suggested that the alt-right takes a number of different forms, from "classical-liberals, disaffected leftists, ordinary conservatives, and this new young very energised, trolly, mischievous youthful contingent that has suddenly become interested in politics again, and that's the wing that I am most closely associated with, because that's the most exciting bit". He described this contingent of the alt-right as "sort of unstoppable at the moment" and "the bit of the movement that will win".[56]

Leaked Breitbart emails

In early October 2017, BuzzFeed News published leaked email chains from Yiannopoulos' tenure at Breitbart. According to the report, Yiannopoulos and his ghostwriter Allum Bokhari regularly solicited ideas for stories and comments from people associated with the alt-right and neo-Nazi movements. Among the figures Yiannopoulos contacted were Curtis Yarvin, a central figure of the neoreactionary movement; Devin Saucier, the editor of the white supremacist magazine American Renaissance; Andrew Auernheimer, the administrator of neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer; and Baked Alaska, a commentator known for his anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi tweets. Yiannopoulos also was in contact and received suggestions and texts from individuals in "traditionally liberal professions" such as entertainment and media. Mitchell Sunderland from Vice News emailed Yiannopoulos a link to an article by Lindy West of The New York Times, and requested: "Please mock this fat feminist." The report also included a video of Yiannopoulos singing "America the Beautiful" at a karaoke bar, where a crowd of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, including Saucier and Richard B. Spencer, cheered him with the Nazi sieg heil salute.[57]

Yiannopoulos has subsequently claimed that he did not see the Nazi salutes while he was singing, citing what he claimed to be "extreme myopia". According to the bartender who was working on the night of the incident, Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer and their entourage came into the bar and asked to sing karaoke even though it had ended. When the bartender saw the Nazi salutes she rushed the stage and told Yiannopoulos and his friends to leave, at which point they began harassing her, chanting "Trump! Trump! Trump!" and "Make America Great Again!" According to her, Yiannopoulos was getting the others "roused". The group left after the bartender's coworkers backed her up.[58]

The story also reported that Yiannopoulos had a penchant for using personal passwords with anti-semitic overtones, such as "Kristall", a reference to Kristallnacht, a pogrom the Nazis initiated against Jews in 1938, and "longknives1290", a compound reference to the Night of the Long Knives (another Nazi massacre), and 1290, the year of the Edict of Expulsion, by which Edward I of England expelled all Jews from his kingdom.[59]

In 2018, Yiannopoulos bragged on Instagram and Facebook that he donated $14.88 to Talia Lavin, a Jewish journalist. In Neo-Nazi and Alt-right circles, 14 represents the Fourteen Words ("We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children") and 88 is code for Heil Hitler. PayPal and the PayPal-owned Venmo subsequently suspended his account.[60][61]

Violence against journalists

On 26 June 2018, reports surfaced that Yiannopoulos had told at least two news organisations who had requested comments that he wanted vigilantes to shoot journalists. According to a reporter for the New York Observer, he wrote in a text message "I can't wait for vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight". Two days later, following a shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland in which five people were killed, Yiannopoulos denied that his comments were responsible, adding that his remarks were a joke. He later posted on Instagram that he sent the messages to troll journalists. On Facebook he wrote "You’re about to see a raft of news stories claiming that I am responsible for inspiring the deaths of journalists." and "The truth, as always, is the opposite of what the media tells you."[62]

In October 2018, following several instances in which pipe bombs had been sent to prominent Trump critics, Yiannopoulos posted the following comment on Instagram: "Just catching up with news of all these pipe bombs. Disgusting and sad (that they didn't go off, and the daily beast didn't get one)". After initially refusing to remove the comment when it was reported as hate speech, Instagram later deleted the post.[63]

Glasgow University

In 2017 Yiannopoulos was nominated for rector of Glasgow University. He sparked controversy after saying that he would demand the Muslim Students Association to be banned.[64] He justified his call asserting need to protect the LGBTQ community from a Muslim society which according to him represented "a homophobic, theocratic system". Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, who was the successful candidate for rector, condemned the demand calling it "another example of his Islamophobic diatribe".[65][66] Student Hollie Hallam, who launched a petition against Yiannopoulos, noted that in light of his previous remarks about LGBTQ community (suggesting transgender people are mentally ill),[67][68] and beside the fact that Muslims are often part of that community themselves, his motives to ban Muslim organisation are all "about Islamophobia".[65]

The Queen Margaret Union responded with a statement of their own saying, among other, that people who would like to silence organisations which are "an important part of campus life", like the Muslim Students Association, are "no friends of ours, and no defenders of free speech, however much they would like to claim otherwise" nor welcomed on campus.[66] The university's Anarchist Student Group organised demonstrations protesting against Yiannopoulos's nomination.[66][69]

Media coverage

Yiannopoulos was twice featured in Wired UK's yearly top 100 most influential people in Britain's digital economy: at 84 in 2011 and at 98 in 2012. In 2012, he was called the "pit bull of tech media" by Ben Dowell of The Observer.[70]

Charity work

In 2009, Yiannopoulos organised the London Nude Tech Calendar, which is a calendar featuring members of the London technology scene for the purpose to raise money for an organisation called Take Heart India.[71]

Yiannopoulos hosted an event known as the Young Rewired State competition in 2010, which is an initiative to showcase the technological talents of 15–18-year-olds.[72]

Political views

Yiannopoulos describes himself as a provocateur and "the most fabulous supervillain on the Internet" and a "lovable rogue."[51]

In the UK, he supported the Conservative Party before applying to join the UK Independence Party in June 2018.[73][74]

Trump

Yiannopoulos is a supporter of Donald Trump. He has been compared to Ann Coulter and referred to as the "face of a political movement," but he says his real concern is "pop culture and free speech." As he said during the 2016 election season: "I don't care about politics, I only talk about politics because of Trump." He added, "I think my legacy might be longer than Trump's. I'm attacking the disease, not the symptoms. Also, he doesn't read. But I still love him. And he's still my daddy. Nobody's perfect."[37]

Following Trump's decision to attack a Syrian air base in April 2017, Yiannopoulos distanced himself from the President, stating that the missile strike was "the opposite of why people voted for him." He called for an end to "pointless foreign wars" and posted on his Facebook page, "There comes a day in every child's life when his Daddy disappoints him." This sentiment was shared by a sizeable number of Trump's supporters, including Paul Joseph Watson, Ann Coulter, and Mike Cernovich, who was the first to report on the impending attack. He remained generally supportive of him afterward, however. In a July 2017 interview, he described himself as "Trump-sexual." He added, "He projects an aura of confident masculinity that was very lacking in the presidency in the eight years that preceded him. I think people like the fact that he's just a bloke, he's a dude."[75][76]

In August 2018, Yiannopoulos claimed that he was a "significant factor" in the election of Donald Trump as US President. Yiannopoulos has defended Trump against allegations of colluding with Russia but expressed a willingness to change his mind if more evidence emerges. "We know perfectly well that people at the top of campaigns sometimes don't know what's going on around them. If Donald Trump was directly involved in collusion with the Russian government and that's the only thing that got him elected then that does change things, sure," he said.[77][51]

Islam

Yiannopoulos is a frequent critic of Islam. Following the June 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, he claimed that all of Islam, not simply a small group of radicals, was responsible for mistreating women and homosexuals. He said:

I'm not talking about Islamists. I'm not talking about terrorists. I'm not talking about radical Islam. I'm talking about mainstream Muslim culture. There are eleven Muslim countries in which I could be killed for being a homosexual. The state penalty is death. One hundred million people live in country [sic] where the penalty for homosexuality is death. This is not radical Islam. This is mainstream Muslim society. Look what's happening in Sweden. Look what's happening anywhere in Germany, anywhere there are large influxes of a Muslim population. Things don't end well for women and gays. The left has got to make a decision. Either they want female emancipation and it wants gay rights or it wants Islam. It's got to pick.[78]

Yiannopoulos described social attitudes of Western Muslims as "horribly regressive." He has attempted to distinguish his opposition to Muslim immigration into the West from racism. "[D]on't be scared by allegations of racism, but by the same token, don't be a racist," he said.[79] After the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings, Yiannopoulos condemned the violence but wrote on Facebook that attacks like that happen "because the establishment panders to and mollycoddles extremist leftism and barbaric, alien religious cultures." He was widely criticized for this description and banned from making an intended speaking tour in Australia in 2019.[80][81]

In July 2019, during an interview with the Jewish Journal, Yiannopoulos self identified as an Islamophobe.[82]

Women and feminism

Yiannapoulos is a frequent critic of feminism and "dumpy lesbians." He has frequently written articles that have been criticised as misogynous. In a Breitbart article titled, "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy", he asserts that the combined oral contraceptive pill causes women to become hysterical, sexually promiscuous and obese. He declared his birthday "World Patriarchy Day". In 2016, Yiannapoulos published a Breitbart article entitled, "Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism Or Cancer?" [37][83][84][6]

He describes feminists as "easy to wind up." In a speech in December 2017, Yiannopoulos strongly criticised the idea of a gender pay gap in which men make more than women for the same work, attributing the discrepancy to "different educational choices, different preferences and the fact [women] have to have children." He said that many of the goals of the women's rights movement, such as equal pay and equal access to education, have already been met, and that therefore feminism, "since it has run out of things to complain about," has become "a mean, vindictive, sociopathic, man-hating movement."[83]

He has frequently attacked a number of female comedians and entertainers. During a 17 February 2017 interview with Bill Maher on HBO's Real Time, Yiannopoulos claimed that the Democratic Party is "the party of Lena Dunham," adding that "the more that America sees of Lena Dunham, the fewer votes that the Democratic Party is going to get." He said that Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman used to be funny "before they contracted feminism."[85]

Yiannopoulos favours banning women from military combat units. "All the evidence suggests that mixed combat units are far less effective, far less happy, morale and performance collapse when you introduce men and women on the front lines together," he said. "I'm not talking about the whole armed forces because women in intelligence units and all the rest of it have shown to be a huge asset. But on the front line in combat units, it's a fucking disaster and everybody knows it." He said that Trump's ban on transgenders serving in the military should have gone further to include women in combat.[76]

LGBT issues

While Yiannopoulos is openly gay, he has described being gay as "aberrant" and "a lifestyle choice guaranteed to bring [gay people] pain and unhappiness."[86]

Some of his earliest mainstream media appearances concerned sexuality. In 2011 he debated same-sex marriage on Channel 4's 10 O'Clock Live with Boy George, and a year later on Newsnight. In 2013 he opposed the provision of "Soho masses". In November 2013, he debated with singer Will Young on Newsnight about the use of the word "gay" as a playground taunt.[87]

During an interview with Joe Rogan, in 2015, Yiannopoulos said that "If I could choose, I wouldn't be a homosexual." Asked if he would be willing to cure himself of homosexuality, if such a thing was ever invented, Yiannopoulos replied "Well, it would be career suicide, but I probably would, yeah".[88]

In July 2017, Milo supported President Trump's announcement to prohibit transgender military service in the United States Army. "You don't help mentally ill trans people by sticking them on the front lines," Yiannopoulos said. "You help them with therapy and drugs – though not, I have to stress, transition surgery." In October 2017, he married his husband in Hawaii. That same month, he came out against the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, arguing it would violate religious freedom. He also expressed concerns that legalizing same-sex marriage could have an unfavourable effect on gay culture.[76][89][90]

Kevin D. Williamson in the National Review argued that "Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart London has done more to put homosexual camp in the service of right-wing authoritarianism than any man has since the fellows at Hugo Boss sewed all those nifty SS uniforms. Concerning Donald Trump's decision to break from Barack Obama's practice of issuing a proclamation each year in honor of Gay Pride Month, Yiannopoulos said, "I don't care about that. What I care about is the president protecting gay people from foreign policy, through strong borders, and stuff like that".[91][51]

In 2017, Yiannopoulos gave an interview with contributors to America Magazine. The interview was not accepted for publication and was posted to Yiannopoulos's personal website, where it was picked up by the conservative Catholic media group Church Militant. In the interview, he criticised Pope Francis for his liberalism in areas such as reaching out to gay people, adding that the best media advice he could give to Francis would be "stop talking". Yiannopoulos reiterated his belief that homosexuality is a sin and denounced those (including clergy) who sought to change Church dogma on the issue. "You don't see me disputing the Church's teachings on homosexuality...I wouldn't dream of demanding that the Church throw away her hard truths just to lie to me in hopes I’ll feel better about myself," he said.[92]

In January 2019, Yianopoulos was interviewed by Michael Voris of Church Militant to discuss his new book Diabolical: How Pope Francis Has Betrayed Clerical Abuse Victims Like Me—and Why He Has To Go. When Voris challenged him to stop engaging in homosexual behaviour, he said, "I know that's a better way. And I know that's the right thing" but stated that he is "just not there yet. And I don’t know if I’ll get there". He also claimed that Catholic sexual abuse cases were caused by homosexual behaviour.[93]

In June 2019, Yiannopoulos agreed to be grand marshal for a proposed straight pride parade in Boston, organized by the far-right group Resist Marxism. The parade is ostensibly to celebrate heterosexuality.[94][95]

Zionism

In July 2019, during an interview with the Jewish Journal, Yiannopoulos described himself as a “paid-up Zionist” who believed Israel is a bastion of civilization in a region of Islamic tyrants. During the interview, Yiannopoulos advocated for a Jewish “super-state” in the Middle East and remarked that “I’m perfectly happy with Israeli special forces and American intelligence and all the rest of it going in and assassinating every leader of Hamas tomorrow".[82]

Dangerous Faggot Tour

In late 2015, Yiannopoulos began a campus speaking tour called "The Dangerous Faggot Tour", encompassing universities in the United States and Great Britain. Although most of his American speeches were not cancelled, many were met with notable protest ranging from vocal disruptions to violent demonstrations.

DePaul University

In May 2016 Yiannopoulos's speech at the DePaul University was interrupted after about 15 minutes by two protesters who rushed the stage.[96][97] The crowd began booing the two protesters. The campus security team that university administrators required the College Republicans to hire for $1000, reportedly made no effort to remove the protesters.[98][99] University president Dennis H. Holtschneider later issued a statement reaffirming the value of free speech and apologizing for the harm caused by Yiannopoulos's appearance on the campus.[100][101] The university agreed to reimburse the College Republicans for the costs of event security.[102]

University of Washington

In January 2017, Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Washington. The event sparked large protests.[103] A 34-year-old man was shot while protesting the event, and was put into intensive care at a hospital in Seattle, suffered life-threatening injuries. A witness recalled seeing someone release pepper spray in the crowd, which triggered the shooting confrontation.[104] In April 2017, prosecutors in King County, Washington filed assault charges against a married couple, Marc and Elizabeth Hokoana, residents of Ravenna, Washington.[105]

UC Berkeley

 
Yiannopoulos (seen from a distance) greets supporters on the steps of Sproul Hall, UC Berkeley, 24 September 2017

On 1 February 2017, Yiannopoulos was scheduled to make a speech at UC Berkeley at 8:00 pm. More than 100 UC Berkeley faculty had signed a petition urging the university to cancel the event. Over 1,500 people gathered to protest against the event on the steps of Sproul Hall, with some violence occurring. According to the university, around 150 masked agitators came onto campus and interrupted the protest, setting fires, damaging property, throwing fireworks, attacking members of the crowd, and throwing rocks at the police. These violent protesters included members of BAMN, who threw rocks at police, shattered windows, threw Molotov cocktails, and later vandalised downtown Berkeley. Among those assaulted were a Syrian Muslim in a suit who was pepper sprayed and hit with a rod by a protester dressed all in black who said "You look like a Nazi", and a woman who was pepper sprayed while being interviewed by a TV reporter.[106] Citing security concerns, the UC Police Department cancelled the event. One person was arrested for failure to disperse, and there was about $100,000 in damage. The police were criticised for their "hands off" policy whereby they did not arrest any of the demonstrators who committed assault, vandalism, or arson.[107][108]

President Trump criticised the university on Twitter for failing to allow freedom of speech, and threatened to defund UC Berkeley. After the incident, Yiannopoulos' upcoming book, Dangerous, returned to number one for a few days on Amazon's "Best Sellers" list.[109]

Having not signed contracts with various invitees for them to appear and having already backed out of its only reserved, indoor venues, on 23 September, The Berkeley Patriot notified the campus that they were cancelling all Free Speech Week activities. Yiannopoulos stated that afternoon that he and other speakers would still come to campus and hold a "March for Free Speech". On 24 September, Yiannopoulos, Cernovich and Geller arrived outside Sproul Hall and Yiannopoulos spoke briefly without a sound system and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner". Hundreds of protesters and supporters surrounded the police barricades that were erected around the plaza. Attendees were admitted into the plaza only after passing through a metal detector; approximately 150 people saw Yiannopoulos speak, while hundreds more waited in line. An "unprecedented" number of police officers were brought in, costing the university an estimated $800,000. Afterwards, protesters, mocking Yiannopoulos's speech, chanted, "Immigrants are here to stay, Milo had to run away". Berkeley police reported at least 11 arrests, but no injuries or damage to buildings. UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said afterwards that the media event amounted to "the most expensive photo op in the university's history."[110][111]

Tour of Australia

In November 2017, Yiannopoulos began a tour of Australia, visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth. During the Adelaide show, Yiannopoulos stirred controversy by projecting an unflattering photo of the feminist writer Clementine Ford, taken when she was a teenager, with the words "UNFUCKABLE" superimposed over the top. During events in Melbourne he again stirred controversy when he described Australian Aboriginal art as "crap" and "really shit". There was violence outside his Melbourne events as protesters from the left-aligned Campaign Against Racism and Fascism and the right-wing True Blue Crew clashed. Seven people were arrested after clashing with police and outside the venue for Yiannopoulos's Sydney event. Yiannopoulos claimed the violence was caused by "the left, showing up, being violent to stop freedom of speech".[112]

Liberal Democratic Party senator, David Leyonhjelm invited Yiannopoulos to speak in the Australian Federal Parliament, despite efforts by the Australian Greens party to ban him. The talk was attended by approximately 150–200 people, with the majority of attendees comprising political staffers and media. Several members of the One Nation Party attended, including Pauline Hanson, Brian Burston, Peter Georgiou and Malcolm Roberts. Yiannopoulos urged his audience to reject identity politics and political correctness.[113]

In August 2018 Yiannopoulos announced plans to carry out a five-show tour of Australia in December 2018. The tour was later cancelled at the last minute due to "unforeseen circumstances".[114]

In March 2019, the Australian Government rejected Yiannopoulos's application for a visa to enter Australia in light of his comments about the Christchurch mosque shootings. The ban was issued a week after Australia's immigration minister David Coleman approved Yiannopoulos's visa application. Coleman's decision was taken against the advice of the Home Affairs Department, which reported that Yiannopoulos could fail the character test to enter Australia.[81]

Books

Yiannopoulos wrote introductions for the 2017 science fiction compilation Forbidden Thoughts and the Vox Day non-fiction release SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police. He published two poetry books under the name Milo Andreas Wagner. His 2007 release Eskimo Papoose was later scrutinised for re-using lines from pop music and television without attribution, to which he replied that it was done deliberately and the work was satirical.[115]

Dangerous

An autobiography titled Dangerous was announced in December 2016. Yiannopoulos reportedly received a $250,000 advance payment from the book's planned publisher, Simon & Schuster. It was intended to be published under their Threshold Editions imprint and to be issued on 14 March 2017, but Yiannopoulos pushed back the schedule to June so he could write about the demonstrations during his campus tour. A day after its announcement, pre-sales for the book elevated it to first place on Amazon.com's list of best-sellers.[116][117]

In February 2017 Simon & Schuster cancelled its plans to publish the book in the wake of the video and sexual-consent comments controversy that also led to CPAC withdrawing its speaking invitation and Yiannopoulos to resign from Breitbart. Yiannopoulos sued Simon & Schuster for 'breach of contract' and 'breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing', seeking $10 million in damages. He dropped the suit in February 2018.[118]

In May 2017, Yiannopoulos announced that he would self-publish the book on 4 July 2017. Soon after the announcement, the book became the best-selling political humour book on Amazon. The book was a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller. The book further peaked at No. 1 on Publisher Weekly's nonfiction bestseller list and at No. 2 on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list.[119]

Subsequent works

Yiannopoulos self-published the book Diabolical: How Pope Francis Has Betrayed Clerical Abuse Victims Like Me – and Why He Has To Go in 2018. He stated “The main purpose of writing this new book was to talk about the homosexual cancer that has infected the Vatican…” The book repeated the debunked myth that pedophilia and homosexuality are linked. Yiannopoulos promoted the book through Michael Voris, a traditionalist Catholic, celibate bisexual and anti-LGBT activist.[120]

Yiannopoulos's self-published How To Be Poor was released in 2019,[121] shortly after the revelation of his financial insolvency.[122] The 54-page publication was briefly the best seller in several sub-categories of Amazon Kindle.[123]

References

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