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Milo Yiannopoulos (/jəˈnɒpələs/;[2] born Milo Hanrahan, 18 October 1984), or pen name Milo Andreas Wagner,[3][4] is a British polemicist, political commentator, public speaker and writer. Yiannopoulos is a former senior editor for Breitbart News who describes himself as a "cultural libertarian".[5] He is a critic of Islam, atheism, feminism, social justice, political correctness, and other social constructs.[6]

Milo Yiannopoulos
Milo Yiannopoulos @NEXTConf 2014 (13925731458) (cropped).jpg
Yiannopoulos speaking in Berlin in 2014
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
MovementRight-wing
Conservatism
Alt-lite
Websitedangerous.com

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.[7]

Yiannopoulos was born and raised in Kent. He was expelled from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys and he studied at the University of Manchester and Wolfson College, Cambridge, but failed to gain a degree from either. He began working in technology journalism for The Telegraph before co-running The Kernel, an online magazine, which was devoted to technology journalism, in 2011–13. He was one of the first journalists to cover the Gamergate controversy. In 2015 he began work at Breitbart, attracting attention for his opinions and the company's association with the alt-right. He relocated to the United States, where he became a vocal supporter of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. In July 2016 he was permanently banned from Twitter for what the company cited as "inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others", referring to a racist harassment campaign against African-American actress Leslie Jones Twitter says Yiannopoulos inspired.[8][9]

Yiannopoulos has been accused of being an apologist for or supporting paedophilia, a charge he strenuously denies. The charge arises from a video clip 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.[10] Following the release of the tape, Yiannopoulos was forced out of his position at Breitbart, and lost a contract to publish his autobiography with Simon & Schuster. Yiannopoulos has denied that he is a supporter of paedophilic relationships and claimed that his statements that ostensibly support them were merely attempts to cope with his own past victimhood, as an object of child abuse by unnamed older men.

Contents

Early life and personal life

Born as Milo Hanrahan,[11] Yiannopoulos was born and raised in Kent, England.[12][11] His father is of half-Greek and half-Irish descent.[13][14][15] 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.[14] 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".[14]

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.[16] 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."[17] A practising Roman Catholic, Yiannopoulos states his maternal grandmother was Jewish.[18][19][20]

As a teenager, Yiannopoulos lived with his paternal grandmother Petronella, whose surname he later adopted.[11][14][21]

Yiannopoulos was educated at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury from which he has said he was expelled.[22] He attended the University of Manchester but dropped out before graduating; he then read English at Wolfson College, Cambridge, but was sent down[1] 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."[23]

Yiannopoulos is a U.S. resident alien on O-1 visa status.[24] 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.[25][26]

Career

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.[27]

He appeared on BBC Two's Newsnight with rapper Tinchy Stryder in May 2014, discussing copyright infringement and music piracy.[28] In March 2015, he appeared on The Big Questions, discussing topics relating to feminism and discrimination against men in the United Kingdom.[29]

In March 2017 he was nominated to stand in the election for rector of the University of Glasgow to succeed Edward Snowden, a post elected by students of the University of Glasgow in Scotland; he came fourth with 533 votes to Aamer Anwar's 4,500.[30] He had demanded the university's Muslim Students Association be shut 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,[32] and the opinion editor who hired him was also consequently fired.[33][34]

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 Cambridge University. The company was dissolved shortly after the ceremony that awarded the top start-up.[4] 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.[35]

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."[36] The Kernel was at that time owned by Sentinel Media.

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.[4] 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.[37]

Yiannopoulos also threatened, via email, to release embarrassing details and photographs of a Kernel contributor who sought payment for their work for the site and he also accused the contributor of being behind the "majority of damage to The Kernel". The unnamed contributor told The Guardian that the emails had been referred to the police.[38]

German venture capital vehicle BERLIN42 acquired The Kernel's assets in early 2013. The website displayed plans for a relaunch in August 2013 with fresh investment and Yiannopoulos reinstated as editor-in-chief.[39] BERLIN42 founding partner Aydogan Ali Schosswald would join its newly formed publishing company, Kernel Media, as chief executive. Yiannopoulos personally paid six former contributors money that the defunct company was unable to pay.[39] Parent company Sentinel Media Ltd was eventually dissolved on 18 February 2014 after being struck off by Companies House.[40]

The Independent on Sunday reported that the relaunched publication, based between London and Berlin, would focus on "modern warfare, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, pornography and space travel" from August, but newsletter The Nutshell would not return.[41]

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 though he remained an adviser to the company.[42]

 
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."[43][44]

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.[45][46] Yiannopoulos said that the list was evidence that journalists were colluding to offer negative coverage of Gamergate.[citation needed]

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.[47] Carter Dotson of pocketgamer.biz said that the list was indicative of an echo chamber effect in the gaming press.[48]

During the controversy, Yiannopoulos said that he received a syringe filled with an unknown substance through the post,[49][50] as well as a dead animal.

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.[51] 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.[52][53][54][55]

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,[56][57] and was edited by Yiannopoulos until his resignation on 21 February 2017.[58]

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.[59]

McLennan, formerly bursary manager of the grant, posted criticism of it on social media in August 2016, indicating it was mismanaged and that she had ceased managing the grant the previous March because she had not been paid and that the movement had ended.[60][61] MacLennan sent a tweet which alleged that Yiannopoulos had transferred money intended for the grant to a personal account. MacLennan posted a screenshot of the alleged transfer to support her claim.[62]

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 and blamed a busy schedule. He appointed a new fund administrator, and a pilot grant had been scheduled to begin the following spring, with full disbursement in the 2017/18 academic year.[60] On 31 March 2017, the Privilege Grant website claimed that ten applicants had been selected to receive pilot project grants, though no names or supporting information was released.[63]

In March 2018 Yiannopoulos confirmed that the fund had been closed down.[64]

Media ventures

In mid-2017, Yiannopoulos launched Milo, Inc., a new media outlet "dedicated to the destruction of political correctness".[65][66] In February 2018, after dropping a lawsuit against the company Simon & Schuster over the publication of his book Dangerous, Yiannopoulos made an appearance on InfoWars.[67]

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".[68] Yiannopoulos later uploaded a post to Facebook in which he explained, "They say I owe $2m. I don't! It's at least $4m. Do you know how successful you have to be to owe that kind of money?"[69]

In December 2018, Yiannopoulos's efforts to raise money via Patreon were halted after the crowdsourcing platform removed his page one day after it was launched. Patreon issued a statement in which they explained that the page had been closed down because they "don't allow association with or supporting hate groups on Patreon".[70]

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".[71][72]

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.[73] 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.[74][75]

Yiannopoulos was scheduled to talk at Bristol University the following month.[76] 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.[77]

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."[14]

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 of was made up, 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'.[78][79]

Twitter controversies and permanent ban

In December 2015, Twitter briefly suspended Yiannopoulos' account after he changed his profile to describe himself as BuzzFeed's "social justice editor."[80] His Twitter account's blue "verification" checkmark was removed by the site the following month.[80] Twitter declined to give an explanation for the removal of verification, saying that they do not comment on individual cases.[81] 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."[82][83] Others worried that Twitter was targeting conservatives.[84][85][86]

In March 2016, Yiannopoulos acquired accreditation for a White House press briefing for the first time.[87]

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.[88]

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."[89] 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."[90][91][92] Multiple media outlets have described Yiannopoulos' tweets as encouraging the abuse directed at Jones.[93][94] Yiannopoulos was then permanently banned by Twitter for what the company cited as "inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others".[95][96][97]

Yiannopoulos stated that he was banned because of his conservative beliefs.[98] In an interview with CNBC, he denounced the abusive tweets sent by others at Jones, and said he was not responsible for them.[99] After his suspension from Twitter, the hashtag "#FreeMilo" began trending on the site by those who opposed Twitter's decision to ban him.[100]

In an interview at the 2016 Republican National Convention, Yiannopoulos thanked Twitter for banning him, claiming he believed it had increased his celebrity.[101]

Alleged support for paedophilia

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[102][103][104] at the request of a 16-year-old Canadian student who was opposed to Yiannopoulos' CPAC address.[105]

In the interview in a January 2016 episode of the podcast Drunken Peasants,[106] 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.[107][108] He used his own experience as an example, saying he was mature enough to be capable of giving consent at a young age.[103] 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."[107][108]

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."[107]

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 the video had been edited to give a misleading impression.[109][110]

Yiannopoulos stated that; "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."[111]

Media personalities across the political spectrum condemned Yiannopoulos's original comments, and interpreted them as an endorsement of sexual abuse;[112] CPAC withdrew Yiannopoulos's invitation to speak at their annual event because he had "condoned pedophilia" through his comments,[113] stating that his apology was inadequate.[110] Editorials in conservative media, including National Review,[114] The Blaze,[115] Townhall,[116] and The American Conservative[117] have characterised his comments as supportive of paedophilia or pederasty. Matthew Rozsa of Salon.com wrote that although Yiannopoulos is technically correct in distinguishing between paedophilia, hebephilia, and ephebophilia, the practice he was accused of promoting "is still illegal in most parts of the Western world."[118] 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."[119]

In response to the controversy, Simon & Schuster cancelled its plans to publish his autobiography in June 2017.[120] Media outlets reported on 20 February that Breitbart was considering terminating Yiannopoulos' contract as a result of the controversy.[121][122][123] Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart on 21 February, reportedly under pressure to do so.[124][125]

Throughout the controversy, Yiannopoulos was criticised for [in his words] 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.[126]

On 10 March, an additional video emerged in which Yiannopoulos said on a 2015 episode of Gavin McInnes' show that child sexual abuse is "really not that big a deal. You can't let it ruin your life." He mocked 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.[127]

Association with the alt-right

Yiannopoulos is commonly associated with the alt-right.[128][71][109] 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".[129]

In a Breitbart article, Yiannopoulos and a co-author described the alt-right movement as "dangerously bright". The Tablet claimed many of these intellectual backers write for publications Tablet describes as racist and antisemitic, like VDARE and American Renaissance.[20] 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.[130]

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.[131][132]

A Daily Beast article in September 2016 suggested that Yiannopoulos has received funding from virtual reality tycoon Palmer Luckey.[133]

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'. Yiannopoulos 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'. Yiannopoulos described this contingent of the alt-right as 'sort of unstoppable at the moment' and 'the bit of the movement that will win'.[134]

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.[135] 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.[135] 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."[135][136] 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.[135][137]

Yiannopoulos has subsequently claimed that he did not see the Nazi salutes while he was singing, citing what he claimed to be "extreme myopia".[135] 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.[138]

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.[135]

In 2018, Yiannopoulos bragged on Instagram and Facebook that he donated $14.88 to Talia Lavin, a Jewish journalist.[139] 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.[140]

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".[141][142] 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.[143] He later posted on Instagram that he sent the messages to troll journalists.[144] 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."[145][146]

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.[147][148]

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[149] and at 98 in 2012.[23][150]

In 2012, he was called the "pit bull of tech media" by Ben Dowell of The Observer.[151]

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.[152]

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.[153]

Political views

Yiannopoulos describes himself as a provocateur, someone who says deliberately outrageous thinks in order to provoke his enemies. In September 2016, Hillary Clinton read aloud at a rally the titles from two of Yiannopoulos's Breitbart articles-"Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy" and "Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?"-that were written specifically for this purpose.[14] He has called himself "the most fabulous supervillain on the Internet" and a "lovable rogue."[154]

Abortion

Yiannopoulos is opposed to abortion. He is quoted as saying:

It isn't just the woman's body when she becomes pregnant. She's responsible for another body, another soul, another human being. That woman has sole custody. As a gay person, I have to be against abortion because as soon as they start working out what the gay gene is, it's us that are going to get chopped because nobody wants a gay kid.[155]

Atheism

Milo Yiannopoulos has criticised atheism in several interviews and videos.[6] In a discussion with Joe Rogan, Yiannopoulos blasted what he saw as the "dreary hell of the atheist art scene" in comparison to St. Peter's Basilica or the Blue Mosque.[156] He further stated: "I feel sorry for people who have this sort of bleak empty existence of militant atheism. It's just so boring."[156]

British politics

Yiannopoulos was originally an outspoken supporter of the Conservative Party,[157] but applied to join UKIP in June 2018.[158][159]

Christianity

Milo Yiannopoulos has preached that "Christmas and Christianity are worth fighting for".[160] He has stated that the Protestant work ethic was necessary for capitalism to develop and that Christianity gave Western Civilisation education and the concept of consensual marriage.[160] With regard to the origin of modern science, Milo Yiannopoulos has stated that "It was Christianity that prompted man to look around at the world and say this marvellous and beautiful creation of the Lord is something that God did so it must be worth us taking a look and seeing how it works. Christianity gave birth to modernity."[161]

In reference to his Christianity and homosexuality, Milo Yiannopoulos has stated that:[161]

At a time when the state was murdering homosexuals, the Catholic Church was welcoming them and sheltering them as priests and giving them a chance to be something in the community and not be ostracized or murdered or discriminated against. The trade-off was you couldn't get married, but the Catholic Church was providing homosexuals not just with sanctuary but with an important function in civilisation.[161]

Climate change

During an interview with Joe Rogan, in 2015, Yiannopoulos said that "I don't believe in man-made climate change at all." During the same interview Yiannopoulos claimed that while working for a "climate change NGO," he witnessed "papering over of data ... I saw people omitting data sets that didn't fit with their hypothesis ... and I came to believe that the whole thing was a crock of shit and I left."[162]

Donald 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."[14]

However, 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."[163] This sentiment was shared by a sizeable part of Trump's online supporters including Ann Coulter and Mike Cernovich, who was the first to report on the impending attack.[164]

In August 2018, Yiannopoulos claimed that he was a “significant factor” in the election of Donald Trump as US President.[165][166] 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.[154]

Women and feminism

Yiannapoulos is a frequent critic of feminism and "dumpy lesbians."[14][167] Yiannopoulos 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.[168] He has also been credited as the author of other controversial articles about women, such as "The Solution To Online 'Harassment' Is Simple: Women Should Log Off" which focuses on gender-based online harassment and stalking and "The Left's Bloody War on Women: Sending Chicks into Combat Betrays Men, Women and Civilization", which criticises the involvement of women in the military.[citation needed]

Of feminists, he says, "As for feminists, they're so easy to wind up, they turn everyday people into trolls. A mini-Milo born every minute."[167] In a speech in December 2017, Yiannopoulos strongly criticized 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."[169]

He has frequently attacked a number of female comedians and entertainers. During a February 17, 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."[170]

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."[171]

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,[172] and a year later on Newsnight.[173] In 2013 he opposed the provision of "Soho masses".[174] In November 2013, he debated with singer Will Young on Newsnight about the use of the word "gay" as a playground taunt.[175]

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".[176][177]

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.[178]

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."[179] 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."[154]

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. The journalist Audrey Goddard analysed his speech at the University of Pittsburgh, concluding that Yiannopoulos spends the "majority of the time voicing his opinions with little to no factual statements accompanying them", which Goddard determined was ironic taking in account how Yiannopoulos repeatedly insisted "that he was just stating 'facts'."[180]

DePaul University

On 24 May 2016 Yiannopoulos's speech at the DePaul University, a Roman Catholic school, was interrupted after about 15 minutes by two protesters who rushed the stage: DePaul alumnus and pastor Edward Ward, and student Kayla Johnson.[181][182]

The crowd overwhelmingly began booing the two protesters, at one point chanting "Get a job." The campus security team that university administrators required the College Republicans to hire the day before (at an extra cost of $1,000, part of which was paid by Yiannopoulos himself), reportedly made no effort to remove the protesters.[183][184] This was in addition to further protests outside the event venue both before and after the event, which featured students reacting violently to Yiannopoulos's supporters.[185]

In the aftermath of the incident, university president Dennis H. Holtschneider issued a statement reaffirming the value of free speech and apologising for the harm caused by Yiannopoulos's appearance on the campus. Attendees of the talk, organised by DePaul's College Republican's Chapter, criticised university police and event security for not removing the protesters.[186][187]

Yiannopoulos later stated that he and the College Republicans wanted a refund of the money that was paid to the security team that ultimately did nothing.[188][189][190] The university later agreed to reimburse the College Republicans for the costs of event security.[191] Within three days, the university's ratings on Facebook became overwhelmingly dominated by 1-star reviews. This ultimately accumulated over 16,000 1-star reviews that brought the university's average to 1.1, before the page's rating system was closed indefinitely.[192]

University of Washington

On 20 January 2017, Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Washington. The event sparked large protests.[193] A 34-year-old man was shot while protesting the event, and was put into intensive care at a hospital in Seattle, having suffered from life-threatening injuries. The man was later declared to be in stable condition. A witness recalled seeing someone release pepper spray in the crowd, which triggered the shooting confrontation.[194]

In April 2017, prosecutors in King County, Washington filed charges against a married couple, Marc and Elizabeth Hokoana, residents of Ravenna, Washington.[195] Prosecutors allege that the couple went to the protest intending to goad anti-Yiannopoulos demonstrators into conflict and that Marc Hokoana messaged a friend over social media: "I'm going to the milo event and if the snowflakes get out [of] hand I'm going to wade through their ranks and start cracking skulls."[195] In the message, he remarked that his wife was going to be carrying a firearm.[195] Several witnesses said that Marc appeared to be intoxicated. The charges state that Marc initially fired pepper spray into the crowd, and when the victim confronted him, Elizabeth Hokoana shot him in the stomach using the Glock semi-automatic handgun that she had brought to the event.[195] She was charged with first-degree assault with a firearm enhancement, while the husband was charged with third-degree assault using pepper spray.[195] Both pleaded not guilty in May 2017 and asserted that the shooting was in self-defence.[196] The victim stated that he was reluctant to see the couple prosecuted.[197]

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.[198] Over 1,500 people gathered to protest against the event on the steps of Sproul Hall, with some violence occurring.[199]

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.[200] These violent protestors included members of BAMN, who threw rocks at police, shattered windows, threw Molotov cocktails, and later vandalised downtown Berkeley.[201] 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",[202] and a woman who was pepper sprayed while being interviewed by a TV reporter.[203]

Citing security concerns, the UC Police Department decided to cancel the event.[199][204] One person was arrested for failure to disperse, and there was about $100,000 in damage.[205] The police were criticised for their "hands off" policy whereby they did not arrest any of the demonstrators who committed assault, vandalism, or arson.[206][207]

President Trump criticised the university on Twitter for failing to allow freedom of speech, and threatened to defund UC Berkeley.[208][209] After the incident, Yiannopoulos' upcoming book, Dangerous, returned to number one for a few days on Amazon's "Best Sellers" list.[210][211]

According to Yiannopoulos' Facebook post, he planned to return to Berkeley, "hopefully within the next few months."[212] He was invited by the Berkeley Patriot student organisation to appear at events, scheduled for 24–27 September, entitled "Free Speech Week"[213] along with Coulter, Steve Bannon, Pamela Geller, Mike Cernovich and Erik Prince.[214]

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.[215][216][217] Yiannopoulos stated that afternoon that he and other speakers would still come to campus and hold a "March for Free Speech".[218] 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".[219] 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."[220][221] Berkeley police reported at least 11 arrests, but no injuries or damage to buildings.[222] UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said afterwards that the media event amounted to "the most expensive photo op in the university's history."[223][222]

Troll Academy – Australian tour

In November 2017 Yiannopoulos began a tour of Australia, with talks scheduled to be given in number of cities, including: Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. The exact location of the talks were kept secret until shortly before the events were due to start.[224] These speaking events were interspersed with TV and Press interviews. Midway through the tour, promoters reported that ticket and merchandise sales were set to pass $1 million.[225]

Adelaide

On 1 December 2017, Yiannopoulos held an event in Adelaide. His talk included projecting an unflattering photo of the feminist writer Clementine Ford, taken when she was a teenager, with the words "UNFUCKABLE" superimposed over the top.[224]

Melbourne

On 4 December 2017, Yiannopoulos held several events at the Melbourne Pavilion. During one of his talks he described Australian Aboriginal art as "crap" and "really shit".[224]

Prior to the talk taking place, hundreds of protesters from the left-aligned Campaign Against Racism and Fascism and the right-wing True Blue Crew clashed outside the Melbourne event. Police in riot gear attended and two protesters — one from each side — were arrested for "discharging missiles".[226] During the course policing the event, five officers suffered minor injuries, including one who was hit in the leg by a rock. The cost of policing the event was estimated to be $150,000.[227] Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville announced that the event's organisers would be billed $50,000.[228]

Sydney

On 5 December 2017, seven people were arrested after clashing with police and outside the venue for Yiannopoulos's Sydney event. Fans of Yiannopoulos were heckled by anti-fascist protesters who chanted: "Muslims are welcome, Milo is not," and "Nazi scum off our street". In response, Yiannopoulos blamed the "petulant babies" of the left for the clash. He went to say: "There was a lot of kerfuffle out front, it was not as the newspapers reported 'a clash between the far left and far right' it was the left, showing up, being violent to stop freedom of speech".[227]

Earlier that day Yiannopoulos spoke at Parliament House in Canberra, at the invitation of a Liberal Democratic Party senator, David Leyonhjelm. This event took place despite efforts by the Australian Greens party to ban him.[227] 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.[229]

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.[3]

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.[230] A day after its announcement, pre-sales for the book elevated it to first place on Amazon.com's list of best-sellers.[231]

The book announcement attracted controversy, including a statement on Twitter by The Chicago Review of Books that they would not review any Simon & Schuster books because of the book deal.[232][233]

Simon & Schuster dropped publication of Dangerous on 20 February 2017. The publisher's cancellation occurred 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.[111][234][111] Yiannopoulos said in response that he is suing Simon & Schuster for willful and opportunistic 'breach of contract' and 'breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing'.[235] The publisher says these claims are entirely 'without merit'. In a publicly issued statement, Simon & Schuster said: "We believe that Yiannopoulos's lawsuit is publicity-driven and entirely without merit. Simon & Schuster will vigorously defend itself against any such action, and fully expects to prevail in court."[236] The lawsuit, filed by Yiannopoulos' lawyers in the New York Supreme Court, alleges that Simon & Schuster broke contract when they decided against publishing his memoir Dangerous amid the controversy over the video clip in which Yiannopoulos appeared to defend sexual relationships between men and boys. Yiannopoulos says he now was forced to self-publishing his memoir, contending that the book would have sold more copies if it had been supported by the publisher.[237] He sought $10 million in damages from Simon & Schuster, but dropped the suit on 20 February 2018.[238][239]

In a press release on 26 May 2017, Yiannopoulos announced that the book would be self-published by his publishing company, "Dangerous Books", on 4 July 2017.[240] Soon after the announcement, the book became the best-selling political humour book on Amazon.[241][242][243] The book was a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller.[244][245] The book further peaked at #1 on Publisher Weekly's nonfiction bestseller list and at #2 on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list.[246]

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External links