NEWS

Who Is Milo Yiannopoulos?

From horrid to abhorrent.

21/02/2017 15:12

Far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has created a career out of being offensive and was so successful at being spiteful that up until Monday he was set to pocket a £200,000 advance for writing his memoirs, age 32. 

Then, like dominos his stardom - largely gained through trolling - and the trappings that go with it, began to diminish.

First, the book deal. Simon and Schuster cancelled plans to publish the aptly named, ‘Dangerous’ after being accused of promoting and funding hate speech, and then Yiannopoulos’ invitation to appear at a US Conservative conference in Washington, alongside US president Donald Trump, was rescinded the following day.  

But while the “child abuse” comments controversy that caused the sudden sea-change around Yiannopoulos’ right to express his acidic views was freshly served up this week, the videos had been rotting on YouTube since January of last year, lost, perhaps amongst a tail-back of controversies that have failed to slow the teflon-troll’s slither to the top of the alt-right.   

Here are some of his most controversial moments:

1. Child Abuse Comments

“Helps younger men discover who they are”. (Also, according to Milo, helped him improve his oral sex skills)

When the Brietbart editor was announced as a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, starting Wednesday, conservative blog, the Regan Battalion, began reposting video clips of Yiannopoulos appearing to defend older men abusing minors, in an attempt to oppose his CAPC investigation.  

In one clip, Yiannopoulos recalled his own sexual abuse as a teenager at the hands of a priest and school teacher. He refused to name or condemn the mens’ behaviour, instead saying the encounters had made him good at oral sex.

In another video, posted the following day (February 20), featuring part of an episode of ‘The Drunken Peasants’ podcast, Yiannopoulos decried the “arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent” and said some people are “capable of giving consent at a younger age”. He added that relationships between “younger boys” and older men “help younger men discover who they are and give them a sense of security and safety”. 

The videos, this time around didn’t go unnoticed, with CNN’s Jake Tapper volleying a series of tweets describing how “distraught” Yiannopoulos’ comments had left one sex assault victim. 

Yiannopoulos on Monday attempted to apologise and provide a context for his comments in a lengthily Facebook post - attentioned “to idiots” - but it failed to sway CPAC officials, who found it “insufficient”. 

“We urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments,” ACU chairman Matt Schlapp wrote on Twitter on Monday, confirming Yiannopoulos invitation to speak had been withdrawn.

Just days earlier, Yiannopoulos caused a stir during a television interview with Bill Maher.

2. Transgender People Want To Molest Children

While appearing on “Real Time With Bill Maher”, Yiannopoulos contended that transgender people are “vastly disproportionately involved in sex crime” and attempted to defend his divisive views about the transgender community by claiming he was simply trying to protect women and girls.

He compared being transgender was a disorder comparable to sociopathy.

Milo: “I think that women and girls should be protected from having men who are confused about their sexual identities in their bathrooms.”

The conversation was prompted by a question submitted to the programmer by a viewer which read, “Why did you single out a transgender student for ridicule during a recent speech you made on her campus?”

When asked if he did that, Yiannopoulos replied: “Well, yes. First of all, it wasn’t a student. He had already left the university. And I make no apologies for protecting women and children from men who are confused about their sexuality identity... I misgendered this person.”

Maher:  “I’m confused about who this is, because pronouns are so important. If you call Caitlin Jenner a “he” you’re a bad person...

Yiannopoulos: “No, I did it on purpose. I misgendered this person.”

His concerns around the dangers of transgender people using female bathrooms have been widely dismissed

During the same appearance Yiannopoulos, who has a Jewish maternal grandmother, joked about not being able to fit in as he is a “gay Jew who never shouts about his black boyfriend”.

And equated feminism with a disease.

3. Ghostbuster Row

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones was left with 'tears in her eyes' after being trolled by Yiannopoulos over her performance in the movie

In July 2016, Yiannopoulos was permanently suspended from Twitter for racist trolling of Leslie Jones, for her performance in Ghostbusters. 

The abuse began with a review of the movie in which he criticised Jones’s “flat-as-a-pancake black stylings” and described her as “a black character worthy of a minstrel show”.

Yiannopoulo continued the attack on social media, leaving the actress “with tears and a very sad heart”.

Yiannopoulos also encouraged his followers to join in on the act, which led Twitter to ban him for “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others”.

4. Gamergate

“An army of sociopathic feminist programmers”

Yiannopoulos rose to prominence through the 2014 Gamergate controversy which concerned issues of sexism and misogyny in video game culture, stemming from a harassment campaign directed mainly through Twitter hashtag #GamerGate.

Yiannopoulos was said to have built up a huge following by being a “troll king” - according to technology magazine Wired -  and played a key role in early news coverage of the scandal which led to several women within the industry being threatened with rape and death.

Boston Globe via Getty Images
Brianna Wu, software engineer and the found of Giant Spacekat, which makes games with female protagonists. Wu is one of three woman targeted for abuse and death threats by the gaming community after posting online about the misogony in the gaming industry

The journalist was highly critical of what he saw to be the politicisation of the industry by “an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers”.

Before making a name for himself during the controversy, Yiannopoulos, in 2011, co-founded online technology magazine The Kernel, which he sold in 2014 after running up large debt and encountering legal battles with writers who sued for unpaid earnings

5. Breitbart hits

“’Rape culture’ and Harry Potter. Both fantasy.”

Yiannopoulos, who attended Simon Langton Boys Grammar School in Canterbury, and dropped out of undergraduate courses at the University of Manchester and the University of Cambridge, was appointed a senior editor at right-wing website Breitbart News in 2015. 

There he has had a string of offensive hits with columns including, “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” and “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?”

When presidential candidate Hillary Clinton read those headlines out disdainfully at one of her rallies last year, Yiannopoulos considered it a win, the BBC reported. 

Amanda Edwards via Getty Images
Amber Rose attends the Amber Rose 'SlutWalk' in Los Angeles in October 2015

“Little did I realise when I coined the #FeminismIsCancer hashtag that it would end up in the mouth of the Democratic nominee for President,” he wrote on Breitbart.com.

In October 2015, Yiannopoulos caused a stir by attending a counterprotest during a “SlutWalk” rally in Los Angeles against sexual violence, led by Kanye West’s ex-girlfriend, Amber Rose. 

Yiannopoulos displayed a sign reading, “’Rape culture’ and Harry Potter. Both fantasy.” He was joined by libertarian activist Lauren Southern holding a “Regret is not rape” sign, according to a CNN report from the time

6. Big ‘Daddy’ Trump

Yiannopoulos refers to Donald Trump as “daddy” which is not surprising given the Republican came to his defence when a talk he was to host UC Berkeley descended into riots earlier this month and was cancelled. 

The president accused UC Berkeley, which had planned to host a talk about cultural appropriation, of censorship and violence and appeared to threaten to pull its federal funding.

Breibart News has close ties to the Trump administration with the site’s chief executive, Steve Bannon, leading Trump’s campaign before being appointed his chief strategist.

During the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio last July, Yiannopoulos headlined an event called Gays for Trump.

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS