For conservatives who haven’t been paying attention, the name Milo Yiannopolous has been ringing bells in the media lately. The precocious author, speaker and onetime Breitbart News editor recently embroiled himself in scandal, but now seems to be moving past his difficulties and possibly getting revenge on his detractors in a new business venture.
For those unfamiliar with who Yiannopolous is, a quick Google search will reveal that the 32-year-old British conservative commentator rose to fame as a journalist in the largely American “Gamergate” controversy.
The 2014 brouhaha was a major conflict between hardcore computer gamers (most of whom are male) and feminists, resulting in negative publicity for the gamers and positive attention for the social justice warriors sticking up for the women, who claimed gamers were excluding them and bullying them. For the record, Yiannopolous had taken the side of the gamers, but moved on from that subject as Breitbart News, his employer at the time, assigned him to cover other stories.
While working for Breitbart, Yiannopolous found himself writing more and more about mainstream and political topics. Rather than shrinking into the background and working in an anonymous office cubicle at the well-known conservative outlet, Yiannopolous craved attention and seemed to want to merge with some of the stories he was covering.
Ever since his college days at the UK’s prestigious Cambridge University, Yiannopolous hasn’t shrunk from confronting liberal academics and has successfully debated them onstage and in front of television cameras. In 2016, Yiannopolous was banned from Twitter for making allegedly misogynist comments about Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones using supposed “hate speech.”
Flamboyantly homosexual, Yiannopolous has been unafraid of discussing his private life and sexual topics in the context of conservative perspectives and changing moral attitudes. While some social justice warriors initially might have congratulated Yiannopolous for his “coming out” publicly, the latter’s stance has not been 100-percent comfortable with social tolerance for homosexuality and/or social-justice-type political positions such as support for transgender bathrooms.
In fact, Yiannopolous has been quoted as saying that gay men “should get back in the closet,” and he’s repeatedly attacked feminists, lesbians and drag queens in speeches and his writing for distorting what he feels are model social values.
Many of Yiannopolous’ positions — not just on matters of gender and sexuality — have been controversial, to say the least, and on most American college campuses, Yiannopolous has drawn major opposition whenever he’s been invited to give speeches (usually by college conservative organizations).
In fact, at nine events in the last two years, Yiannopolous’ speaking events have caused students to protest — often violently — and in at least one infamous incident, at the University of California at Berkeley, masked demonstrators started fires, attacked police and damaged school property. Yiannopolous’ event at the school was quickly canceled, and Milo had to quickly leave the campus for his own safety.
Critics on both the left and the right disparaged the university for canceling the event and not adequately protecting either the speaker or the attendees. Conservatives, in particular, slammed UC Berkeley for effectively disallowing free speech, despite the fact that the value had been enshrined as a core college attribute there since the early 1960s, when Leftists started a political movement around the issue. President Trump also weighed in on the matter, threatening to cancel federal funding for the school in the face of the rampant violence.
Subsequently, the last time Milo was in the news was in February, when a Youtube clip of him surfaced, edited from a podcast of the show Drunken Peasants, wherein Yiannopolous had apparently condoned sex between adults and homosexual minors (ie, pedophilia). Milo was quoted as saying that the notion of legal consent for minors was “arbitrary and oppressive” and that “pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who [unlike younger children] is sexually mature.”
These statements were quickly broadcast all over the web, and Yiannopolous was condemned by conservative and liberal outlets alike. Several days after the offending clips of him had been posted online, Yiannopolous resigned from Breitbart News and seemed to have shrunk away from the matter in shame. He was disinvited from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and a pending book deal he had with publisher Simon and Schuster was canceled.
But now, two months later, Yiannnopolous may be having the last laugh, as he’s about to launch a new media company called Milo, Inc., which has been funded to the tune of $12 million by secret investors. The company’s mission is to “make the lives of journalists, professors, politicians, feminists, Black Lives Matter activists and other professional victims a living hell,” according to multiple sources.
An article in Vanity Fair magazine called Milo, Inc. “corporatized trolling via live entertainment.” As Milo himself puts it, “The business of Madonna became touring. I’m doing the same thing, but instead of signing up with Live Nation, I’m building one. I’m building it for libertarian and conservative comedians, writers, stand-up comics, intellectuals… you name it.”
Milo, Inc. will be headquartered in Miami and will start off with a staff of 30. “The thing about me is that I have access to a talent pipeline that no one else even knows about. All the funniest, smartest, most interesting young YouTubers and all the rest of them who hate feminism, who hate political correctness,” explained Milo.
“This generation that’s coming up, that are about 13, 14, 15, now have very different politics than most other generations. They love us. They love me, and I’m going to be actively hunting around for the next Milo.”
Of course, left unsaid is that Milo, Inc. will be competing to some degree with other conservative properties such as his former employer Breitbart News as well as The Blaze, Infowars and other smaller outlets.
The first Milo, Inc. event will be held near the campus where Yiannopolous last saw violent protests from masked Leftists — the University of California at Berkeley. Milo will be presenting an award named after Mario Savio, the liberal activist who led Berkeley’s Free Speech movement more than half a century ago.
Savio’s son has called Milo’s award ceremony “some kind of sick joke.” “Is freedom of speech such an important principle that we can afford to uphold it even when it means sacrificing the safety of some other folks?” the younger Savio asked rhetorically.
At New York University, history professor Robert Cohen has said that “the free speech tradition that people made sacrifices to win is really in tatters,” and Cohen blamed the “short-sighted” reactions of Leftists and the “opportunistic and cynical game that these right-wingers are playing.” At the same time, he said, “If I want to have a rally, I can’t do it in your English class. If having an evening talk by a right-wing bigot is going to cause $100,000 in property damage and disrupt the university, they’ve always had the right to say, no, do it during the daytime.”
For its part, the administration at UC Berkeley has grudgingly allowed that personalities such as Milo and conservative author Ann Coulter (whose own speaking event at Berkeley had also been canceled due to the threat of violence by Liberals) are “welcome on campus.”
But at the same time, the school has made it clear that groups organizing the events at which these speakers were to appear need to coordinate better with the university ahead of time so adequate safety measures can be taken. “We can’t isolate and hermetically seal ourselves off,” said Dan Mogulof, a spokesman for the university. “This is the reality of the world we live in.”