Milo Yiannopoulos and his sorry band of fascists

Milo Yiannopoulos is a British pundit who rose to incredible fame due to his unapologetic opposition to third-wave feminism, Black Lives Matter and “political correctness.” (NEXTConf/Creative Commons)

Milo Yiannopoulos is a British pundit who rose to incredible fame due to his unapologetic opposition to third-wave feminism, Black Lives Matter and “political correctness.” (NEXTConf/Creative Commons)

Milo Yiannopoulos is a British pundit who rose to incredible fame due to his unapologetic opposition to third-wave feminism, Black Lives Matter and “political correctness.” He was, for a time, a polemicist that right-wingers loved to have fighting on their behalf. Then, the public learned Yiannopoulos had claimed, on a number of occasions, that thirteen-year-old boys could have consensual sex with older men and women. Thereafter, the Conservative Political Action Conference quickly rescinded its invitation for Yiannopoulos to be a keynote speaker. Several of Yiannopoulos’s colleagues at Breitbart “threatened to resign if Yiannopoulos was not fired for his remark”. They got their way, and Milo resigned.

But he did not lose all his buzz. He currently has over two million followers on Facebook, and his posts regularly garner tens of thousands of views. He has several dates set up for the Australian leg of a new speaking tour. One can buy a ticket to this show, along with a personal dinner and photograph with Yiannopoulos, for just under one thousand dollars. His online store sells classy t-shirts that say things like “Everyone who hates me is ugly” and “Guantanamo Bay Waterboard Instructor”. An Australian senator even invited Yiannopoulos to speak at the nation’s Parliament House in December.

Not all is going well for Milo, though. Robert Mercer, a billionaire financier who helped fund Milo’s misadventures, cut ties with him in early November. In the same month, Yiannopoulos landed a job writing a weekly column for The Daily Caller, but the release of his very first piece got him and the editor who hired him, fired. The piece, incidentally, was about the allegations of harassment and assault made against actor Kevin Spacey. In it, Milo complains that he was pilloried for mere comments on pedophilia, whereas Kevin Spacey was treated kindly after being accused of molesting underage boys. Milo believes he was treated unfairly because the media “treats the sins of left-wing celebrities” differently. In reality, the liberal media has not been kind at all to Spacey, and Milo still cannot own up to saying that sexual relationships between “13-year-olds and 28-year-olds” can be “perfectly consensual”.

The biggest story about Yiannopoulos to emerge in the past few months was published by Buzzfeed News. The report contained e-mails between Milo and his former co-workers at Breitbart which disproved a variety of myths Yiannopoulos had spread about himself over the years. For starters, Milo’s blockbuster article “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right” and his memoir “Dangerous” were both ghost-written by fellow Breitbart employee, Allum Bokhari. More importantly, Milo and his team consistently enlisted the support of prominent white nationalists. Yiannopoulos employed Tim Gionet, better known by his nickname Baked Alaska, as a tour manager in the summer of 2016. Milo was fully aware that Gionet, who has repeatedly posted a white supremacist slogan called the “Fourteen Words” on Twitter, was a virulent anti-Semite, but continued to work with him nonetheless.  

In one of the leaked e-mails, Yiannopoulos described Devin Saucier, an editor for the white supremacist magazine “American Renaissance,” as his “best friend.” Milo asked Saucier for recommended readings, allowed him to veto the submission of Breitbart pieces and once published an article that began as an idea of Saucier’s. Milo asked Saucier to review his “Guide to the Alt-Right” before it was published, and did the same with a self-described “neo-reactionary” named Curtis Yarvin. Yarvin, who once wrote that some races are “more suited to slavery” than others, claims that while he is not a white nationalist, he is “not exactly allergic to the stuff”.

Then there’s Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, a notable hacker and neo-Nazi, who Yiannopoulos called “one of the funniest, smartest, and most interesting people I know.” Auernheimer works as a system administrator for the Daily Stormer. He is the sort of demented fascist who would attempt to send Nazis to the funeral of Heather Heyer, the woman who was murdered at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Yiannopoulos wanted Auernheimer to appear on his podcast, but a higher-up at Breitbart prevented that from happening.

The Buzzfeed report’s biggest find was a video taken at a Dallas bar in April of 2016. The video showed Milo Yiannopoulos singing “America the Beautiful” to a crowd of men raising their arms in Nazi salutes. One of those men was Richard Spencer, America’s most famous Nazi and a believer in “peaceful ethnic cleansing” and “white Zionism”. In a statement to Buzzfeed, Milo claimed to “disavow Richard Spencer and his entire sorry band of idiots” and explained that he could not have seen the Hitler salutes coming from the crowd due to his “severe myopia.”

After the Buzzfeed report dropped, Yiannopoulos published a video titled “MILO Answers Buzzfeed Head-On” on his YouTube channel. The video begins with Milo saying, “Now, about my eyesight. There’s something to be addressed, an elephant in the room. I know what you’re all thinking. … I owe it to you to be honest, so I am going to tell you the truth.” It would have been a step in the right direction if Milo actually explained why he performed a song for Hitler-saluting white nationalists and subsequently lied about his “severe myopia.” But what follows his somber promise to “tell the truth” is not an explanation or an apology. Instead, Milo simply lists the brands of the clothing items he is wearing. “Balmain, Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, and Lacroix”! Perhaps he was trying to say that, because he is rich and successful, he does not have to apologize for any transgression, regardless of its severity. Milo goes on to say that he cannot be a white supremacist because he is married to a black man. It is odd that someone who constantly complains about liberal identity politics resorts to bringing up his husband’s race so that he can dispel accusations of prejudice.

Milo Yiannopoulos has misunderstood that gravity of Buzzfeed’s accusations. It does not matter if he is racist. What matters is that he used his position at Breitbart to spread the ideas of Devin Saucier and Curtis Yarvin. He employed rabid white supremacists like Tim Gionet. He tried to get Weev Auernheimer, a Nazi who once made a phone call to a Jewish woman so he could call her a “wicked kike whore,” on his podcast. The accusation is not that Milo is a racist. The accusation is that he knowingly consorted with white supremacists and funneled their ideas into his articles, all while denying that he had any connection to fascist circles. Since Milo will never acknowledge that he has committed any wrongdoing, one can only hope that news outlets have grown savvy to his worthlessness as a journalist, and that none of them will stoop so low as to hire him in the future.


Alex Klein is a staff columnist for the Daily Campus and can be reached via email at alex.klein@uconn.edu.