This guy is controversial for SO many reasons!
Unless you’ve been purposely hiding from the news and social media (and I would TOTALLY understand if you were), you’ve probably heard the name Milo Yiannopoulos pop up by now.
If you've been wondering who he is and why his name keeps popping in up the trending news feeds across social media, here is all you could possibly want to know, and maybe just a wee bit more.
1. Who is this guy?
This is where the confusion begins, and it never seems to grow any more clear as we go from here, so consider yourself warned, because the one thing we can say without a shred of doubt as far as Milo is concerned is that man has weaved a vast and ever-thickening web of confusion, smoke and mirrors around himself and his constantly regenerating identity.
Like some sort of nouveau, hipster, millennial, Conservative, gay pride preaching, trans-hating, misogynist Terminator with a glorious helping of self-loathing on the side.
Which is to say that the "facts" are tough to prove and the stories are many and often contradictory.
Several reliable sources, such as the Daily Caller, refer to Mr. Yiannopoulos as a "native Briton," with reports that he was born under the real name of Milo Hanrahan in a small town in Southern England, known as Kent, on October 18, 1984. Meanwhile, several other sources, including the BCC, state that Milo was "born in Greece to a Greek father and British mother," and was then raised in Kent.
(Oh, and you may also have heard of him by the name Milo Andreas Wagner, the pseudonym he used when he published a book of poems in 2007 called Eskimo Papoose, much of which is actually comprised of (uncredited) lyrics by artists such as Britney Spears, Tori Amos and ... wait for it ... Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)
So basically, he was born in Greece or England under either the name Milo Hanrahan or Milo Yiannopoulos, and at some point, he ended up in Kent, where we all seem to agree he was raised.
2. What kind of a family does a guy like this come from?
In a profile done by Bloomberg, he said this about his father, “My dad is terrifying. He’s like Tony Soprano but Greek. He does unspeakable things during the day and comes home and listens to Wagner and drinks fine wine ... 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.”
That's a pretty cool and scary story. but I'm still confused because, again, there's the whole place of birth mystery, and last I checked (today, obvs), Hanrahan was still an Irish surname. Yiannopoulos is a Greek surname that means "son of John." Of course, I could find neither of his parents' name despite a healthy amount of time spent Googling, but something doesn't quite add up.
The stories pretty much align in that his mom and dad divorced when he was somewhere around 6-years-old, and he spent the majority of his time being raised by his mother and a step-father he very much disliked.
3. I heard that he's Jewish. Is that true?
Milo identifies as a practicing Catholic. However, when it suits him he likes to point out that his maternal grandmother is Jewish. Of course, that means his mother is Jewish. Which means that he, too, is Jewish. Because of the whole matrilineal descent thing.
4. Has he actually been educated?
Milo attended both the University of Manchester and Wolfson College, Cambridge; though he dropped out without graduating and receiving a degree from either. In one of the many articles he wrote for The Tab he states, “If you’re as talented, intelligent and handsome as I am, you don’t need a degree to succeed.”
Ah. Of course.
5. Is he really an alt-right neo-Nazi?
Many consider Milo to be a far-Right conservative. He’s most often associated with the alternative right (i.e., alt-right) movement, as well as sometimes labeled a neo-Nazi. Milo himself, however, denies any direct identification with the alt-right, neo-Nazis — or really with any specific group of people in particular.
He has said that he likes to think of himself as a free-spirited Libertarian.
He has been seen wearing an Iron Cross around his neck — a throwback from Nazi Germany that is identified on the Anti-Defamation League's hate symbol database — but, hey, he's Jewish, remember? He can't possibly be a Nazi ...
— Mike Prysner (@MikePrysner) February 6, 2017
It appears to me, and to many others, that Milo Yiannopoulos has no true relation to any political party — but is simply a trigger happy provocateur fond of anointing himself with over-the-top, self-important labels such "a virtuous troll" and "the world's most fabulous supervillain."
6. What does he even do for a living?
Up until yesterday, Milo was among other things, a prolific writer and editor.
He has said that he originally wanted to write about theater, but somewhere along the line he developed a passion for tech news and founded The Kernel, a technology-based online tabloid magazine. You know, the website that, in 2013, "was successfully sued by former editor Jason Hesse for non-payment of wages and one female staffer publicly complained about similar treatment. In a vicious email, Yiannopoulos threatened to ruin her career and called her 'a common prostitute.'"
The Guardian shares details of how this kind of threat-based self-protection has not been an uncommon practice for Milo, stating that "Iain Martin, the Telegraph’s former comment editor, remembered 'talk of him being someone who should not be crossed' and was shocked by the cruelty of his mob-like followers, which included rape threats and doxing."
Milo wrote for many other publications before finding his most recent home at Breitbart News, the far-Right publication whose former Executive Chairman is Steve Bannon, current White House Chief Strategist for the Trump administration.
Effective February 21, 2017, Yiannopoulos resigned from his position as Senior Editor at Breitbart in the midst of the uproar surrounding his statement in a podcast about pedophilia.
But we'll get to that later ...
7. Isn't he a gay man? How can he be siding with these people?
Milo is a lot of things ... and gay is definitely one of them. Yet despite his self-identification as a homosexual man, he often clashes with gay rights advocates, having gone so far as to publish one article titled, "I'm Sooo Bored of Being Gay," and another titled, "Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber, It's Time To Get Back In The Closet," in 2015.
And in a 2012 debate with Boy George on a local news channel in the UK, Milo stood obviously against gay marriage.
Take a look for yourself at how it played out on YouTube:
8. I heard he has a black boyfriend? How can that be possible?
Yes, Milo's current partner is a black man, a fact he likes to trot out as proof that he cannot be called a white nationalist or racist. (Noticing a pattern here?)
He recently blasted an editor at Glamour magazine for calling him a white supremacist, publishing emails exchanged between himself, his attorney and the editor. In the email thread, Milo writes, "Some kind of racist that just got railed for 18 hours in a hotel room by his black boyfriend. You f*cking morons." While the Glamour article was "corrected" soon after, as many other publications have been similarly, um, convinced to publish retractions by poor, misunderstood Milo.
Another piece in Tablet smacked back at Yiannopoulos with the following:
"Never mind how fetishizing African-American men as sex objects complicates one’s contention that he is devoid of racism. Like the insistence that he can’t be an anti-Semite because his mother has Jewish ancestors, Yiannopoulos’ assertion that his carnal desires inoculate him from the charge of bigotry is a deflection ploy. Ironically, it’s also a form of the identity politics he claims to despise. While the 'social justice warriors' (SJWs) Yiannopoulos mocks say they cannot be racist or anti-Semitic on account of their identities, Yiannopoulos flimsily asserts the same about himself. The alt right should be absolved of similar imputations, Yiannopoulos says, because its spokesman is a gay half-Jew with jungle fever."
9. Why can't find this dude on Twitter? He's everywhere!
In December of 2015, Milo's Twitter account was temporarily suspended, allegedly (according to the Daily Caller) due to his having "jokingly including in his bio that he was BuzzFeed’s Social Justice Editor." His account was restored, but his blue verification check mark was removed by Twitter soon after for undisclosed reasons.
The last straw for Twitter in relation to Milo and his former @Nero username came in July of 2016 when he participated in the horrific harassment of actress and comedian, Leslie Jones. After her movie, Ghostbusters, was released to mixed reviews, Milo tweeted his own disappointment in the film, but he didn't leave it at that. Milo described Leslie Jones as a "black dude" who is "barely literate." His remarks sparked a surge of internet trolls to attack Jones with racist slurs, so much so that she left Twitter for a few days because she was so upset by the hate. Yiannopoulos was called a bigot, a racist, and an inciter of the attacks.
After Jones tweeted Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter), Milo's account was banned.
#FreeMilo quickly began trending on the social media platform, as the conservatives felt they were being targeted.
"At its best, the nature of our platform empowers people to reach across divides and build connections to share ideas and to challenge accepted norms. As part of that, we hope—and we also recognize that it's a high hope — to elevate civil discourse … Abuse is not part of civil discourse. It shuts down conversation and prevents us from understanding each other. Freedom of expression means little if we allow voices to be silenced because of fear of harassment if they speak up. No one deserves to be the target of abuse online and it has no place on Twitter.”
However, you might want to check out Leslie Jones POV regarding Milo, including her plea to "stop feeding the trolls."
10. How does this relate to #Gamergate?
All of this has further embroiled Milo in the sweeping and circular narrative of hypocrisy around freedom of speech and freedom of expression that he clung to when he jumped onto the bandwagon known as Gamergate.
According to an article in Vice:
"Gamergate's routine accusation is that people, nowadays, coerce video-game makers into representing and validating their own personal politics. People sympathetic to Gamergate's professed cause, who consider themselves part of the gaming industry's free thinkers, invulnerable to political or personal influence, surely wouldn't follow so nakedly a self-interested leader [as Milo]. Patently, the man is in this for himself ...
But as illustrated by the 'FreeMilo' and 'JeSuisMilo' hashtags, which have appeared on Twitter following his ban, Gamergate has been nicely manipulated into gratifying the self-image, the personal perspective, of Milo Yiannopoulos. Gamergate argues politics ought to be kept away from popular culture. But here, in an act so rankly ignoble it demolishes the group's credibility, Gamergate and its sympathizers appropriate the language and memory of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, an atrocity that could not have been more political...
If it were true to its ideas, the rejection of politics, the reduction of personality in video games, Gamergate, as a collective, would not exist. It would recognize that gathering and uniting is an act of politics. It wouldn't band behind an individual, and certainly not one so unabashedly self-obsessed. A legitimate Gamergate would have no name."
11. What was the uproar over his college tour?
Milo was expected to speak at UC Berkeley in California early February when violent protests erupted due to the tour event, which he titled "Dangerous Faggot." The campus tweeted out that the event had been canceled and that students should shelter in place.
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Because of the widespread protests, UCLA canceled their planned tour event, as well, after which the Bruin Republicans issued this statement:
12. What happened with Milo on Real Time With Bill Maher?
I'm not a huge fan of Bill Maher, and his invitation to Milo drew heavy criticism from many, including journalist Jeremy Scahill, who backed out of his own scheduled appearance after learning Maher would be hosting Milo.
But I did respect the concept of his bringing on a guest with such a drastic opposing view, and I looked forward to watching Bill take Milo to task ... that was until I actually watched the interview. Bill Maher chuckled, agreed and pandered along, failing to call him out on any of the bullshit mentioned above.
And as if that wasn't enough, when Yiannopoulos said that "Women and girls should be protected from having men who are confused about their sexual identities in their bathroom,” Maher's reply was to shrug his fawning shoulders and declare, "Well, that's not unreasonable."
Watch for yourself here:
We did, however, find out hero within comedian Larry Wilmore.
As a panel member on the show, he gave Milo a dose of the medicine he's seems to be begging for so desperately.
I can't even do it justice. Just watch!
13. And what's this about a pedophilia scandal?!
In January of 2016, Milo gave a guest interview on a podcast called Drunken Peasants. Over the course of the conversation, he making shocking statements about pedophilia, including the following in regard to his own experience of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest: “And you know what, I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”
Milo continued, “You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13-years-old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children ... who have not reached puberty? Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet. Who have not gone through puberty? Who are too young to be able to understand the way their bodies work. That’s not what we are talking about ... I think particularly in the gay world and outside the Catholic church, if that’s where some of you want to go with this, I think in the gay world, some of the most important, enriching and incredibly life-affirming, important, shaping relationships, very often, between younger boys and older men, they can be hugely positive experiences."
When website Reagan Batallion republished the edited clip last weekend, a firestorm ignited.
First, his invitation to speak at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), was withdrawn.
Next, his deal with Simon & Schuster to publish his much-anticipated book Dangerous, was canceled.
“In canceling Milo’s book contract, Simon & Schuster made a business decision the same way they made a business decision when they decided to publish that man in the first place ... When his comments about pedophilia/pederasty came to light, Simon & Schuster realised it would cost them more money to do business with Milo than he could earn for them. They did not finally ‘do the right thing’ and now we know where their threshold, pun intended, lies ... They were fine with his racist and xenophobic and sexist ideologies. They were fine with his transphobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They were fine with how he encourages his followers to harass women and people of colour and transgender people online.”
14. What in the world was that press conference???
After expressing his own dismay throughout the day on Facebook, Milo announced that he would hold a press conference in order to respond in full to fallout from the pederasty debacle.
Moments prior to that conference's scheduled start time, Milo announced that he issued a press release declaring that he had resigned from his post at Breitbart News.
Over the course of the 30-minute press conference, Milo then expressed the following:
Here is the full text:
"STATEMENT DELIVERED AT PRESS CONFERENCE 2/21/07
I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim.
Between the ages of 13 and 16, two men touched me in ways they should not have. One of those men was a priest.
My relationship with my abusers is complicated by the fact that, at the time, I did not perceive what was happening to me as abusive. I can look back now and see that it was. I still don’t view myself as a victim. But I am one.
Looking back, I can see the effects it had on me. In the years after what happened, I fell into alcohol and nihilistic partying that lasted well into my late 20s.
A few years ago I realised it was time to do something good with my life. I started focusing on work. But the black comedy, gallows humor and love of shock value I developed in my 20s did not go away.
I've reviewed the tapes that appeared last night in their proper full context and I don't believe they say what is being reported. Nonetheless I do say some things on the tapes that I do not mean and which do not reflect my views.
My experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to on this subject, no matter how outrageous. But I understand that my usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humor might have come across as flippancy, a lack of care for other victims or, worse, "advocacy." I am horrified by that impression.
I would like to restate my disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by pedophilia and I have devoted large portions of my career as a journalist to exposing child abusers. I've outed three of them, in fact -- three more than most of my critics.
And I've repeatedly expressed disgust at pedophilia in my feature and opinion writing. I was also the first journalist in the UK to ask after Jimmy Savile’s death whether the real story of his rampant child abuse would ever be told. My professional record is very clear.
But I do understand that the videos you have seen, even though some of them were deceptively edited, paint a different picture. I am partly to blame.
I do not advocate for illegal behavior. I explicitly say on the tapes, in a section that was cut from the footage you have seen, that I think the current age of consent is "about right." I do not believe any change in the the legal age of consent is justifiable or desirable.
I do not believe sex with 13-year-olds is okay. When I mentioned the number 13, I was talking about myself, and the age I lost my own virginity.
I shouldn't have used the word "boy" -- which gay men often do to describe young men of consenting age -- instead of "young man." That was an error. I was talking about my own relationship when I was 17 with a man who was 29. The age of consent in the UK is 16.
I did say that there are relationships between younger men and older men that can help a young gay man escape from a lack of support or understanding at home. That's perfectly true and every gay man knows it.
I am certainly guilty of imprecise language, which I regret.
Anyone who suggests I turn a blind eye to illegal activity or to the abuse of minors is unequivocally wrong. I am implacably opposed to the normalization of pedophilia and I will continue to report and speak accordingly. To repeat: I do not support pedophilia. It is a disgusting crime of which I have personally been a victim.
The remarks I made on podcasts and interviews more than a year ago were about my personal life experiences. I will not apologize for dealing with my life experiences in the best way that I can, which is humor. 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.
I will never stop making jokes about taboo subjects. Go into any drag bar or gay club and you will see performers cracking jokes about clerical sexual abuse. I am not afforded that same freedom, because the media chooses to selectively define me as a political figure in some circumstances, and a comedian in others.
But I said some things on those internet live streams that were simply wrong.
My employer Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved. They have allowed me to carry conservative and libertarian ideas to communities that would otherwise never have heard them. They have been a significant factor in my success. I’m grateful for that freedom and for the friendships I forged there.
I would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important reporting, which is why today I am resigning from Breitbart, effective immediately. This decision is mine alone.
When your friends have done right by you, you do right by them. For me, now, that means stepping aside so my colleagues at Breitbart can get back to the great work they do.
My book, Dangerous, has received interest from publishers after my previous publisher Simon and Schuster informed me they no longer wished to release it. The book will come out this year as planned. I will be donating 10 per cent of my royalties to child sex abuse charities.
I haven’t ever apologized before. Name-calling doesn’t bother me. But to be a victim of child abuse and for the media to call me an apologist for child abuse is absurd.
I regret the things I said. I don't think I've been as sorry about anything in my whole life. This isn't how I wanted my parents to find out about this.
But let's be clear what is happening here. This is a cynical media witch hunt from people who don't care about children. They care about destroying me and my career, and by extension my allies. They know that although I made some outrageous statements, I've never actually done anything wrong. These videos have been out there for more than a year. The media held this story back because they don't care about victims, they only care about bringing me down. They will fail.
I will be announcing a new, independently-funded media venture of my own and a live tour in the coming weeks.
I started my career as a technology reporter who wrote about politics but I have since become something else. I am a performer with millions of fans in America and beyond. I’m grateful for the tens of thousands of messages of support I’ve received and I look forward to making you all laugh, cry and think for many decades to come.
My full focus is now going to be on entertaining and educating everyone, left, right and otherwise. If you want to brand or stereotype me, good luck with that.
Don’t think for a moment that this will stop me being as offensive, provocative and outrageously funny as I want on any subject I want. America has a colossal free speech problem. The land of the First Amendment has some of the most oppressive social restrictions on free expression anywhere in the western world. I’m proud to be a warrior for free speech and creative expression.
I want everyone in America, the greatest country in the history of human civilisation, to be able to be, do, read and say anything. I will never stop fighting for your right to do that.
Thank you. I will take 5 questions."
Dr. Andrew P. Smiler, author of "Dating & Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy" and Board President of MaleSurvivor.org, shared his thoughts with us.
"We know that boys and men who are sexually assaulted or raped have difficulty acknowledging that they are victims. Yiannapoulos' comments, in which he claims no harm and better sexual performance as the result of his rape, will make it that much harder for other male victims to come forward as having suffered harm. At the same time, his acknowledgment that he only understood that those early sexual experiences were abusive once he became older may also benefit many men who were abused as teens."
Today, Milo showed Bill Maher, and all of us, that he clearly has zero plans to leave town with his tail between his legs anytime soon.