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Milo Yiannopoulos

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Milo Yiannopoulos (born October 18, 1984) is a British journalist, columnist, public speaker and entrepreneur. Yiannopoulos founded The Kernel, an online tabloid magazine about technology, which he sold to The Daily Dot Media in 2014. [3]  He then became the Tech Editor and also editor in chief for Breitbart. He has since resigned from Breitbart (as of February 2017) and will announce an independently funded media venture of his own.[65]

He wrote previously using the pseudonym Milo Andreas Wagner. He was permanently banned from Twitter in July 2016. [10]

 

Milo had beef with "Social Justice Warriors" in the Gamergate controversy. His presentations at U.S. college campuses have sparked protests and controversy over his statements. 

 

In January 2016, Milo's "verified" checkmark was taken away by Twitter for no official reason. His fans responded with the #jesuismilo hashtag, which trended and ended up gaining him tens of thousands of followers. 

 

In July 2016, Milo was permanently banned from Twitter for allegedly inciting or participating in targeted abuse of individuals. The ban happened minutes before his Gays for Trump Party at the 2016 Republican National Convention. At the time of the ban he had 338,000 followers on Twitter[25]

 

It is speculated that Milo was banned from Twitter after actress Leslie Jones reported him for making tweets about her that she found insulting. [25][28][32][29][30]

Early life

Yiannopoulos was born Milo Hanrahan in Greece. He was raised by a middle-class family in Kent. His stepfather is an architect. [3]His mother is Jewish.

Education

Yiannopoulos attended the University of Manchester before dropping out. He then attended Wolfson College, Cambridge where he studied English literature for two years before dropping out. Regarding dropping out of university, in 2012 he told Forbes, "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." In 2015, in an article titled "I dropped out of Manchester and Cambridge but it’s honestly fine," he wrote that he didn't believe a university degree was necessary for success, and that he believed he had achieved success without one. [3]

Career

Yiannopoulos originally intended to write theatre criticism, but became interested in technology journalism whilst investigating women in computing for The Daily Telegraph in 2009. He also appeared on Sky News discussing social media, and on BBC Breakfast discussing Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom.

 

As a gay Roman Catholic, Yiannopoulos has debated gay marriage on Newsnight, and on Channel 4's 10 O'Clock Live with Boy George. He later debated singer Will Young on Newsnight on the use of the word "gay" in the playground and Tinchy Stryder on the same program in May 2014, about copyright infringement and music piracy.

 

In March 2015 he appeared on The Big Questions, debating topics relating to feminism and discrimination against men in the United Kingdom.[33][35]

 

In an articled titled "I’m Sooo Bored of Being Gay",[34] Yiannopoulos writes regarding his sexuality, "I’ll never forget the precise moment I chose to be gay. It was the endpoint in a process of rebellion against my white middle-class parents...Today, thanks to society’s endless mollycoddling and celebration of “alternative” lifestyles, the joy of rebellion is drying up for me. You see, I only plumped for homosexuality to irritate my parents. But now even they are fine with it. A few years ago, my mum said, perhaps cannily, “All I want is for you to be happy. That came as devastating news... Now my gayness was not only roundly applauded by wider society but even my own parents, what was the point?" He concludes: "Since gay people have been so endlessly praised, flattered and catered to by the media and politicians, I’ve lost interest in sleeping with men. I want to feel oppressed again! That’s why, from today, I’m going to make a go of being straight. Wish me luck!"

 

Yiannopoulos has written under the pseudonym Milo Wagner. [3]

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, that Yiannopoulos had started with David Rosenberg, a friend from Cambridge University. The company was dissolved shortly after the ceremony that awarded the top start-up. 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. Butcher wrote that Yiannopoulos "was put in an incredibly invidious position [because] the legitimacy of the methodology behind the judging process ... was sat on, unceremoniously. I don’t think he should take the blame for this at all. He could only do what he could do under the circumstances given [the] overt pressure from his backer. I reached out to him about all this but he’s declined to comment—perhaps understandably." [3]

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." 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. 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. 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.

 

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. 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.

 

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. In 2014, The Kernel was acquired by the parent company of The Daily Dot, Daily Dot Media. He stepped down as Editor-in-Chief but remained an advisor to the company. [3]

#GamerGate

Yiannopoulos was responsible for 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." In December 2014, he announced he was working on a book about Gamergate.

 

As part of his coverage of Gamergate, he published correspondence from GameJournoPros, an email list where members of the video game press coordinated the simultaneous publication of similar anti-Gamergate articles. Kyle Orland, the creator of the list, responded to the leak on Ars Technica, admitting that he had written a message saying several things that he "soon came to regret", but also defending the list as "a place for business competitors ... to discuss issues of common professional interest". Carter Dotson of pocketgamer.biz said that the list was indicative of an echo chamber effect in the gaming press.

 

Ryan Cooper of The Week argued that Yiannopoulos "had little but sneering contempt for gamers" beforehand, highlighting Yiannopoulos' comments describing gamers as 'pungent beta male bollock-scratchers and twelve-year-olds' and 'a bit sad'.

 

During the controversy, Yiannopoulos said that he received a syringe filled with an unknown substance through the post, 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 on Twitter, according to the local police responding to information supplied by the FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation. Similarly, three months later, an event with Society of Professional Journalists in August 2015 was also targeted by bomb threats, forcing the evacuation of an event with Yiannopoulos and Sommers. [3]

Social Media Controversies

In January 2016, Twitter removed the blue "verification" checkmark from Yiannopoulos' (@Nero) Twitter account. 

 

Twitter has a policy of not commenting on individual cases and so has not explained the reason for the removal of verification. Some news outlets speculated that Yiannopoulos had violated its speech and harassment codes, while others worried that Twitter was targeting conservatives. 

 

The controversy brought the journalist increased visibility and an influx of 25,000+ new followers. During a debate with Yiannopoulos on the BBC program The Big Questions, journalist Connie St. Louis said the removed verification resulted from Yiannopoulos openly calling for an assassination via his Twitter account. St. Louis later issued an apology on the official 'BBC's Big Questions' Twitter account, stating "this was incorrect and she apologizes for this error". In the same episode, Kate Smurthwaite called Yiannopoulos a serial abuser.

 

In March 2016, Yiannopoulos acquired accreditation for a White House press briefing for the first time. Prompted by his recent de-verification by Twitter, Yiannopoulos asked the White House to comment on the free speech stance of prominent social media platforms, arguing in one case, that "Conservative commentators and journalists are being punished, being suspended, having their tweets deleted by Twitter."

 

In June 2016, Milo was briefly banned from Twitter for criticizing of Islam after the Pulse Orlando Shooting (2016) by Omar Mateen. After a Twitter received backlash from Milo supporters, his account was restored. [3]

Leslie Jones Controversy 

On July 19, 2016 Milo was permanently banned from Twitter for allegedly inciting or participating in targeted abuse of individuals. The ban happened minutes before his Gays for Trump Party at the 2016 Republican National Convention. At the time of the ban he had 338,000 followers on Twitter[25]

 

It is speculated that Milo was banned from Twitter after he insulted and harassed Leslie Jones in a series of tweets, and she reported him. Twitter CEOJack Dorsey personally reached out to Leslie Jones after she spoke about the abuse she received from Twitter users. [25]

 

Milo criticized Leslie Jones for acting like a victim when she received hate mail after starring in the Ghostbusters (2016 film). After she responded by reporting him, Milo by making jokes about Leslie's literacy level and appearance. [26][32]

 

Many Milo supporters believe that Milo was banned for his conservative views rather for his controversial tweets since Leslie Jones also made controversial tweets. She tweeted at one Milo supporter, calling them "racist bitches" for criticizing her decision to ban Milo. [26][29]

 

Breitbart Tech

In October 2015, the Breitbart News Network placed Yiannopoulos in charge of its new "Breitbart Tech" section, which he said will "be free speech central—and we'll talk about stuff people really care about: Freedom, free speech, love, sex, death, money and porn." The site has six full-time staff, including an esports specialist. [3]

Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant

In January 2016, Yiannopoulos co-founded the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant with Margaret MacLennan, “a scholarship exclusively available to white men who wish to pursue their post-secondary education on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates.” The grant plans to disburse 50 grants of $2,500 to disadvantaged young men to assist them with their tertiary expenses, starting in the 2016-17 academic year. 100 grants of the same amount will be dispersed in the second year, and 200 in the third.  Discussing the grant on his Twitter, Yiannopoulos cited statistics that men only make up 43% of the USA's college students, that women perform significantly better than men at many levels of education, and that "women's advantage in graduation is evident at all socioeconomic levels and for most racial and ethnic groups" as reasons for his grant, and personally contributed a significant amount of the funds himself.

 

In response to the charity, International Business Times journalist Tom Mendelsohn labelled Yiannopoulos a "troll" and stated that the journalist's "scheme" was "designed to derail social progress both by fanning the flames of controversy over the tiny efforts of redress certain institutions are making towards women and minorities, and by attempting to return power to whites." Mendelsohn also claimed that the grants were unnecessary due to the large number of other scholarships available for white men, and the wealth of the white male demographic in the US. After receiving substantial media attention on platforms such as BuzzFeed and International Business Times, the Privilege Grant's official website was temporarily taken down due to DDoS attacks. Addressing his attackers on Twitter, Yiannopoulos stated "I started a charity to help poor kids get to college. Response from progressives was to call me a racist, DDoS the site. They’re wonderful." [3]

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 and at 98 in 2012. He was called the "pit bull of tech media" by Ben Dowell of The Observer. [3]

Other activities

Yiannopoulos hosted the Young Rewired State competition in 2010, an initiative to showcase the technological talents of 15–18-year-olds, and organized The London Nude Tech Calendar, a calendar featuring members of the London technology scene to raise money for Take Heart India.

 

He organized the moonwalk flash mob tribute to Michael Jackson in London's Liverpool Street Station shortly after Jackson's death in 2009. He explained that the idea of a flashmob as a tribute to Jackson was originally a humorous suggestion on Twitter, but then decided to make it happen, inviting people via social networking websites.

 

In 2007, he self-published two collections of poetry. A self-professed "proper nut-job groupie" fan of pop singer Mariah Carey, in 2014, he wrote a column for Business Insider explaining why he flew to Berlin to purchase Carey's album, Me. I Am Mariah.. The Elusive Chanteus five days before it was available in the UK and US.

 

In October 2015, Yiannopoulos and feminist Julie Bindel were scheduled to participate 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?′, but the student union banned Bindel, then later also Yiannopoulos. The union cited Bindel's comments on transgender women and Yiannopoulos' opinions on rape culture, which they stated were both in breach of the union's safe space policy.

 

In November 2015, Yiannopoulos was scheduled to give a talk at Bristol University. After protesters attempted to have Yiannopoulos banned from the university, the event was turned into a debate between Yiannopoulos and The Daily Telegraph blogger and feminist Rebecca Reid. 

 

In March 2016 on The Rubin Report, Yiannopoulos explained that pointing out statistics is not anti-Semitic. He said, in part, "...the Jews run everything; well, we do. The Jews run all the banks; well, we do. The Jews run the media; well, we do… It’s a fact, this is not in debate. It’s a statistical fact... Jews run most of the banks; Jews completely dominate the media; Jews are vastly disproportionately represented in all of these professions. That's just a fact. It’s not anti-Semitic to point out statistics... It's not anti-Semitic to point out that these things are true. 

 

In 2017, Threshold Editions, the conservative imprint of publishing giant Simon & Schuster, advanced Milo Yiannopoulos $250,000 for his forthcoming book, Dangerous, which will focus, broadly, on the topic of “free speech.” [43]

 

The 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. A number of his scheduled speeches in Great Britain were canceled. Although most of his American speeches were not canceled, some were met with notable protest ranging from vocal disruptions to cancellation via the heckler's veto.

Rutgers University

On February 9, Yiannopoulos spoke at Rutgers University. At the start of his speech, female protestors suddenly stood up among the crowd and began smearing red paint on their faces before chanting “Black lives matter.” The mostly pro-Yiannopoulos crowd responded by chanting “Trump” over and over again until the protestors left, allowing Yiannopoulos to continue his speech.

University of Minnesota

On February 17, a student-run conservative magazine at the University of Minnesota hosted Yiannopolous and Christina Hoff Sommers in February, and the event was also met by protesters. Roughly 40 protestors outside repeatedly chanted "Yiannopoulos, out of Minneapolis," while about five protestors made it inside the event, shouting and sounding noisemakers, before being escorted out by security. In response to these protests, members of the university faculty began pushing for more robust free speech protections at Minnesota.

DePaul University

On May 24, Yiannopoulos’s speech at DePaul University was interrupted about 15 minutes in by two Black Lives Matter protestors who rushed the stage: DePaul alumnus and pastor Edward Ward, and student Kayla Johnson. Ward repeatedly blew on a whistle whenever Yiannopoulos or the moderators tried to speak, while Johnson took the moderator’s microphone, swung a fist at Yiannopoulos’s face, and danced onstage. The crowd overwhelmingly began booing the protestors, at one point chanting “Get a job.” Additionally, the campus security team that university administrators required the College Republicans to hire the day before (at an extra cost of $1000, part of which was paid by Yiannopoulos himself), stood by and did not make an effort to remove the protestors, even after the crowd directed their anger at them and started chanting “Do your job.” Yiannopoulos initially tried to avert the onstage distraction by walking down into the crowd and taking selfies with those in attendance, but Ward eventually took the other microphone and began blowing his whistle into the microphone. Yiannopoulos and his supporters then walked out of the venue and marched to the president’s office in protest. 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.

In the aftermath of the incident, university president Dennis H. Holtschneider issued a statement reaffirming the value of free speech and apologizing for the harm caused by Yiannopolous's appearance on the campus, and also criticized the student protesters for disrupting the event. Attendees of the talk, organized by DePaul's College Republican's Chapter, criticized university police and event security for not removing the protesters. 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. The university later agreed to reimburse the College Republicans for the costs of event security. In protest of the president’s statement, a sociology professor named Shu-Ju Ada Chang angrily resigned from DePaul, calling free speech “delusional” and arguing that allowing Yiannopoulos to speak reinforced “the exact inequalities and dominant ideologies upon which this institution is built.” 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.

UCLA

Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of California, Los Angeles on May 31, where the event featured an interview-style presentation alongside Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report. Prior to the start of the event, protestors formed human chains to block the front door to the theater where the event was scheduled to take place. In response, those who wanted to attend the event were forced to sneak in through the back door, although the protestors also found out about that entrance and attempted to block it as well, subsequently leading to several attendees shoving their way through the crowd to get in. The Los Angeles Police Department officers on duty then had to prevent protestors from entering while letting attendees pass through, thus delaying the event for about an hour until the room could fill to capacity. Twice during the speech, Yiannopoulos was interrupted by a female protestor, Kyra Morling, who shouted “You’re spreading hate,” and was subsequently booed by the audience; despite seeming to leave after the first outburst, she returned to heckle him again before finally being escorted out of the venue. The next day, it was revealed that the LAPD had come in as the event was ending and told all those still in the theater that they had to be evacuated due to a bomb threat.

 

UC Berkeley

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A graph based on a study that shows that Breitbart is considered one of the most inaccurate publications that exists on the internet. [44]

On Wednesday, February 1st, 2017, Editor in Chief and columnist of Breitbart Milo Yiannopolos received international media attention after UC Berkeley thousands of students and people opposed to his views and agenda protested the appearance and speech on campus. No arrests were made after fires were lit and damage to school property were being committed. More than $100,000 in damages has been reported to have been committed by "masked" perpetrators. Some even threw Molotov cocktails at police. A day after the unrest hundreds of companies committed to cut ties with Breitbart. [46]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books

Milo Yiannopoulos has published two poetry books, both of which were under the alias name Milo Andreas Wagner. His 2007 release Eskimo Papoose was scrutinized for re-using lines from pop music and television without attribution, including Tori Amos' "Crucify."[59] He replied that it was done deliberately and the work was satirical.

 

Dangerous

Yiannopoulos' autobiography is entitled Dangerous. It was scheduled to be released on March 14, 2017, and then re-scheduled for June 13, 2017.[60] Milo announced that his book deal got canceled on February 20, 2017, but later announced in a press conference that the book will be released by another publisher within the year.[64][65]

 

Roughly 24 hours after announcing his autobiography, pre-orders of the book made it the top-seller on Amazon.[60] He also received a $250,000 advance payment from the book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, and will be published under the Threshold Editions imprint.[61]

 

The book announcement attracted controversy, including a statement by The Chicago Review of Books that they would not review any Simon & Schuster book because of the book deal.[62]

 

After a tape surfaced from his January 2016 interview with Joe Rogan where he criticized age-of-consent laws, the Dangerous book deal got cancelled. His keynote speakership at the Conservative Political Action Conference was also canceled in connection with the scandal. [63]

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