Right-wing advocate Milo Yiannopoulos is known for his provocative statements, so much so that publisher Simon & Schuster has cancelled his upcoming book after the latest scandal.
But who is Yiannopoulos, the self-styled “most fabulous supervillain on the internet”?
The 32-year-old grew up in Kent. His father is Greek and his mother British, and they divorced when he was young.
He’s now based in the US.
Even though he originally intended to be a theatre critic, he soon moved into tech writing. He co-founded online technology magazine The Kernel in 2011 and sold it in 2014 (after a lot of money and legal difficulties). He first hit the headlines for his role in the online troll war known as Gamergate.
In 2015 he became senior editor of Breitbart News. To give you a taste of what Breitbart is like, it’s described by Bloomberg as “a haven for people who think Fox News is too polite and restrained”. A site that courts controversy, it has close ties to the Trump administration as former editor Steve Bannon holds a senior position in the White House.
The site pushes a nationalist, anti-establishment agenda and became one of the leading outlets of the so-called alt-right – a movement often associated with far-right efforts to preserve “white identity”, oppose multiculturalism and defend “Western values”.
Yiannopoulos’s articles very much follow in this vein, with controversial headlines including “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?” and “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy”.
It is therefore unsurprising that Yiannopoulos is a huge supporter of Donald Trump, who he often refers to as “daddy” in interviews.
Trump defended him when his appearance at Berkeley University got cancelled – but more on that later.
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I HAVE BOOK NEWS: I asked my publisher, Threshold Editions, for more time to submit the manuscript for DANGEROUS so I could include material about the craziness and rioting at UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UW Seattle. It would be absurd for me to publish a book without some discussion of the insanity of the last few weeks. They said yes -- so we're now releasing the book on June 13, not March 14. That's when you'll get your preordered copies. Thanks for being patient -- I can't wait for you all to read it.
According to Yiannopoulos, no. However, he did call it “energising and exciting” in an interview with the BBC, and many people think that he is a mouthpiece for the movement’s views.
Interestingly, his Jewish background and homosexuality are at odds with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists of the movement.
Yiannopoulos is a regular public speaker, but his appearances are more often than not dogged with controversy. Most recently, protests erupted in response to his scheduled talk at the University of California, Berkeley, causing his February appearance to be cancelled.
His Twitter account was briefly suspended multiple times (including after he criticised Islam after the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting) before he was permanently banned from the social media site in July 2016 for trolling actor Leslie Jones.
"We were shocked to learn that white supremacist woman-hating Nazi Milo Yiannopoulos supports paedophiles" - Simon & Schuster— John Johnsonson (@JohnJohnsonson) February 21, 2017
Some comments that Yiannopoulos made about paedophilia were recently published by the conservative Reagan Battalion blog, and although Yiannopoulos claims he was badly edited the video has still caused uproar.
Here is the uncut 5 minute video of Milo Yiannopoulos advocating for Pederasty involving "13 Year old" and "older men." HIS WORDS.@Mschlapp pic.twitter.com/mAgmfpuyvu— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) February 20, 2017
So much so that the American Conservative Union cancelled his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and publishers Simon & Schuster have pulled his planned book Dangerous.
However, Yiannopoulos is no stranger to controversy, so it’s unlikely that this is the last we’ll hear of him.