Milo Yiannopoulos made his living by writing extreme remarks for conservative site Breitbart about women, feminism, people of color, and transgender identification—even as he professes to be gay and says he is married to a black man.
With his career now in decline, he’s taken to continuing with his inflammatory comments, including hoping for violence against any news outlet that bothers to call him.
“I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” Yiannopoulos frequently writes via email or text message to reporters who contact him.
Yiannopoulos made the apparent mocking threat today in response to queries to the Observer asking about a restaurant he frequents and to the Daily Beast about an effort he’s apparently part of to take over the United Kingdom’s far-right white ethno-state party UKIP. The party has foundered after the Brexit referendum passed, one of its goals, and never won a seat in Parliament.
Yiannopoulos told the Observer‘s David Richardson that this is now his standard response to a request for comment.
The threat is clearly less than earnest, an escalation of provocative and potentially harmful statements he has made previously, but along similar lines in which he stands teetering on the brink of free speech limits in the U.S. (Yiannopoulos reportedly currently lives in America.)
In the Supreme Court case Brandenburg v. Ohio, the court found that general statements encouraging violence or illegal acts is allowed by the Constitution “except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”
While Yiannopoulos’ statement doesn’t clearly meet that test, some public colleges had previously attempted to block or cancel his speeches, allegedly funded by the billionaire Mercers father and daughter, Robert and Rebekah. The Mercers have since abandoned him. If he were invited to speak in the future, it’s unlikely such a comment would meet tests set by courts, based on decisions in the last few years that forced colleges to host far-right speakers despite concerns of violence caused by attendees, protesters, or other parties.
Yiannopoulos rose to prominence as an editor for Breitbart, where he was groomed by former White House advisor Steven Bannon, after championing GamerGate, a decentralized movement that opposed changes in videogames that introduced a diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, and other characters.
He parlayed this into regular media coverage and a book contract, and a U.S. speaking tour on college campuses, some of which appearances devolved into violence. The book contract was ultimately canceled, and led to a lawsuit that he withdrew before it went to trial—but after the manuscript including his editor’s comments was released.
Since comments seemingly endorsing underage sexual acts between boys and men surfaced in February 2017, he was uninvited from that year’s prominent Conservative Political Action Conference, and his star has dimmed.