Milo Yiannopoulos (; born Milo Hanrahan, 18 October 1984), or pen name Milo Andreas Wagner,
is a British far-right
political commentator, polemicist, public speaker and writer. His speeches and writings often ridicule Islam
, social justice
, and political correctness
Yiannopoulos is a former editor for Breitbart News
, a far-right media organisation.
Yiannopoulos worked for Breitbart from 2014 until 2017. During his time at Breitbart, Yiannopoulos rose to prominence as a significant voice in the Gamergate controversy
. In July 2016, he was permanently banned from Twitter
for online harassment of actress Leslie Jones
He was permanently banned from Facebook
According to hundreds of emails by Yiannopoulos leaked by ''BuzzFeed
'' in late 2017, Yiannopoulos repeatedly solicited white nationalists
, such as ''American Renaissance
'' editor Devin Saucier, for story ideas and editing suggestions during his tenure at Breitbart.
Yiannopoulos has been accused of advocating for paedophilia
. The allegation arose from several video clips in which he said that sexual relationships between 13-year-old boys and adult men and women can be "perfectly consensual" and positive experiences for the boys.
Following the release of the video clips, Yiannopoulos was forced out of his position at Breitbart, his invitation to speak before the Conservative Political Action Conference
(CPAC) was revoked, and a contract to publish his autobiography with Simon & Schuster
was cancelled. Yiannopoulos has said that he is not a supporter of paedophilic relationships and that his statements were merely attempts to cope with his own victimhood, as an object of child abuse
by unnamed older men.
Early life and personal life
Born as Milo Hanrahan, Yiannopoulos was born and raised in Chatham
, England. His father is of half-Greek
descent. His parents divorced when he was a child.
Raised by his mother and her second husband, Yiannopoulos has stated that he did not have a good relationship with his stepfather. He is described as a practising Roman Catholic
, but has also said that he is Jewish
; Yiannopoulos states his maternal grandmother was Jewish. As a teenager, Yiannopoulos lived with his paternal grandmother whose surname he later adopted.
Yiannopoulos was educated at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys
from which he has said he was expelled. He attended the University of Manchester
but dropped out
before graduating; he then read English at Wolfson College, Cambridge
, but was sent down
(expelled) in 2010.
In 2017, Yiannopoulos was a U.S. resident alien
on O-1 visa
status. He reportedly married his long-term boyfriend in Hawaii
in September 2017. In March 2021, during an interview with right-wing publication ''LifeSiteNews
'', Yiannopoulos claimed to be "ex-gay
" and stated his husband had been "demoted to housemate".
After he dropped out of university, Yiannopoulos initially secured a job at ''The Catholic Herald
''. In 2009, Yiannopoulos moved to technology journalism
with ''The Daily Telegraph
His ''Telegraph'' columnist bio described him in 2009 as one who "writes sceptically about Web 2.0 and social media but enthusiastically about the internet in general."
In November 2011, Yiannopoulos co-founded ''The Kernel''.
In March 2013, ''The Kernel'' was shut down amidst allegations of unpaid wages, at a time when Yiannopoulos was the Editor-in-Chief and sole director of the parent company, Sentinel Media.
It was reopened later that year under Kernel Media, with Yiannopoulos remaining Editor-in-Chief and having privately settled the previous debts.
In 2014, ''The Kernel'' was acquired by Daily Dot Media, the parent company of ''The Daily Dot
''. After the acquisition by Daily Dot Media, Yiannopoulos stepped down as editor-in-chief, although he remained an adviser to the company.
In 2014 Yiannopoulos started writing for Breitbart, and in October 2015, the Breitbart News Network
placed Yiannopoulos in charge of its new "Breitbart Tech" section. The site had six full-time staff, including an eSports
specialist, and was edited by Yiannopoulos until his resignation on 21 February 2017.
In 2014 Yiannopoulos emerged as a "lead actor" in the Gamergate controversy through his work at Breitbart, becoming one of the most vocal of Gamergate's supporters. Yiannopoulos employed Gamergate as a basis for online attacks on women, and his role in Gamergate allowed him to become one of the central figures in the mainstream growth of the alt-right
Association with neo-Nazism and the alt-right
Much of the work at Breitbart which brought Yiannopoulos to national attention was inspired by the ideas of neo-Nazis and white nationalists. In early October 2017, ''BuzzFeed News
'' published leaked email chains from Yiannopoulos' tenure at Breitbart. According to the report, Yiannopoulos and his ghostwriter Allum Bokhari regularly solicited ideas for stories and comments from people associated with the alt-right
movements. Among the figures Yiannopoulos contacted were Curtis Yarvin
, a central figure of the neoreactionary
movement; Devin Saucier
, the editor of the white supremacist magazine ''American Renaissance
''; Andrew Auernheimer
, the administrator of neo-Nazi website ''The Daily Stormer
''; and Baked Alaska
, a commentator known for his anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi tweets.
The story also reported that Yiannopoulos had a penchant for using personal passwords with anti-semitic
overtones, such as 'Kristall', a reference to Kristallnacht
and 'longknives1290', a compound reference to the Night of the Long Knives
and the Edict of Expulsion
In a Breitbart article, Yiannopoulos and a co-author described the alt-right movement as "dangerously bright". The ''Tablet
'' stated that many of these intellectual backers write for publications it describes as racist and antisemitic, such as VDARE
and ''American Renaissance
''. The Breitbart article was criticised by opponents of the alt-right for excusing the extremist elements of the movement, and also by the neo-Nazi website ''The Daily Stormer
'' which holds that racism and antisemitism are pillars of the alt-right.
The Anti-Defamation League
classifies Yiannopoulos as part of the alt-lite
, a term used to distinguish individuals sometimes associated with the alt-right from those who are openly white nationalist
These accusations, as well as Yiannopoulos's support for Donald Trump
, have contributed to a feud between Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro
, a Jewish conservative political commentator who refused to support Trump in the 2016 presidential election
. Shapiro accused Yiannopoulos, his followers, and other Trump supporters of racist and anti-Semitic behaviour. He criticized Yiannopoulos's attempts to distinguish between real racist or bigoted behaviour and trolling, stating that "words have meaning" and that the distinction that Yiannopoulos was attempting to make "simply doesn't exist in objective reality".
In 2017, Yiannopoulos was caught on camera singing "America the Beautiful
" at a karaoke
bar, where a crowd of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, including Richard B. Spencer
, who cheered him with the Nazi sieg heil
salute. Yiannopoulos subsequently claimed that he did not see the Nazi salutes while he was singing, citing what he claimed to be "extreme myopia
". According to the bartender who was working on the night of the incident, Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer and their entourage came into the bar and asked to sing karaoke even though it had ended. When the bartender saw the Nazi salutes she rushed the stage and told Yiannopoulos and his friends to leave, at which point they began harassing her, chanting "Trump! Trump! Trump!" and "Make America Great Again
!" According to her, Yiannopoulos was getting the others "roused".
Following these revelations, billionaire Robert Mercer
ceased his support for Yiannopoulous and condemned him, as did Yiannopoulous's former employer Steve Bannon
In November 2019, Yiannopoulos released an audio-recording which appeared to feature Richard B. Spencer using racist slurs against African Americans and Jewish people. The recording appeared to date from the immediate aftermath of the Unite the Right rally
in Charlottesville in 2017 and the murder of Heather Heyer
Yiannopoulos has appeared on a number of controversial tours. Beginning in 2015 with "The Dangerous Faggot Tour", encompassing universities in the United States and Great Britain. Although few of his American speeches were cancelled, many were met with protests ranging from vocal disruptions to violent demonstrations. Yiannopoulos has had visas denied or cancelled on multiple occasions.
In January 2017, Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Washington
. The event led to large protests.
A 34-year-old man was shot while protesting and suffered life-threatening injuries. A witness recalled seeing someone release pepper spray in the crowd, which triggered the shooting confrontation.
On 1 February 2017, Yiannopoulos was scheduled to make a speech at UC Berkeley
. More than 100 UC Berkeley faculty had signed a petition urging the university to cancel the event. Over 1,500 people gathered to protest against the event on the steps of Sproul Hall, with some violence occurring. According to the university, around 150 masked agitators came onto campus and interrupted the protest, setting fires, damaging property, throwing fireworks, attacking members of the crowd, and throwing rocks at the police. These violent protesters included members of BAMN
, who threw rocks at police, shattered windows, threw Molotov cocktails, and later vandalised downtown Berkeley. Among those assaulted were a Syrian Muslim in a suit who was pepper sprayed and hit with a rod by a protester who said "You look like a Nazi", and a woman who was pepper sprayed while being interviewed by a TV reporter. Citing security concerns, the UC Police Department cancelled the event. One person was arrested for failure to disperse, and there was about $100,000 in damage. The police were criticised for their "hands off" policy whereby they did not arrest any of the demonstrators who committed assault, vandalism, or arson. Berkeley police reported at least 11 arrests, but no injuries or damage to buildings. UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said afterwards that the media event amounted to "the most expensive photo op in the university's history."
In November 2017, Yiannopoulos began a tour of Australia, visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth. During the Adelaide
show, Yiannopoulos stirred controversy by projecting an unflattering photo of the feminist writer Clementine Ford
, taken when she was a teenager, with the words "UNFUCKABLE" superimposed over the top. During events in Melbourne he again stirred controversy when he described Australian Aboriginal art
as "crap" and "really shit". There was violence outside his Melbourne events as protesters from the left-aligned Campaign Against Racism and Fascism
and the right-wing True Blue Crew
clashed. Seven people were arrested after clashing with police and outside the venue for Yiannopoulos's Sydney
event. Yiannopoulos claimed the violence was caused by "the left, showing up, being violent to stop freedom of speech".
Yiannopoulos published two poetry books under the name Milo Andreas Wagner. His 2007 release ''Eskimo Papoose'' was later scrutinised for re-using lines from pop music and television without attribution, to which he replied that it was done deliberately and the work was satirical.
A ghostwritten autobiography titled ''Dangerous'' was announced in December 2016. Yiannopoulos reportedly received an $80,000 advance payment from the book's planned publisher, Simon & Schuster
. It was intended to be published under their Threshold Editions
. A day after its announcement, pre-sales for the book elevated it to first place on Amazon.com
's list of best-sellers.
In February 2017 Simon & Schuster cancelled its plans to publish the book in the wake of the video and sexual-consent comments controversy that also led to CPAC withdrawing its speaking invitation and Yiannopoulos to resign from Breitbart. Yiannopoulos began litigation against Simon & Schuster for "breach of contract" and "breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing", seeking $10 million in damages. He dropped the suit in February 2018.
In May 2017, Yiannopoulos announced that he would self-publish the book on 4 July 2017. Soon after the announcement, the book became the best-selling political humour book on Amazon. The book was a ''New York Times
'', ''Wall Street Journal
'' and ''USA Today
'' bestseller. The book further peaked at No. 1 on ''Publishers Weekly
''s nonfiction bestseller list and at No. 2 on the ''New York Times'' nonfiction bestseller list
*Yiannopoulos published the book ''Diabolical: How Pope Francis Has Betrayed Clerical Abuse Victims Like Me – and Why He Has to Go'' in 2018. He stated: "The main purpose of writing this new book was to talk about the homosexual cancer that has infected the Vatican". The book repeated the discredited claim that paedophilia and homosexuality
are linked. Yiannopoulos promoted the book through Michael Voris
, a traditionalist Catholic
, celibate bisexual and anti-LGBT activist.
*Yiannopoulos's self-published books ''How to Be Poor'' and ''How to Be Straight'' were also released in 2019. The former was released after the revelation of his alleged insolvency.
Social media controversies and bans
In December 2015, Twitter briefly suspended Yiannopoulos' account after he changed his profile to describe himself as ''BuzzFeed
''s "social justice editor." His Twitter
account's blue "verification" checkmark was removed by the site the following month.
Twitter declined to give an explanation for the removal of verification, saying that they do not comment on individual cases. Some news outlets speculated that Yiannopoulos had violated its speech and harassment codes, as with an instance where he told another user that they "deserved to be harassed." Others worried that Twitter was targeting conservatives.
For his criticism of Islam after the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting
, a terrorist attack on a gay nightclub
, his Twitter account was briefly suspended in June 2016. His account was later restored.
In July 2016, Yiannopoulos panned the ''Ghostbusters
'' reboot as "a movie to help lonely middle-aged women feel better about being left on the shelf." After the film's release, Twitter trolls
attacked African-American actress Leslie Jones
with racist slurs and bigoted commentary. Yiannopoulos wrote three public tweets about Jones, saying "''Ghostbusters'' is doing so badly they've deployed eslie Jones
to play the victim on Twitter," before describing her reply to him as "barely literate" and then calling her a "black dude". Multiple media outlets have described Yiannopoulos' tweets as encouraging the abuse directed at Jones. Yiannopoulos was then permanently banned by Twitter
for what the company cited as "inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others". He later stated that he was banned because of his conservative beliefs.
In May 2019, Yiannopoulos and several others active in politics and culture, including Nation of Islam
leader Louis Farrakhan
and conspiracy theorists and fellow right-wing pundits Alex Jones
and Paul Joseph Watson
, were permanently banned from Facebook
, which called them "dangerous." "We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology," a Facebook spokesperson said. "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."
Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant
In January 2016, Yiannopoulos set up his Privilege Grant for white men to balance scholarships for women and minorities. He participated in an online telethon to raise money for the grant and in August 2016, reported that approximately $100,000 had been received in donations and a further $250,000 had been pledged.
In August 2016, it was revealed that over a quarter of a million dollars had gone missing from the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant. Yiannopoulos apologised for mismanaging the grant and denied speculation he had spent the money. In March 2018, Yiannopoulos confirmed that the fund had been closed down.
Remarks on paedophilia and child sexual abuse
In February 2017, it was announced that Yiannopoulos would address the Conservative Political Action Conference
(CPAC). A conservative website, ''Reagan Battalion,'' then posted video of 2015 and 2016 clips of YouTube interviews at the request of a 16-year-old Canadian student who was opposed to Yiannopoulos' CPAC address.
In the interview in a January 2016 episode of the podcast ''Drunken Peasants
'', Yiannopoulos stated that sexual relationships between 13-year-old boys and adult men and women can "happen perfectly consensually", because some 13-year-olds are, in his view, sexually and emotionally mature enough to consent to sex with adults; he spoke favourably both of gay 13-year-old boys having sex with adult men and straight 13-year-old boys having sex with adult women. He used his own experience as an example, saying he was mature enough to be capable of giving consent at a young age. He also stated that "paedophilia
is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who is sexually mature" but rather that "paedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty." Later in the interview, after his previous comments received some pushback from the hosts, he stated: "I think the age of consent
law is probably about right, that is probably roughly the right age ... but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age, I certainly consider myself to be one of them."
Yiannopoulos subsequently held a press conference, at which he said he had been the victim of child abuse, and that his comments were a way to cope with it. He declined to identify his abusers or discuss the incidents in any detail. He characterised his comments as the "usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humour
", and dismissed the allegation that he endorses child molestation
. He alleged that the video had been edited to give a misleading impression, and stated, "I will not apologise for dealing with my life experiences in the best way that I can, which is humour. 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."
In response to the controversy, Simon & Schuster
cancelled its plans to publish his autobiography in June 2017. Media outlets reported on 20 February that Breitbart was considering terminating Yiannopoulos' contract as a result of the controversy. Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart on 21 February, reportedly under pressure to do so.
Yiannopoulos was later criticized for attending Hollywood "boat parties" and "house parties" in which boys he described as "very young – ''very'' young" were sexually abused, but failing to report the abusers to the authorities or to identify them during an appearance on ''The Joe Rogan Experience
''. When asked about this by Ryan Lizza
of ''New York
'' magazine, Yiannopoulos said he "didn't check anyone's I.D.s." and that he "had no idea what the ages of any of those people at the parties were." He stated that when he said "very young" he was assuming that they were sixteen or seventeen. He reiterated that he doesn't "advocate for any illegal behavior" or excuse it. When, on 10 March, an additional video emerged in which he said on a 2015 episode of Gavin McInnes
's show that child sexual abuse is "really not that big a deal. You can't let it ruin your life," Yiannopoulos was criticized for mocking child sexual abuse victims by calling them "whinging selfish brats" for "suddenly" remembering they were abused, and "suddenly" deciding it was a problem, 20 years after the abuse occurred. He also stated that a disproportionate number of paedophiles are homosexual.
Violence against journalists
In June 2018, reports surfaced that Yiannopoulos had told at least two news organisations who had requested comments that he wanted vigilantes to shoot journalists. According to a reporter for ''The New York Observer
'', he wrote in a text message "I can't wait for vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight". Two days later, following a shooting at the ''Capital Gazette''
in Annapolis, Maryland
in which five people were killed, Yiannopoulos denied that his comments were responsible, adding that his remarks were a joke. He later posted on Instagram
that he sent the messages to troll journalists. On Facebook he wrote: "You're about to see a raft of news stories claiming that I am responsible for inspiring the deaths of journalists." and "The truth, as always, is the opposite of what the media tells you."
In October 2018, following several instances in which pipe bombs had been sent to prominent Trump critics
, Yiannopoulos posted the following comment on Instagram
: "Just catching up with news of all these pipe bombs. Disgusting and sad (that they didn't go off, and the daily beast didn't get one)". After initially refusing to remove the comment when it was reported as hate speech, Instagram later deleted the post.
In the UK, Yiannopoulos supported the Conservative Party
before applying to join the UK Independence Party
in June 2018. A supporter of Donald Trump, and compared to Ann Coulter
, he has been referred to as the "face of a political movement," but he says his real concerns are "pop culture and free speech."
Yiannopoulos is a frequent critic of Islam
. Following the June 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting
, he claimed that all of Islam, not simply a small group of radicals, was responsible for mistreating women and homosexuals.
Yiannopoulos described social attitudes of Western Muslims as "horribly regressive." He has attempted to distinguish his opposition to Muslim immigration into the West from racism. After the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings
, Yiannopoulos said that he condemned the violence but wrote on Facebook that attacks like that happen "because the establishment panders to and mollycoddles extremist leftism and barbaric, alien religious cultures." He was widely criticized for this description and banned from making an intended speaking tour in Australia in 2019.
Women and feminism
Yiannapoulos is a frequent critic of feminism
and "dumpy lesbians." He has frequently written articles that have been criticised as misogynistic
. In a Breitbart article titled, "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy", he asserts that the combined oral contraceptive pill
causes women to become hysterical
, sexually promiscuous
. He declared his birthday "World Patriarchy Day". In 2016, Yiannapoulos published a Breitbart article entitled, "Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism Or Cancer?"
He describes feminists as "easy to wind up", is critical of the idea of a gender pay gap
and claims that feminism has become "a mean, vindictive, sociopathic, man-hating movement."
Yiannopoulos favours banning women from military combat units.
In January 2018, Yiannopoulos reported a fictitious news story, written by a spoof news-site, as being true. The article claimed that an English High Court had ruled that the National Health Service
was legally obliged to offer cervical smear tests
to men. Unaware that the story was satire, Yiannopoulos argued that the story exemplified the thinking of those living in 'feminist clown world'. Before reading out the article verbatim, Yiannopoulos insisted that he had researched the story and promised that 'this is real, I haven't just made this up'.
In March 2021, he claimed that the preeminent moral evil of human history was abortion
Yiannopoulos has described being gay as "a lifestyle choice guaranteed to bring ay people
pain and unhappiness."
In October 2017, he married his husband in Hawaii. That same month, he came out against the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey
, arguing it would violate religious freedom.
In 2017, Yiannopoulos reiterated his belief that homosexuality is a sin
and denounced those (including clergy
) who sought to change Church dogma
on the issue. "You don't see me disputing the Church's teachings on homosexuality...I wouldn't dream of demanding that the Church throw away her hard truths just to lie to me in hopes I’ll feel better about myself," he said.
In August 2019, Yiannopoulos was grand marshal for a straight pride
parade in Boston, organized by the far-right group Resist Marxism
. The parade was ostensibly to celebrate heterosexuality
In March 2021, Yiannopoulos declared that he was an ex-gay
and would begin advocating on behalf of improving the public image of gay conversion therapy
In July 2019, during an interview with ''The Jewish Journal''
, Yiannopoulos described himself as a Zionist
who believed Israel is a bastion of civilization in a region of Islamic tyrants. During the interview, Yiannopoulos advocated for a Jewish "super-state" in the Middle East, and endorsed Israeli and American forces assassinating all Hamas leaders.
In December 2018, ''The Guardian
'' reported that documents assembled by his former Australian tour promoters, Australian Events Management, showed Yiannopoulos had accrued more than $2 million in unpaid debt. Yiannopoulos reportedly owed $1.6 million to his own company, $400,000 to the Mercer Family Foundation
, $153,215 to his former lawyers, $76,574 to former collaborator and Breitbart writer Allum Bokhari, and $20,000 to the luxury brand Cartier
*Rachel Fulton Brown
, academic at the University of Chicago
Category:20th-century British people
Category:21st-century British writers
Category:21st-century Roman Catholics
Category:Alumni of the University of Manchester
Category:Alumni of Wolfson College, Cambridge
Category:Breitbart News people
Category:British chief executives
Category:British male journalists
Category:British media company founders
Category:British people of Greek descent
Category:British people of Irish descent
Category:British people of Jewish descent
Category:British political writers
Category:British Roman Catholic writers
Category:British social commentators
Category:Conservatism in the United Kingdom
Category:Conservative Party (UK) people
Category:Criticism of political correctness
Category:Critics of atheism
Category:Critics of Islam
Category:Free speech activists
Category:Far-right politics in the United Kingdom
Category:LGBT journalists from the United Kingdom
Category:LGBT Roman Catholics
Category:Male critics of feminism
Category:Opposition to Islam in the United Kingdom
Category:Opposition to Islam in the United States
Category:People educated at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys
Category:People involved in plagiarism controversies
Category:People from Chatham, Kent
Category:People self-identified as ex-gay
Category:UK Independence Party people