In the past week, it seems every time one checks the news you will see at least one news headline about Milo Yiannopoulos. So who is this conservative firebrand? Where did he come from, and what precipitated his rise and fall from fame? Keep reading and I will answer these questions.
Milo Yiannopoulos was born Milo Hanrahan in Kent, England, in October 1984. He was raised Catholic in a fairly well-to-do home and continues to practice Catholicism today. During his teen years, Milo came out as gay. Milo attended the University of Manchester and Wolfson College, Cambridge — both of which he dropped out of. After dropping out of college, Milo became interested in technology journalism and worked in this field for a couple years. In 2011, Milo started an online magazine with a friend called The Kernel, which he sold in 2013.
Milo’s career in politics started in earnest in October 2015 when the Breitbart News Network hired Milo and put him in charge of its new Breitbart Tech section. In July 2015, when Donald Trump launched his presidential bid, Milo became a huge supporter and fan of Trump and even called him “daddy.” After Trump won the Republican nomination, Milo was very critical of the #NeverTrump movement, and as Trump began to attack political correctness Milo did the same, thus becoming a conservative hero. Milo likes to call himself a troll and has drawn criticism for his humor on Twitter. In July 2016, Milo was banned from Twitter for comments he made about Ghostbusters’ actor Leslie Jones.
In late 2015, Milo began a campus speaking tour to many of the largest universities around the United States. Many of his speeches were interrupted by protestors, and he was often heckled during his talks. For many of his speeches at universities, Milo wore outrageous costumes and told many offensive jokes and funny stories to engage the audience. In February 2017, Milo was scheduled to make a speech at the University of California, Berkeley, but because of large scale rioting and looting, Milo was evacuated for his own safety before he could give his speech. These protests propelled Milo’s story into the mainstream media and appeared on many national TV shows. His book, not yet published, became an overnight, pre-order best-seller.
Just when Milo was at the pinnacle of his popularity — and was going to speak at CPAC 2017 — a recording from a 2013 podcast came out in which Milo seemed to be supporting sexual assault of young gay boys. This created a firestorm. His invitation to CPAC was withdrawn, and Simon & Schuster canceled his book deal. On February 10, Milo held a news conference in which he announced his resignation for Breitbart News and apologized for his comments on sexual assault, which he said were taken out of context. He added that he was a victim of sexual abuse himself and condemned this type of behavior. Also during the news conference, Milo said he would be launching his own news venture in the coming weeks, and that his book would still be coming out this year, through a publisher yet to be revealed.
While Milo might have taken a fall from prominence, I believe he will get back up and rise to fame once again. Milo’s fan base is still as strong as ever, and they will continue to support him no matter what he says or does — and they are angered by what they perceive as an attack on Milo by they left, which just helps to fuel their resolve to support him.