Milo Yiannopolous, the former senior editor at Breitbart and conservative provocateur, brought the Troll Academy Tour to Cal State University Fullerton (CSUF) on All Hallows Eve. Over 800 people—mostly adoring fans—bought tickets to hear the charismatic, right-wing media personality speak in the Titan Student Union.
Yiannopoulos is one of the most controversial figures in American politics right now. He’s a magnet for media spotlight because of his relentless rhetoric targeting anyone not aligned with the right. It’s exactly what makes him an enigma, though. When was the last time you heard of a gay immigrant who's Catholic but has deep roots in Judaism, who boasts about only dating black men (he’s now married to one) and who’s also the face of American conservative right-wing culture? Never. But that’s his motive: To slaughter identity politics by leading as an example, because his identity and political creed don’t mesh.
Although Yiannopoulos explicitly argues that he’s not racist or an anti-Semite (because he’s Jewish and married to a black dude, duh!), he’s an artist when it comes to crafting verbal packages of hate dressed in comedy, which is exactly what he did on Tuesday night. He asserts that identity politics shouldn’t protect anyone from criticism, using this argument as a justification to brutally disavow feminists (calling feminism a “cancer”), the Black Lives Matter movement, Muslims, the "whiney Left" and all who identify with those ideologies, as well as many other groups. And he accomplishes this through the guise of comedy. And his fans love it—they eat it up, as they did at CSUF. (Americans are suckers for an English accent.)
He argues that censorship in all its forms—like banning hate speech and controversial opinions even if you don't necessarily agree with them— is evil and leading to the destruction of the first amendment. Most of whom behind this dangerous deterioration of free speech, he contends, are those on the Left; and the Right needs to fight back by utilizing their constitutional right to say what ever they damn well please.
Political correctness and cultural sensitivity are also forms of censorship to Yiannopoulos, who said he was going to wear a beautiful, massive Native American headdress to his speech at UC Berkeley—the one that got cancelled last February due to violent protests. He said to the crowd at CSUF that he was pissed they took that moment away from him.
Yiannopoulos and I were scheduled to have an interview at 4:30 pm prior to his talk. By the time he arrived on campus he was an hour late for our meeting and on a strict schedule to start his speech on time. I was certain the interview wasn’t going to happen, despite being told we were going to "try after the show.” To my surprise, it happened—but in a smooshed doorway.
“It’s alright, I’m used to being shoved up against walls,” he says as we settle in to our standing-room-only interview area.
This is how the next 15 minutes with Yiannopoulos went:
How’d the speech go for you?
It was fun, it was fine. It was nice to actually be able to finish a speech. Everyone thinks we love it because we kind of prove our point or we get-off on the attention when things are shut down, but our preference is always to talk and to finish.
How often do you not finish?
(Ba-Dum Tshh) Ha! That’s kind of the tenor of the evening, isn’t it? I started that. (Laughs) Well, I only cancelled once and that was because the FBI basically told us to. They said there was someone in the room who was on a watch list. That was at FAO, I think. No—FOA? Somewhere in Florida. A University. FAU? FAU.
That was kind of recently, right?
Recently-ish. Yeah. So that one we couldn’t do. I mean others have been cancelled for other reasons but the only time I’ve ever cancelled a talk, like ME, is only because the FBI told me to. Other than that, I mean, you know, it’s tough on campuses because they will lie about you, and they will throw these charges at the kids. They insist on working through the students because they know students are easily intimidated. (Laughs) They dangle their educational futures in front of them and it’s like, I don’t express any opinions that aren’t reasonable mainstream conservative points of view. But because I talk effectively and am more popular and interesting they come at me with everything they have. Most of the time they lose.
People are definitely threatened by the things you say.
It’s so retarded. If you think about it, okay maybe you don’t like a couple of my jokes, but who gives a shit. You know? Like nobody fucking died. (Laughs) It’s not the worst thing that’s happened on your campus this year—it’s not even the worst thing that’s happened on your campus this week. Like seriously, get a grip. And the fucking over the top police presence— even in schools where they know there’s not going to be any trouble— is another kind of intimidation and deterrence. It’s so stupid.
Are you able to vote in America?
No. I’m not a citizen.
Is that something you plan to do?
No, I’m not in any hurry to. I don’t want to pay your taxes.
Fuck, me neither.
Who does? I am married, though. But I haven’t made any moves in that direction [to vote], and I’m not especially in a rush to do so.
How involved were you in the Trump campaign?
The campaign told me they couldn’t have done it without me, which I was very very flattered by.
So you were definitely involved. Heavily involved.
There’s stuff I can tell you and there’s stuff I can’t tell you. I mean, I was there in the VIP section on victory night for a reason.
So do you party with Trump?
I’m not going to answer questions even remotely close to that. But obviously I had a ton of friends in the campaign, a ton of people who still work in the campaign and a ton of people in the government. My mentor is Steve [Bannon].
Why do you support Trump’s ethics?
I think rather than being an explicit fan of everything about that human being, which I don’t think anybody is, it was the effect of a Trump presidency I was looking for. It was the effect on political correctness, the effect on immigration, the effect on free speech in general—and I was right about it. It has happened. There’s now a sort of newly, energized youth conservative movement, which was bubbling up before but with the victory of Trump, they was like ‘oh shit, we can actually do something.’
I wanted a Trump presidency because I believe in one nation conservatism. I believe in strong borders. I think America is the most important country in the world and it was very, very much skidding in a bad direction. With political correctness in particular, his effect on free speech is ironic, really, because the stuff he says about free speech is not great. Yet his effect on free speech is fantastic because he blows open the fire doors allowing people feel free to say almost anything.
I see that I have the same effect on campuses. When I come back two years later somewhere, the college Republicans have gone form five people to 200, and they’re the biggest organization. They’re troll-ey, they’re chalking the pavement and they’re doing all kinds of stuff that didn’t exist before I was there. Trump is doing that on a national scale. I’m doing that culturally. He’s doing that in politics. I'm doing it with the people.
Why go about it in a troll way?
We tried 30 years of being polite and it didn’t work. Conservatives have been polite and have had think tanks and policy papers and nice button-up bow-ties for the last 30 years. But it's not effective. It doesn’t work against an enemy that does not follow the same rules you do. The Left doesn’t follow the playbook that the Right is clinging to, so it's why they lose—they’re playing different games. And conservatives have failed for 30 years to build up power and infrastructure in the arts, academia, media, entertainment—every industry that you look at. Even in the federal government. Some branches of the federal government are pretty Republican. Others are really not—and some of the important ones are really not…
Do you believe in global warming?
Well I don’t know how interesting this is, I am not a climate scientist but I don’t believe in man made acceleration of the natural climate. It exists relatively unaffected by the tiny things we do. So do I believe in anthropomorphic climate change? No.
[Note: Yes, he used the wrong word. Click here to see it, ya trolls!]
I definitely believe in climate change…
(Cuts off comment) That’s okay, you’re allowed to be wrong about it.
Thank you for giving me such wonderful permission! Next question. What is your favorite book and have you read Camp of the Saints?
I have read Camp of the Saints. It’s horrible in places—grotesque in places—but the amazing thing about that book is how accurately it predicts the response of the elites to the popular horror about the influx of immigrants. The descriptions of people coming form India are blatantly outright racist, they are disgusting. It’s crazy, however, if you can steel yourself to get through it, look at the amazing predictions. If you look at the ruling classes response to the immigrant catastrophe, which is blaming their own citizens and willing on the destruction of their own nation, I think a lot of people would recognize that picture. He was prescient in that specific regard but of course the book is unpleasant. The French were terrible racists and they still are— they're almost as bad as the Japanese. But, you see, Japan has no Muslim immigration and they've had zero terrorist attacks in, like, 50 years. I get that it's maybe a bad social attitude but their people don't get blown up.
Why do you call Trump 'daddy'?
Oh just because it annoys everybody. I came up with it because I just felt like he was a father of the nation type. He is one of those rogue-ish dads that you're slightly embarrassed by, where you're just like 'Oh dad, did he really just say that?' (laughs) But you know, you still love him and he's still a patriarch and this kind of like strong, sometimes slightly ridiculous, but for the most part reassuring figure. I felt like that's what he brought out in a lot of us— male and female alike.
How do you feel about neo-Nazis who are your fans?
I don't think there are any.
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Are you sure? There are definitely are.
I mean the Daily Stormer is like the leading white nationalist neo-nazi blog on the internet and they declared a holy crusade on me. They said they were going to boycott Breitbart until Breitbart fired me.
There are definitely people who don't like blacks, who don't like Jews, who don't like gays—all of these things that you also embody— who are in your following. Is that crazy, or at least confusing, to you?
Why would they be fans of mine? Every talk I say they're low-lives and scum. Why would they be fans of mine? It makes no sense to me.
It doesn't make sense to me either.
I don't know any of these people. Did you meet some today?
No, I haven't met any personally today, but that doesn't mean they're not here.
Okay, well if you can produce one to me then we can have a conversation with them. But I don't know who they are. I hear this allegation a lot from journalists but I've never seen a single person presented to me who is a racist anti-Semite who is a fan of mine who listens to me say I think they're a racist piece of shit and who is aware that I am a gay Jewish, you know, what ever, who remains a fan of mine. I have never met that person. If you can produce that person to me I would be happy to talk to them...You have heard for yourself what I have to say about that. I don't think my views are very compatible with those kinds of people. Also I'm not going to get involved in that game where you have to disavow every little person you don't like. Trump is very small about that he's like 'disavow David Duke, disavow the KKK' and I'm like 'I don't even know who that is.' And the reason that they do it and the reason I won't get involved in that game is that it's a tactic designed to constantly put people on the back foot defending themselves because the implication is this: If those people like you, there must be something nefarious about you that enable that. There must be something sinister about you that kind of, like, quietly turns a blind eye to that stuff. There isn't. I say in every single speech I don't like these people...In every single speech I cannot shut up about my black husband. There is nothing about me that quietly provides for that. But that line of questioning is designed to imply that there is something sinister or nefarious about me and I reject that suggestion...