How many people does it take to produce a daily post and a handful of speeches about the ways that feminism threatens traditional video-game culture? At least 45, apparently: In a BuzzFeed article published Thursday night, Milo Yiannopoulos, the tech editor of Breitbart.com and a longtime Gamergate figure, acknowledged that he received help in his writing from dozens of “paid and unpaid” interns.
According to a couple of sources and video taken of an internal Slack chat called “PROJECT MILO,” 44 interns are allegedly responsible for producing most of the conservative commentator’s work — much of which falls somewhere between politically incorrect and outright hateful.
“Two people write Breitbart stuff for me,” he told BuzzFeed News, but “ghostwriting is too great a word.” He said that the majority of his interns are researchers and that some write speeches for him. “I have two books coming out this year,” he said. “It’s completely standard for someone with a career like mine to have researchers and assistants and ghostwriters.”
Anonymous sources for BuzzFeed were a bit more hyperbolic.
Yet the sources who came forward to BuzzFeed News tell a different story. “Milo Yiannopoulos is not one person,” said the Breitbart employee. “That person does not exist. It is a collective consciousness of various different people who come and go.”
As Matt Yglesias points out, the practice of using interns more than just researchers is widespread in the hacky pundit world, and the idea that Yiannopoulos would place his byline and speech-writing obligations in the hands of a small army of (likely) adolescents is totally unsurprising. Still, it’s extremely funny, especially when you consider the sheer number of “interns” and the fact that they’re all hanging out in a Slack with discussion channels called #blackcock, #idolworship, and #swag. Even better are the things they talk about in the Slack: Among other things, Milo is forced to ask his hangers-on not to use the N-word in the Slack, in case transcripts leak. And then:
Elsewhere in the video clip, “milo” writes, “does anyone need anything else from Daddy tonight?”; instructs the group to tweet a link to a Breitbart story about Twitter censorship of conservatives from their accounts; and tells workers to tune in to an appearance on Fox News. He also asks several workers to write a speech about feminism: “include (1) feminism attention seeking for ugly people (2) wage gap (3) campus rape culture… a load of mean jokes.”
For the interns, though, there’s really no downside to this. It totally makes sense that 44 people — when presented with the opportunity to publish offensive things under someone else’s name on a popular website — seized the opportunity. And it’s working! Last November, Milo was in the running for Shittiest Twitter Account of 2015, before a vote-rigging scandal disqualified him.