Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right online celebrity who often spewed hateful rhetoric under the cover of “free-speech activism,” has resigned from Breitbart News. He was allegedly the tech editor.
Over the weekend, Yiannopoulos appeared on Bill Maher’s HBO program, where Larry Wilmore told him to “go fuck yourself.” The next day, comments Yiannopoulos had made on a podcast about sexual relationships between adolescents and adults resurfaced, causing CPAC to promptly revoke his invitation to speak, and Simon & Schuster to cancel the publication of his no-longer-upcoming book, Dangerous.
Yiannopoulos said in a statement prior to a press conference this afternoon that he was resigning from Breitbart News in order to keep his actions from overshadowing that of his Breitbart colleagues. That claim runs counter to numerous reports from this past weekend, which stated that Breitbart employees were planning to walk if Yiannopoulos wasn’t fired. In a statement regarding Milo’s exodus, Breitbart praises his “bold voice.” Yiannopoulos was brought on board by current White House senior adviser Steve Bannon.
Yiannopoulos has frequently been held aloft in alt-right circles as someone who will say whatever they thought, regardless of the consequences. He courted controversy and earned ire by lobbing racist, sexist, vitriolic garbage at targets large and small. He earned a lifetime ban from Twitter for marshaling his followers to harass SNL star Leslie Jones, and, in a talk last year, identified and ridiculed a trans student at the University of Wisconsin (among many other abhorrent acts and statements). Last month, a talk he was supposed to give at UC Berkeley was canceled after students protested.
Last March, when a jury ruled against Gawker Media and forced the company to pay $115 million for publishing newsworthy (and sexually explicit) footage of Hulk Hogan, Yiannopoulos expressed happiness at the court’s decision. Gawker was, in his mind, “being punished by readers and punished by the market.” Being a free-speech proponent, he told Select All at the time, “doesn’t mean you can’t take pleasure in seeing them get a bloody nose. I refuse to feel sorry for taking pleasure in this because they had it coming.”