The disgraced former Breitbart figurehead has described his new venture as a “talent factory and management company dedicated to the destruction of political correctness and the progressive left”.
Making the announcement on his Facebook page, Yiannopoulos added that MILO, Inc. had received $12 million from undisclosed investors allowing him to hire “a seasoned media executive” for the company’s “30-person team based in Miami, Florida”.
Yiannopoulos first gained attention through the anti-feminist #Gamergate controversy, and while at Breitbart he was the author of articles such as ‘MILO: MUSLIMS WILL BRING ‘YOGHURT, LAMB CHOPS, AND GANG-RAPE’ TO AMERICA’ and ‘WOULD YOU RATHER YOUR CHILD HAD FEMINISM OR CANCER?”.
Yiannopoulos resigned from his role at Breitbart in February, after a video surfaced in which he defended the possibility of consensual sexual relationships between adults and children under the age of consent. The video also led to the withdrawal of his invitation to speak at the key US conservative conference CPAC, as well as the cancelling of his book deal with publishers Simon and Schuster.
MILO, Inc. will manage Yiannopoulos’ media career as well as scout for rising online media figures who, like him, have built a following from peddling hateful, reactionary, far-right political and social commentary. As Yiannopoulos’ told Vanity Fair, he will be looking for the “most interesting young YouTubers and all the rest of them who hate feminism, who hate political correctness […] I’m going to be actively hunting around for the next Milo.”
The company will also be organising Yiannopoulos’ recently announced ‘Free Speech Week’ at the University of California’s Berkeley campus in Autumn. In his Facebook post Yiannopoulos stated the event “will dedicate a day to each of the main threats to free speech in America today, including feminism, Black Lives Matter and Islam”. The event will include a “free speech award” that has co-opted the name of 1960s Berkeley free speech activist Mario Savio (an act that has been called “some kind of sick joke” by Savio’s son).
The business model of hate media
The so-called ‘Free Speech Week’ is, like MILO, Inc. itself, purely an effort by Yiannopoulos to sustain his media career, which has consisted of capitalising on the advertisement and speaking fee revenue available through pandering to those with a taste for hateful, reactionary commentary.
This media model has been exploited in recent years by figures and outlets portraying themselves as political firebrands of the ‘alternative media’, providing a balance to what they perceive as the left-liberal bubble of the mainstream media. In practice, their activities have merely allowed far-right communities of hate online to grow by offering a far more blinkered view of current affairs.
As HOPE not hate has reported, Yiannopoulos’ former employer Breitbart led the way with this model, and in their wake a range of social media figures have emerged to also capitalise on this audience.
Yiannopolous: struggling for relevance
Notable, however, is the absence of interest in Yiannopoulos’ activities by this new hate media contingent (since his comments about sexual relations with children under the age of consent). Indeed, he was not invited to speak at two recent gatherings by its key figures.
Nevertheless, Yiannopoulos claimed in the announcement of his new venture that:
“I’ve realized that I’m really, really important. There’s a war being waged out there for free speech and I’m the only one who can win it for the forces of light.”
Though he claims to have received ample investment for MILO, Inc., in the rapidly changing landscape of reactionary hate media figures, the money may prove wasted as Yiannopoulos struggles to maintain relevance.