UC Davis’s Davis College Republicans club is kicking off 2017 by hosting controversial journalist and infamous internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos in January.
Yiannopoulos is the technology editor for Breitbart, the so-called “alt right” news site that has espoused, among other things, white nationalist views.
Yiannopoulos’ January 13 visit to UCD is part of “The Dangerous Faggot Tour,” which will also bring him to the campuses at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara.
Before joining Breitbart, Yiannopoulos was embroiled in the 2014 Gamergate controversy during which he criticized video game culture as “an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers.”
Yiannopoulos was hired by Breitbart in October 2015 and since then has been suspended several times from Twitter. The first time, in December 2015, happened after Yiannopoulos changed his profile to claim he was Buzzfeed’s “social justice editor.” In June, following the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida, he was suspended again after making anti-Muslim tweets.
Just a few weeks later Twitter permanently banned Yiannopoulos from the social media platform after he was part of a racist harassment campaign against Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones.
While Yiannopoulos likes to describe himself as nothing more than a “gay conservative commentator,” the Davis College Republicans’ decision to host him on the diverse campus is eyebrow-raising.
As a top editor for Breitbart, Yiannopoulos is part of a fringe hate movement that openly supports and advocates racist, xenophobic and misogynistic viewpoints. The extreme right wing site has been the subject of intense scrutiny as of late. On November 13, Donald Trump appointed Breitbart executive chair Stephen Brannon as his chief strategist, a move that’s put the so-called “alt right” group squarely in the spotlight, caused a furor among concerned constituents about Trump’s incoming administration, and ignited a debate on how the media frames and writes about white nationalists and other hate groups, including the National Policy Institute, a “white national policy think tank”. The group recently hosted a dinner in Washington, D.C. where leader Richard Spencer ended his speech with a cry to “Heil Trump” and several attendees raised their arms in a Nazi salute.
As such, the lecture’s event page does include the following disclaimer: “Milo is known for discussing topics, both political or not, that may offend some people but not others. Please be aware of this when attending. Some topics may not be suitable for youth. No outside food or drinks allow. Thank you!”
Yiannopolos’s scheduled tour dates have been canceled in several U.K. cities following campus outcry.
An attempt to reach a contact for the Davis College Republicans via its Facebook was unsuccessful, and an email and phone calls to UCD’s media office were not returned.