Milo Yiannopoulos’ Brand Goes Global as Aussies Come Out in Droves
To call it a comeback may be misstating it. But Milo Yiannopoulos’ star is rising again, after a tough 2017 in which canceled book deals and misrepresented sexual abuse comments delivered stinging setbacks. Young Australians, desperately seeking an injection of truth-speak in a land blanketed by PC culture, are flocking in droves. This is great news for the international conservative right, where many places still lack a charismatic spokesperson to galvanize the movement. Australia, we’re talking about you.
Perhaps that’s the reason the right’s most famous provocateur has been so well-received Down Under. According to the website Dangerous (a promotional web site controlled by Yiannopoulos), hundreds of fans were photographed waiting in line for the event. Related pictures of the venue showed a packed house, as far as we could tell. (Source: “MILO Greeted by YUGE Crowd in Perth,” Dangerous, December 2, 2017.)
Furthermore, Milo’s subsequent speaking engagements in Melbourne (two separate events held on December 4) were very well-received. The first event sold out while the second nearly did so. The showing was enough to silence leftist critics who have proclaimed the Yiannopoulos craze dead.
Although the “Troll Academy Tour,” as it’s called, has put everyone on notice that Milo is “back,” it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. The usual brigade of far-left “anti-fascist” protesters have gathered outside his speaking venues, harassing citizens wishing to hear him speak. This, despite the fact that Team Milo kept venue locations a closely-guarded secret until the eleventh hour. But news travels fast, and when the left caught wind of the location, the news spread like wildfire.
In Melbourne, hundreds of protesters clashed with police and Milo supporters outside the venue for one of his shows. Police struggled to keep the leftist factions apart, responding with pepper spray as projectiles rained down on ticket holders and police. Five police officers were injured (none seriously) and two protesters arrested. Milo responded afterward, saying, “It was not as the newspapers reported ‘a clash between the far left and far right’ it was the left, showing up, being violent to stop freedom of speech.” (Source: “Milo Yiannopoulos met with violent protests on Australia tour,” The Telegraph, December 5, 2017.)
As a conditioned veteran of the conservative right speaking circuit, Milo knows the drill. He likely welcomes the calamity, because he wouldn’t be doing his job if the left wasn’t all jacked up. Along with the big crowds, the protest also proves his relevancy. Hundreds of protesters don’t just show up to cause havoc if you’re a nobody.
Clearly, the death of Milo Yiannopoulos has been much exaggerated.
Is Milo Yiannopoulos Version 2.0 Coming?
As mentioned in the opening, 2017 hasn’t been very kind to Milo, on balance. Several things worked against him; some contrived and some real. But the net result was that his reputation took a beating, stopping the meteoric rise to stardom, which crested in late 2016.
Perhaps the tipping point of Milo’s reset occurred on February 20, 2017, when he made controversial comments regarding “cross generational” sexual relationships between boys and older men. Specifically, he was made to pay for saying “I think in the gay world, some of the most important, enriching and incredibly life-affirming, important shaping relationships very often between younger boys and older men, they can be hugely positive experiences for those young boys.” (Source: “READ: Transcript of Milo Yiannopoulos Video on Pedophilia,” Heavy, February 20, 2017.)
The blowback that followed was nothing less than epic. Even for a master provocateur like Yiannopoulos, it was a bridge too far to the right.
Over the course of the next two days, Simon & Schuster pulled its book deal with Milo despite having paid a $250,000 advance. He was also forced to resign as senior editor of Breitbart News amid reports of an editorial mutiny. To cap things off, the American Conservative Union rescinded its invitation for Milo as keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where a major gathering of prominent conservatives was taking place. It was quite an ugly trifecta of events.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) February 20, 2017
Licking his wounds, Milo dialed-down his profile for a while. The national TV interviews and college campus speaking engagements slowed to a trickle, and he no longer had his Breitbart bullhorn to galvanize supporters. The “shock jock” tactics, which had worked so well for Yiannopoulos, had let him down. Naturally, a retrenchment seemed in order.
But that retrenchment didn’t take long. By mid-2017, Yiannopoulos launched MILO, Inc., a new media outlet “dedicated to the destruction of political correctness.” The Dangerous web site displays a host of information designed around the non-PC ideals Milo stands for. It contains a news blog, video content, tour date information, and store. It centers around the Milo brand, in which he hopes to breathe new life.
Call it a rebrand or reboot or recalibration. We’re just beginning to see the fruits of Milo’s reboot going into overdrive right now. If the crowds in Australia are any indication, the show will be as good as ever.