After getting himself banned for life by Twitter, and then losing a whole series of jobs and endorsements when a video came to light where he showed approval of paedophilia, one might have thought that the deeply repellant Milo Yiannopoulos, failed entrepreneur, serial con-man and amateur human being, might think better of pushing himself into the public eye. But that thought would have been misplaced, as last week’s events proved.
The real Milo Yiannopoulos - an empty nobody
Yiannopoulos was going to mount a “Free Speech Week”, as if this were some novel concept, rather than cover for him and other examples of the far-right firmament to indulge in legitimising hate speech. This would take place on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. There would be speakers from across the pantheon of the right and libertarian fringe. By this device would his reputation be redeemed.
Viewers may still want to look away now
But from the start all was not well. UC Berkeley appeared not to know anything about the event. Then came the real cluster, er, thingy when the list of speakers was announced, as reported by the Daily Californian. After Charles Murray took to Twitter to denounce the report, telling “I had never heard of this event & don't know why anyone thinks that I have signed up for it. Fake news”, all hell broke loose.
Steve Bannon, now no longer anything to do with the Trump White House, confirmed he would go. The appalling Ann Coulter sort of agreed, but suggested the event wouldn’t happen. And then came examination of the British contingent: both Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam, and pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, were advertised as participants. Both were also saying nothing about taking part.
Angus Johnston, as ever keeping tabs on the situation, noted “Nothing from Raheem Kassam or Katie Hopkins. Pamela Geller says she's going, as does David Horowitz”. Just to put those names in context, and before Bannon and Coulter confirmed, he added “Total number of confirmed ‘attendees’ so far, other than Milo? Five. And they're all from the weirdo creepo side of the list”. Was it a gig too far for Hatey Katie?
And although Yiannopoulos’ former home, Breitbart, echoed the Daily Californian list of speakers, the Hollywood Reporter suggested the likelihood of the event even going ahead was “iffy”. The East Bay Times then revealed “The student group behind a ‘Free Speech Week’ later this month has lost access to at least two of the venues it hoped to rent for the event because it didn’t come up with the payments in time”. Sound familiar?
The group had missed three deadlines to pony up the money. Milo and money - same old problem. Worse, Steve Bannon won’t be going - he’s speaking in Washington, DC at the same time Yiannopoulos claims he’ll be at Berkeley. As Angus Johnson put it, “Don't write that Milo's coming to ANY campus until you see the paperwork … He's a scumbag and a liar and a punk and he's playing you. Don't get played by a punk”.
Yiannopoulos’ event won’t happen. So he’s still a con artist. And there was never going to be an appearance by Katie Hopkins. Just think - someone so poisonous that they are too much even for Katie Hopkins. That’s proper failure for you.