On his recent Troll Academy Tour of Australia, in his gaudy designer jacket and over-sized sunglasses, Milo Yiannopolous looked every bit the rock star – albeit a washed-up has-been relegated to playing the provinces. With his fame on the wane, Andrew M Potts, charts Milo’s rise and fall, and how he built a career peddling hate.
On November 2 last year, DNA was contacted by the publicist for the Australian leg of Milo Yiannopolous’ Troll Academy Tour, offering us the opportunity to interview him later that week, “live… via phone or satellite” from Miami, Florida before he left to fly Down Under.
Yiannopolous was being brought to Australia by Penthouse magazine to help plug his book Dangerous, self-published in the wake of a scandal that saw him lose a quarter-million-dollar publishing deal and resign from Breitbart News.
DNA’s Editor, Andrew Creagh contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in interviewing Yiannopolous as part of a feature article to be published in the aftermath of the Troll tour.
“Do you fancy putting together a profile piece on Milo Yiannopoulos?” Andrew asked me via direct message. “I’ve avoided it in the past because I’ve never wanted to give him any air time. But he’s unravelling somewhat and he is, in fact, a fascinating character as much as he is infuriating and loathsome.”
I’d caught some of Yiannopolous’ performances on television and was familiar with his brand of flamboyant hypocrisy and thought he deserved the kind of scrutiny that only a long form article could provide, so I emailed the publicist back the same day to set up the interview.
In jaw-dropping hypocrisy, after years of advocating against the legalisation of same-sex marriage, he announced that he had married his long-term African-American boyfriend.
He called later and told me he would get back to us with a time slot where Milo would be available to speak to us. However, days later, we’d received no confirmation that the interview was going ahead, and when we chased up the publicist we were told that the interview had been cancelled. There would be a press conference at the airport when Milo arrived and we “would be welcome to attend” but that was weeks away.
In the meantime, Milo was publicly complaining in the Australian media that the Australian media were ignoring him and were too frightened to debate him.
“I tell the truth, not caring who hates me. That terrifies media people, because they can’t win against me with their usual weapons, which are ridicule, snobbery, name-calling and fake allegations of racism and sexism,” Milo told Daily Mail Australia. “They know it, too, which is why they never invite me on twice. In some cases, I’m never allowed on at all.”
Our promised interview cancelled, DNA asked if we could send through some questions for Milo via email. The publicist said we could, but it’s a less than ideal situation. A journalist is unable to interrogate an interviewee’s responses to questions in an email exchange. It’s certainly not “the debate” Milo claimed he was looking for.
To read this feature in full see DNA #217.