18 October 1983 |
Milo Yiannopoulos (Greek: Μίλων Γιαννόπουλος, born 18 October 1983) is a Greek-born British journalist and entrepreneur. He founded The Kernel, an online tabloid magazine about technology, which he sold to Daily Dot Media in 2014 and was an outspoken member of GamerGate. He is the Technology Editor for Breitbart.com, a United States-based news and opinion website, and a bestselling non-fiction author.
Yiannopoulos was born in Greece, but was raised by a middle-class family in Kent. His mother is Jewish, and his stepfather is an architect. Yiannopoulos attended the University of Manchester, dropping out without graduating. He then attended Wolfson College, Cambridge where he studied English literature for two years before dropping out. Regarding dropping out of university, in 2012 he told Forbes, "I try to tell myself I'm in good company, but ultimately it doesn't say great things about you unless you go on to terrific success in your own right." In 2015, in an article titled "I dropped out of Manchester and Cambridge but it’s honestly fine", he wrote that he didn't believe a university degree was necessary for success, and that he believed he had achieved success without one.
Yiannopoulos originally intended to write theatre criticism, but became interested in technology journalism whilst investigating women in computing for The Daily Telegraph in 2009. He also appeared on Sky News discussing social media, and on BBC Breakfast discussing Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom.
As a gay Roman Catholic, Yiannopoulos has debated gay marriage on Newsnight, and on Channel 4's 10 O'Clock Live with Boy George. He later debated singer Will Young on Newsnight on the use of the word "gay" in the playground and Tinchy Stryder on the same programme in May 2014, about copyright infringement and music piracy. In March 2015 he appeared on The Big Questions, debating on topics relating to feminism and discrimination against men in the United Kingdom.
The Telegraph Tech Start-Up 100
Yiannopoulos organised a method of ranking the most promising technology start-ups in Europe, The Telegraph Tech Start-Up 100, in 2011. It operated through an events company, called Wrong Agency, that Yiannopoulos had started with David Rosenberg, a friend from Cambridge University. The company was dissolved shortly after the ceremony that awarded the top start-up. Mike Butcher of TechCrunch said the main prize had been given to music streaming service Spotify, even though his casting vote had gone to the controversial payday loan company Wonga, because the Telegraph considered Wonga's reputation objectionable. Butcher wrote that Yiannopoulos "was put in an incredibly invidious position [because] the legitimacy of the methodology behind the judging process ... was sat on, unceremoniously. I don’t think he should take the blame for this at all. He could only do what he could do under the circumstances given [the] overt pressure from his backer. I reached out to him about all this but he’s declined to comment—perhaps understandably." The Start-Up 100 did not return in 2012.
Together with university friends David Rosenberg and David Haywood Smith, journalist Stephen Pritchard and former Telegraph employee Adrian McShane, Yiannopoulos launched The Kernel in November 2011 to "fix European technology journalism." The Kernel was at that time owned by Sentinel Media.
In 2012, the online magazine became embroiled in a legal dispute with one of its contributors after he said it failed to pay money owed to him. The Kernel closed in March 2013, with thousands of pounds owed to former contributor Jason Hesse when he won a summary judgement from an employment tribunal against parent company Sentinel Media. Margot Huysman, whom Yiannopoulos had appointed associate editor and was one of the people seeking payment, said that many working for the site had been "screwed over" personally and financially. Yiannopoulos also threatened, via email, to release embarrassing details and photographs of a Kernel contributor who sought payment for their work for the site and he also accused the contributor of being behind the "majority of damage to The Kernel". The unnamed contributor told the Guardian that the emails had been referred to the police.
German venture capital vehicle BERLIN42 acquired The Kernel's assets in early 2013. The website displayed plans for a relaunch in August 2013 with fresh investment and Yiannopoulos reinstated as editor-in-chief. BERLIN42 founding partner Aydogan Ali Schosswald would join its newly formed publishing company, Kernel Media, as chief executive. Yiannopoulos personally paid six former contributors money that the defunct company was unable to pay.
The Independent on Sunday reported that the relaunched publication, based between London and Berlin, would focus on "modern warfare, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, pornography and space travel" from August, but newsletter The Nutshell would not return. In 2014, The Kernel was acquired by the parent company of The Daily Dot, Daily Dot Media. He stepped down as Editor-in-Chief but remained an advisor to the company.
Yiannopoulos was responsible for early news coverage of the Gamergate controversy, criticizing what he saw as the politicization of video game culture by "an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers." In December 2014, he announced he was working on a book about Gamergate.
As part of his coverage of Gamergate, he published correspondence from GameJournoPros, an email list where members of the video game press coordinated the simultaneous publication of similar anti-Gamergate articles. Kyle Orland, the creator of the list, responded to the leak on Ars Technica, admitting that he had written a message saying several things that he "soon came to regret", but also defending the list as "a place for business competitors ... to discuss issues of common professional interest". Carter Dotson of pocketgamer.biz said that the list was indicative of an echo chamber effect in the gaming press.
Ryan Cooper of The Week argued that Yiannopoulos "had little but sneering contempt for gamers" beforehand, highlighting Yiannopoulos' comments describing gamers as 'pungent beta male bollock-scratchers and twelve-year-olds' and 'a bit sad'.
In May 2015, a meetup in Washington D.C. for supporters arranged by Yiannopolis and Christina Hoff Sommers was targeted by a bomb threat made over Twitter, according to the local police responding to information supplied by the FBI. Similarly, three months later, an event with Society of Professional Journalists in August 2015 was also targeted by bomb threats, forcing the evacuation of an event with Yiannopoulos and Sommers.
In October 2015, the Breitbart News Network placed Yiannopoulos in charge of its new "Breitbart Tech" section, which he said will "be free speech central—and we'll talk about stuff people really care about: Freedom, free speech, love, sex, death, money and porn." The site has six full-time staff, including an esports specialist.
Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant
In January 2016, Yiannopoulos co-founded the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant with Margaret MacLennan, “a scholarship exclusively available to white men who wish to pursue their post-secondary education on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates.” The grant plans to disburse 50 grants of $2,500 to disadvantaged young men to assist them with their tertiary expenses, starting in the 2016-17 academic year. 100 grants of the same amount will be dispersed in the second year, and 200 in the third. Discussing the grant on his Twitter, Yiannopoulos cited statistics that men only make up 43% of the USA's college students, that women perform significantly better than men at many levels of education, and that "women's advantage in graduation is evident at all socioeconomic levels and for most racial and ethnic groups" as reasons for his grant, and personally contributed a significant amount of the funds himself.
In response to the charity, International Business Times journalist Tom Mendelsohn labelled Yiannopoulos a "troll" and stated that the journalist's "scheme" was "designed to derail social progress both by fanning the flames of controversy over the tiny efforts of redress certain institutions are making towards women and minorities, and by attempting to return power to whites." After receiving substantial media attention on platforms such as BuzzFeed and International Business Times, the Privilege Grant's official website was temporarily taken down due to DDoS attacks. Addressing his attackers on Twitter, Yiannopoulos stated "I started a charity to help poor kids get to college. Response from progressives was to call me a racist, DDoS the site. They’re wonderful." 
Yiannopoulos was twice featured in Wired UK's yearly top 100 most influential people in Britain's digital economy: At 84 in 2011 and at 98 in 2012. He was called the "pit bull of tech media" by Ben Dowell of The Observer.
Permanent Twitter ban
This led to a #FreeMilo campaign by his supporters, with some writing the hashtag in multi-colored chalk outside the Twitter headquarters.
Yiannopoulos hosted the Young Rewired State competition in 2010, an initiative to showcase the technological talents of 15–18-year-olds, and organised The London Nude Tech Calendar, a calendar featuring members of the London technology scene to raise money for Take Heart India.
He organised the moonwalk flash mob tribute to Michael Jackson in London's Liverpool Street station shortly after Jackson's death in 2009. He explained that the idea of a flashmob as a tribute to Jackson was originally a humorous suggestion on Twitter, but then decided to make it happen, inviting people via social networking websites.
In 2007, he self-published two collections of poetry. A self-professed "proper nut-job groupie" fan of pop singer Mariah Carey, in 2014, he wrote a column for Business Insider explaining why he flew to Berlin to purchase Carey's album, Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse five days before it was available in the UK and US.
In October 2015, Yiannopoulos and feminist Julie Bindel were scheduled to participate in the University of Manchester Free Speech and Secular Society's debate ′From liberation to censorship: does modern feminism have a problem with free speech?′, but the student union banned Bindel, then later also Yiannopoulos. The union cited Bindel's comments on transgender women and Yiannopoulos' opinions on rape culture, which they stated were both in breach of the union's safe space policy.
In November 2015, Yiannopoulos was scheduled to give a talk at Bristol University. After protesters attempted to have Yiannopoulos banned from the university, the event was turned into a debate between Yiannopoulos and The Daily Telegraph blogger and feminist Rebecca Reid.
In January 2016, Twitter removed the blue "verification" checkmark from Yiannopoulos' (@Nero) Twitter account. Twitter has a policy of not commenting on individual cases and so has not explained the reason for the removal of verification. Some news outlets speculated that Yiannopoulos had violated its speech and harassment codes, while others worried that Twitter was targeting conservatives. The controversy brought the journalist increased visibility and an influx of 25,000+ new followers. During a debate with Yiannopoulos on the BBC program The Big Questions, journalist Connie St. Louis said the removed verification resulted from Yiannopoulos openly calling for an assassination via his Twitter account. St. Louis later issued an apology on the official 'BBC's Big Questions' Twitter account, stating "this was incorrect and she apologizes for this error".
In March 2016, Yiannopoulos acquired accreditation for a White House press briefing for the first time. Prompted by his recent de-verification by Twitter, Yiannopoulos asked the White House to comment on the free speech stance of prominent social media platforms, arguing in one case, that “Conservative commentators and journalists are being punished, being suspended, having their tweets deleted by Twitter.”.
In October 2016, Yiannopoulos became the first individual on Gab, an alternative to Twitter, to acquire 10,000 followers. On December 30, 2016, his book Dangerous, scheduled for publication in March 2017, became the #1 overall bestselling book on Amazon due to strong preorders.
Book length works:
- Dangerous (2017) ISBN 978-150-1173-08-0
As a contributor:
- SJWS Always Lie (2015), Vox Day, (Foreword) ISBN 978-952-7065-68-6
- Forbidden Thoughts (2017), ed. Jason Rennie, (Foreword) ASIN: B01N5LU9C4
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- https://twitter.com/bbcbigquestions/status/691165075978260480. Missing or empty