UCI’s College Republicans plan to bring back Milo Yiannopoulos, newly dropped from Politicon lineup
Far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, whose campus visits often draw protests, plans a return visit to UC Irvine in October.
UCI’s College Republicans announced on Friday they will be hosting the controversial speaker after he was dropped a day earlier from an upcoming political convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Yiannopoulos was booted from Politicon, which bills itself as “the unconventional political convention,” following a firestorm of protests on social media against his appearance, according to news reports.
“Where Politicon was too intimidated to brave criticism, we will embrace it and show others what we stand for,” said Kimo Gandall, president of UCI’s College Republicans. Gandall said Yiannopoulos’ visit will be sometime around the Oct. 20-21 Politicon dates, but details still have to be finalized.
Yiannopoulos said he’s “glad there are some College Republicans brave enough to host the speakers people actually want to hear.”
“UC Irvine is becoming a second home to me, and I can’t wait to rain down merry mischief on campus,” he said in a statement via College Republicans. (Yiannopoulos declined via email to be interviewed for this article.)
This would mark Yiannopoulos’ third visit to UCI in recent years. These visits are welcomed by conservative students who feel their voices are stifled on campus. But they are deemed unacceptable to many others, who believe his talking points put down minorities, women and even gays, although he is a gay man himself.
Controversies have dogged Yiannopoulos. Last year, he came under fire for appearing to condone pedophilia, which he denies condoning.
Recently, some took to social media to berate Politicon for hosting him during its convention. A Politicon spokesperson confirmed in an email Friday that he is no longer participating but did not specify why, saying, “We’ve had some lineup changes for various reasons in addition to Milo.”
Through UCI’s College Republicans, Yiannopoulos said: “Politicon courted me not for months, but years, asking me to headline its traveling circus…They told the press before me they were dumping me…”
Gandall said his group had been planning a speaker for October and only has to finalize the logistics. After reading that Politicon dropped Yiannopoulos, the UCI group contacted him on Friday and invited him to come to UCI instead, Gandall said.
“We need a speaker who is going to inspire,” Gandall said.
In May 2016, when UCI’s Republicans invited him, school officials created a “safe space” for students during his event. His talk that June, dubbed “Social Justice is Cancer,” prompted a mostly peaceful, but loud clash between supporters and opponents. A subsequent visit to UCI on Oct. 30, 2016 to draw support for then-candidate Donald Trump drew a large crowd but no protests.
Earlier this year, a planned talk at UCLA titled “10 things I hate about Mexico” was canceled by that school’s College Republicans, which said in a statement that the decision to host him had polarized the organization’s leadership.
The former editor of the conservative Breitbart News online site has spoken at colleges across the country.
Last year, on Halloween, a heavy police presence – many in riot gear – greeted a sold-out crowd of 800 attending his talk at Cal State Fullerton. It also drew at least 150 protesters who shouted chants like “fascists go home.” Eight were arrested.
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