Milo Yiannopoulos & The Curious Case of Shaun King

Baphomet hacker Joshua Goldberg was the source for Yiannopoulos's hit piece.

Baphomet troll Joshua Goldberg was a source for Yiannopoulos’s hit piece about Shaun King.


Having covered Milo Yiannopoulos’s personal history and work with #Gamergate in depth, I want to turn now to a different episode in the life of this sad hack.

First, the facts: Last summer, Yiannopoulos accused Daily Kos staff writer and #BlackLivesMatter activist Shaun King of lying about his race, accusing him of “pretending to be biracial in order to qualify for an “Oprah scholarship” to historically black Morehouse College.” To back up his claims, Yiannopoulos provided a police report from when King was assaulted at age 15 (in which the officer listed King’s race as “white”), and a copy of what he claimed was King’s birth certificate (which names two white people as King’s parents.)

Yiannopoulos claimed his source for this story was an “investigative blogger” named Vicki Pate, but in reality Yiannopoulos was initially contacted by a /Baphomet/ troll, who provided Yiannopoulos with photographs and the general gist of the story, including the hook that King is “much like Rachel Dolezal.” (More about this troll later in this post.)

Now, there are two things about this case which don’t pass the sniff test. First, the obvious comparison and chronological proximity between this story about Shaun King and the Rachel Dolezal scandal leave me suspicious that this isn’t wishful thinking on Yiannopoulos’s part. Secondly, the fact that Yiannopoulos (and by extension Breitbart) have to carefully select (or maybe even manipulate) pictures of King so that he looks as pale as possible suggest that they’re fudging his complexion to lend verisimilitude to their claims. Indeed, a simple image search for “Shaun King” returns photos which pretty clearly represent Yiannopoulos’s baseless accusations as just that.

Put it this way: If Shaun King is white, then so too is Julian Bond. But this didn’t stop more reputable papers, like the New York Times, from covering Yiannopoulos’s story as if it might be true.

King responded to the allegations by writing on Daily Kos:

The reports about my race, about my past, and about the pain I’ve endured are all lies… I have been told for most of my life that the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned black man. … It is horrifying to me that my most personal information, for the most nefarious reasons, has been forced out into the open and that my private past and pain have been used as jokes and fodder to discredit me and the greater movement for justice in America. I resent that lies have been reported as truth and that the obviously racist intentions of these attacks have been consistently downplayed at my expense and that of my family.

This seems reasonable. I certainly can think of people close to me whose biological fathers aren’t the ones listed on their birth certificates. There are various reasons this might be the case, but misattributed paternity (or, as men’s rights activists prefer to call it, “paternity fraud”) is a known known, and it occurs on average for 1-2% of live births (though in some sample populations, it is significantly higher.) And it really isn’t anybody’s business except the parties involved, or at least, it shouldn’t be. King continues:

For my entire life, I have held the cards of my complicated family history very close to my chest. I preferred to keep it that way and deeply resent that I have been forced to authenticate so many intimate details of my life to prove who I really am. This, in and of itself, is a form of violence.

King goes on to relate various experiences he’s had growing up being viewed as black within his own community:

When I was 8 years old and in the second grade, black children first began asking me if I was “mixed.” … After that day when I was first asked if I was mixed, while I was still a very young child, kids and their well-intentioned parents began telling me they knew who my black father was, that I was so and so’s cousin, etc… It happened regularly for years on end. By the time I reached middle school, I fully identified myself not even as biracial, but just as black. A white classmate of mine from middle school just posted her recollection of this. … I was seen as black, treated as black, and endured constant overt racism as a young black teenager. Never have I once identified myself as white. …

I was consistently called nigger, spat on, had a jar of tobacco spit thrown in my face, forced into fights, and on two different occasions chased by pickup trucks attempting to maul us. … In March of 1995, it all boiled over and a racist mob of nearly a dozen students beat me severely, first punching me from all sides, then, when I cradled into a fetal position on the ground they stomped me mercilessly, some with steel-toed boots, for about 20 seconds.

Even if you don’t want to believe King’s own statements, numerous other accounts have been posted, by King’s family, friends, and eyewitnesses to his 1995 assault; all of which substantiate his story. Hell, even the police officer who checked the “white” box on Shaun King’s police report was contacted by the media, and he denied Yiannopoulos’s claims:

I believe that [King’s] biracial. I could just tell when I saw him. I marked him white because he’s very light complected. He was there with his white mother. My crime report there’s only two things you can check: black or white. It doesn’t say biracial…anyone from around here who knew him knew he was mixed.”

Now, I suppose a particular breed of asshole might not want to believe any of these accounts, or insist upon a DNA test to prove that the father listed on King’s birth certificate isn’t his biological father. But anyone who isn’t Milo Yiannopoulos should accept the overwhelming proof King’s brought against these accusations, stand down, and offer him an apology in their national papers (as far as I know, none have.)

And anyone with critical thinking skills might want to consider Yiannopoulos’s own history before taking his pronunciations about other people’s racial makeup at face value. Not only is Yiannopoulos a half-Greek, half-Irish immigrant who misrepresents himself as an English upper-class stereotype, but Yiannopoulos has written numerous times about his conception of black men as hypersexualized stereotypes.

He’s even written about hiring a black man (porn star Jovan Jordan) to escort him at #Gamergate event, referring to Jordan entirely in terms of his dick:

As Breitbart readers will know by now, video games are serious business. Over the past year, I’ve been the target of not one but two bomb threats, just because I wanted to talk about gaming.

So when I was invited to another meetup of gamers in Los Angeles this past weekend, I decided I needed protection. Over 6 feet of protection, specifically, with rippling black muscles and an unfathomably gigantic appendage. Enter Jovan Jordan.

Yes, I hired a black porn star to protect me at a GamerGate meetup. Haters and losers will accuse me of being a vain, exhibitionist homosexual attention-seeker with a fetish for black men, blowing his expense budget on trivial, ego-feeding social media bait. I don’t know where they get their ideas. …

No doubt people are still wondering why I hired a porn star, and not a regular bodyguard. But isn’t it obvious? My most ardent haters are feminists, and their fear of penises is well-known. It was vital, therefore, that I sought the services of a man believed to have the biggest dick in the porn industry.

They fear both actual minorities and the patriarchy, and Jovan Jordan was the most magnificent specimen I could find of both – and also quite a badass, and the perfect gentleman. …

Some readers may be left undecided that my choice was effective. A hung jury on Jovan! But, I assure you, it stretches the limits of credibility to disbelieve that he was capable of defending me with every inch of his manhood.

And it worked! Jovan and his penis kept the mad feminists away, just as I predicted. See, I knew a member that size would scare off any sex negative-feminist scold…

To sceptics who think this was all some kind of stunt, I say this. Would I really hire a porn star with my bodyguard allowance just because I find online threats to be a joke and it’s a hilarious way to get attention? Does that sound like me at all? Thank you.

I only hope that other critics of feminism realise the effectiveness of this strategy, and make a point of advertising their large penises ahead of public meetings. No ulterior motive here, I’m just trying to help.

I’ve heard of synecdoche, but this is ridiculous. Milo Yiannopoulos seems to really only value black men for one thing, which he mentions in this article titled “16 Movements Less Ridiculous than Black Lives Matter”:

It is an incontrovertible fact that the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice, and it is time for an activist group to stand up for this cause. Expect the donor pool to include a lot of gay men and white women. (I speak from experience.) This means the coffers will be overflowing because let me tell you, us chi-chi men got dollar.

See above.

Minds out of the gutter, please! This group is focused on equal rights for black holes, the most powerful celestial bodies in the universe but viciously slandered as “dangerous.” Yet another example of how the word “black” is applied to powerful and dangerous plane-swallowing entities. But expect some confusion at rallies from punters expecting this to be a sister movement – amirite?! – to Black Dicks.

In an article titled My Grindr Profile Says “No Whites” – Am I Racist?, Yiannopoulos says it pretty explicitly:

“In the heterosexual world, for instance, black women don’t get a lot of action. … Black gay men, on the other hand, are lusted after ceaselessly.

And (of course) Yiannopoulos has this whole fantasy mixed up with notions of blackness as “belonging to the criminal underclass”:

I’ll never forget the precise moment I chose to be gay. It was the endpoint in a process of rebellion against my white middle-class parent that climaxed with me smuggling a black drug dealer into my bedroom at 3 a.m. on a school night aged 15.

They have a word for this in America. Bratty young white girls who shack up with African Americans (preferably belonging to the criminal underclass) are known as coalburners.

Is this the kind of guy whose opinions about race are worthy of public discussion? The guy who fetishizes black men as “rippling” musclebound hunks with “unfathomably gigantic appendages”? The guy who thinks Barack Obama is a “pretty white president”, the “product of elite American insitutions and corrupt Chicago politics”, and that “Donald Trump Would Be the First Real Black President?” Is that the opinion to which the NYT decided to lend legitimacy? No wonder this country has problems with racism.


Although Yiannopoulos claims his source for the Shaun King story was “investigative blogger” Vicki Pate (who, according to Yiannopoulos, “provided key documents”), evidence suggests Yiannopoulos was first contacted about the story by troll/master sockpuppeteer Joshua Goldberg, who currently facing federal charges of terrorism. Goldberg, who created numerous fake internet personae (including a straw feminist “Tanya Cohen” on Daily Kos), was arrested on September 10th for providing an FBI informant with bomb-making instructions while playing the part of an ISIS guerrilla online. Goldberg substantially confessed to distributing this information when confronted by the FBI. (When this happened, Milo went into full damage control mode, deleting all public correspondence between himself and Goldberg and wildly pinning the blame on Brianna Wu, who was also targeted by Goldberg under the “Tanya Cohen” persona.)

This Goldberg guy is linked to /Baphomet/, the same group which sent bomb threats to at least one of Milo’s speaking engagements this past year. How can I be sure Goldberg was involved with Baphomet? Here’s a screencap of Goldberg talking shop with Benjamin Biddix, owner of /Baphomet/,specifically about creating sockpuppet Twitter accounts. Surprisingly, Yiannopoulos was willing to overlook (or simply didn’t bother looking into) Goldberg’s connections to a group of illegal hackers when he reached out to Milo on Twitter.

And Goldberg, for his part, was so proud to help Yiannopoulos that he also posted their emails about Shaun King publicly:

"This is right up my alley. Do we have a line to the parents?" - Milo Yiannopoulos

“This is right up my alley. Do we have a line to the parents?” – Milo Yiannopoulos


So, it would appear Yiannopoulos used an alleged terrorist from /Baphomet/ as a source in his hit piece against Shaun King – which is of a piece with other untrue hit pieces Yiannopoulos likes to present as fact. Considering that Yiannopoulos has his own terrible opinions about race, it’s a surprise anyone paid attention to this story at all. Perhaps the Rachel Dolezal story primed people (and the media especially) to suspect every light-skinned black person of being “secretly white” – or maybe it’s subconscious racial bias directed towards King for being articulate and educated, for not suiting the stereotypes Milo Yiannopoulos enthusiastically fetishizes.

There’s at least one more post about Yiannopoulos in the works; a sort of tasting menu of some of the worst opinions he’s adopted in the interest of getting attention from the press. I hope you’ll join me for that, but until then, thanks for reading.

Milo Yiannopoulos: #Gamergate Propagandist

#Gamergate Poster of Milo Yiannopoulos

Actual #Gamergate Fan Art of Milo Yiannopoulos


Thanks for joining me in my ongoing retrospective about Milo Yiannopoulos. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest reviewing my post regarding Yiannopoulos’s Catholic Guilt, Ambition, and Failure. That has the whole 411 about his self-hating homophobic bigotry, the Kernel employees he didn’t pay, the possibly fake engagement “to a woman” he announced in 2011, that graph from that spreadsheet he used to keep strategically ranking his friends, and so much more. This post will cover Yiannopoulos’s co-dependent relationship with #Gamergate, the poorly organized hate group willing to grant Yiannopoulos legitimacy provided he does the same for them. I expect to release two more posts about this guy, provided I don’t get totally fed up with reading Milo’s “journalism”, which is so divorced from reality it belongs on the ‘fiction’ aisle.

Milo Yiannopoulos became involved with #Gamergate in September 2014, around the same time he stopped writing for The Kernel (no longer owned by Yiannopoulos) and Business Insider. Despite his previous statements deriding gamers as “beta-male bollock scratchers and twelve-year olds” whom “no one has cared about, ever,” Yiannopoulos was sympathetic; perhaps because #Gamergate seems to hate women nearly as much as he does. Milo’s first article for Gamergate, originally titled “Lying, Greedy, Promiscuous Feminist Bullies Are Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart” marks his entree to the movement. In my opinion, it may be one of the most callous and hypocritical attack pieces he’s ever written:

Step forward Chelsea Van Valkenburg, who goes by the pen name Zoe Quinn. Quinn recently released an online novel called Depression Quest, described as an “interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression.” It’s an internet version of one of those old Choose Your Own Adventure books – except boring, and as excruciatingly badly written as its promotional material suggests.

You can play it here, if you’re feeling masochistic. It’s barely a game at all, really, more of a hyperlinked Tumblr blog. Anyone could have made it, as this cruelly worded but factually sound run-down of the current controversy around Quinn points out. Quinn started furiously marketing her game just after Robin Williams died. Tasteless and opportunistic, sure, but many gave her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she was just trying to “raise awareness.” But what later came out, thanks to a startling series of confessions from Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, is just what an unpleasant and manipulative human being she is.

It’s hard to believe some of the allegations made about Quinn, who has been held up as an icon of probity by the liberal tech press, but web sleuths have provided copious evidence in support of their claims. Though she presents herself as a champion for depression sufferers, Quinn picked on a forum for depressed men called Wizardchan, misrepresenting content there to claim she was being harassed. She used her influence to torpedo a charity – a charity! – which was later hacked by one of her supporters.

First, the “copious evidence” Yiannopoulos links to is an unavilable Youtube video. (Sorry about that =/.) Secondly, the link Milo provides to prove this “charity” (which is not really a charity) was “hacked by [Quinn’s] supporters” states: “It’s unclear at this time who was responsible for the hacking”. So a lot of what Milo’s writing here is simply untrue; and the links he’s using directly contradict what he’s saying.

Third, Quinn didn’t “pick on” the shut-ins at Wizardchan; Wizardchan began harassing her once Depression Quest was listed on Steam Greenlight. The lonely boys at Wizardchan were pig-biting mad that Quinn, a woman, was releasing a pay-as-you-wish game about depression via Steam’s development channel, with some of the proceeds benefiting the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. In response, these lonely channers dug up her phone number and masturbated at the receiver when she picked up. So Yiannopoulos has got this backwards – unless making a video game about living with depression counts as “bullying depressed men”.

Quinn is not alone. There is a platoon of irritants in the media whose talents are vanishingly slight, but who generate column inches by the thousand for victimising innocents and manipulating their way around an over-sensitive industry. Some of them,such as Anita Sarkeesian, have no discernible higher purpose in life, except to bother innocent games developers.

These women purposefully court – and then exploit – boisterous, unpleasant reactions from astonished male gamers and use them to attract attention to themselves. What’s remarkable is how deeply unpleasant the skeletons lurking in their own closets often are, how completely those skeletons give the lie to their public image, and how uncritically their claims are repackaged by credulous games journalists.

This bit really illustrates the double standard Milo Yiannopoulos applies when it comes to women and online abuse. According to him, Quinn and Sarkeesian “purposefully court” abuse, but when gamers react by abusing them, Yiannopoulos minimizes it as  “boisterous, unpleasant reactions from astonished male gamers.” And he sincerely believes women do this in a calculated manner, as if it was Quinn’s and Sarkeesian’s intent to be followed around by angry mobs who want them dead. But Milo has more to say about the death threats:

Let’s be honest. We’re all used to feeling a niggling suspicion that “death threats” sent to female agitators aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And indeed there is no evidence that any violent threat against a prominent female figure in the media or technology industry has ever been credible – that is to say, that any feminist campaigner on the receiving end of internet trolling has ever been in any real danger.  Even in the most famous American case, that of Kathy Sierra, there is no evidence the target was ever at risk.

Basically, because none of the LWs have been stabbed yet, this proves precautions they take for their safety are unnecessary. This makes about as much sense as saying it’s unnecessary to lock your door if you’ve never had a break-in, and puts the targets of these threats in a double bind: if they take precautions for their security, they’re overreacting, and if they don’t, they deserve whatever happens to them. Yiannopoulos continues in this victim-blaming vein for quite some time:

But that doesn’t stop women like Quinn from using these admittedly feverish tweets and emails from angry men to change the subject (usually from their own shortcomings and misdeeds) and play the victim with the help of limp-wristed journalists. Tweets tagged #GamerGate, from video gamersfrustrated by the antics of women like Quinn and the journalists who ignore her sins, have been skyrocketing in the past few days.

They’re ungallant, obviously, but death threats are sent by bored, lonely people – or simply out of casual malice.What’s even more pathetic than taking to the internet to work off your anger, though, is using death threats to get sympathy, or to vindictively pursue your ideological opponents and see their lives destroyed with jail sentences.

Showing off injudicious responses from bewildered men has become something like a badge of honour for a certain generation of feminist campaigner, which gives you some indication of how seriously they take the implied threats. (That is: not in the least.) It’s a sort of online Olympics, where women strut and peacock and compete to show off the most explicitly-worded and imaginative hate mail they’ve received.

Often, they call law enforcement agencies, try to get perpetrators banged up, and even tweet about how they’ve been “forced out of their homes.” Broadcasting information about your whereabouts on social media is an odd strategy for a person who claims to be in fear for their life. The police tend to advise against it. But even drawing attention to that fact is enough to get you slandered on the internet these days, and branded a hateful bully.

Again with the double standard: Feminists are calculated provocateurs looking to entrap male gamers, but the male gamers actually making the death threats are merely “ungallant”, “bored, lonely people” “taking to the internet to work off [their] anger”. The threats are “admittedly feverish” and “injudicious”, but Yiannopoulos seems to think the men making these threats are the real victims here, not the women who receive them. Not only is this a really callous stance to take, but it sympathizes with people who send death threats as “frustrated gamers” and “victimize[d] innocents”. It’s doubly hypocritical when you consider Yiannopoulos has recieved threats himself, but still discounts the ones other people get.

#Gamergate has some unreliable allies. Two of Milo’s events have been evacuated by anonymous bomb threats this year, at least one of which came from #Gamergate’s doxxing and raid board, Baphomet. Unfortunately, Baphomet seems to enjoy doxxing Sargon of Akkad as much as they do SJWs. Yiannopoulos relies upon Baph users as sources from time to time, so he doesn’t retaliate against the board. Instead, he minimizes the threats he himself recieves, and blames them on SJWs:

“most of the threats come from either edgy teenagers, blue-haired bra-burners or the fans of former Jeopardy! winners… and aren’t serious in the slightest.”

But when his own ass is on the line, Yiannopoulos seems not to want to risk actual bodily harm to prove Internet threats are just the “ungallant” and “admittedly feverish” writings of people “work[ing] off anger”. When he’s the one attending the convention, Yiannopoulos hires an escort. According to him, the “real quantifiable threats” Milo Yianopoulos has experienced are different from the “odd disobliging tweet” feminists receive.


#Gamergaters basically welcomed Yiannopoulos, eager to have a journalist – any journalist – who would cover their movement favorably. That’s Yiannopoulos’s function within #Gamergate – to attack their critics and write puff pieces how glorious and great #Gamergate is. In his article “Gamergate: Angry Feminists, Unethical Journalists are the Ones Not Welcome in the Gaming Community” (URL Title:”The Gamergate Movement is Making Great Progress, Don’t Stop Now”) Yiannopoulos relates basically how the movement sees itself:

The video game community is perhaps the most inclusive, gender neutral and colourblind on the internet. It’s also remarkably diverse, producing such offbeat pleasures as My Ex-Boyfriend The Space Tyrant and Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme. So it was a strange choice of target for feminist culture warriors, who heaved ominously into view a few years ago, like the genocidal, psychopathic aliens in Independence Day.

It was time to do away with all that “fun” people were having, said these grievance-mongering killjoy arrivistes, and start taking seriously the overwhelmingly clear moral obligation to include at least six minorities, four gay dudes and a paraplegic illegal immigrant lesbian in every major video game release.

I’m exaggerating, obviously. But not by much: these bizarre campaigners, deploying a series of disingenuous and morally questionable tactics, such as goading people into making unpleasant remarks and then using those statements to publicly beg for sympathy and cash, have made gamers’ lives a misery these last few years.

There’s a lot to unpack in here. #Gamergate thinks of itself as “inclusive, gender neutral & colourblind”, but IRL this works the same as “no one knows you’re a dog on the internet.” The chan virtue of everyone being anonymous (and therefore, equal) also makes everybody male by default.

#Gamergaters also believe games are just fine as is, and that any changes would amount to “grievance-mongering killjoy arrivistes” shoe-horning “at least six minorities, four gay dudes and a paraplegia illegal immigrant lesbian” into what #Gamergaters perceive as “their” games. The idea that women and minorites do in fact play games, and that new games may be released to cater to those demographics is apparently the truth #Gamergate can’t handle:

To the feminist campaigners trying to ruin video games for everyone and a press that refuses to reform itself despite clear evidence of professional failure, gamers have responded with all the heroic defiance of Will Smith delivering a nuke into the mothership — and with just as much style. Through a series of fundraisers and lobbying efforts, as well as polite but firm advocacy on Twitter, they have begun to formulate a coherent intellectual and activist response to those who mystifyingly claim that their games and their culture are both somehow ugly, bigoted and evil.

Uh, I don’t think calling Anita Sarkeesian a “verified cunt” on Twitter is “a coherent intellectual and activist response”. But let’s agree to disagree, and consider Gamergate’s virtues:

#GamerGate has raised over $5,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, blowing past a $2,000 target in just an hour. This figure easily eclipses the sub-$1,000 donation that activist developer Zoe Quinn, whose personal and professional antics kicked off #GamerGate, says she donated to

Remarkably, users of popular messageboard 4chan in a single evening contributed over $20,000 to The Fine Young Capitalists, a charity drive for women in gaming that Quinn’s supporters attempted and failed to sabotage, according to organisers.

Posters on 4chan’s video game messageboard, /v/, helped to create a fictional character, Vivian James, an ordinary girl who happens to hate “social justice warriors” and love playing video games — like many women in the gaming community. The Vivian James meme is slated to appear in a future Fine Young Capitalists release and serves as a reminder that not only is the gaming community welcoming and tolerant but that it deals with insurrectionists with good humour, creativity and kindness.

As proof a movement isn’t “hateful, bigoted, and evil” this could be more compelling. “Creat[ing] a fictional character”, for instance, doesn’t prove “the gaming community [is] welcoming and tolerant”, because Vivian James’s catchphrases are “shut up and play” and “get off your high horse, bitch!” Nor does raising $20,000 for a glitchy game made by a for-profit guy with offshore labor and a reality-show concept selection process qualify as “contribut[ing] to a charity drive.” Even the $5k for suicide prevention gets all the niceness sucked out it, since Yiannopoulos can’t resist mentioning how that donation “easily esclipses” what Zoe Quinn raised from Depression Quest. Dude- I know you’re Catholic, but I don’t think the charity counts if you announce it with trumpets. After a few more paragraphs, Milo says this of gamers:

#GamerGate has exposed both the feminist campaigners and even some gaming journalists as completely out of touch with the very reasons people play games. Gamers, as dozens of readers have told me in the relatively short time I have been covering the controversy now called #GamerGate, play games to escape the frustrations and absurdities of everyday life. 

That’s why they object so strongly to having those frustrations injected into their online worlds.The war in the gaming industry isn’t about right versus left, or tolerance versus bigotry: it’s between those who leverage video games to fight proxy wars about other things, introducing unwanted and unwarranted tension and misery, and those who simply want to enjoy themselves. 

So, gamers “play games to escape the frustrations and absurdities of everyday life.” They object to “having those frustrations injected into their online worlds”, causing them “unwanted and unwarranted tension and misery.” But if some feminist game really bothers them so much, couldn’t they just… not play it? It’s not like there are any shortage of “hardcore” games out there marketed towards straight male players. Are feminists ruining Gamergate’s life by making games targeted towards other demographics? Because it seems like what Yiannopoulos is saying is that because games like these make straight male players uncomfortable, they can’t be allowed to exist:

In any male-dominated industry, you’re going to find people who speak about women in ways you’d rather they didn’t. (That cuts both ways, of course: women when they get together aren’t shrinking violets when it comes to discussing the size of their boyfriend’s penis, and what he does with it.) And you’re going to find games catering to male sexual appetites by including explicit imagery of women. Game developers who pay heed to the conceited attention-seekers and useful idiots in the media are likely to see their creations fail in the marketplace. 

According to Yiannopoulos, “any male-dominated industry” is a self-justifying phenomena. Because it’s male dominated, it has to “cater to male sexual appetites” (though notably not Milo’s own) “by including explicit imagery of women”, and anybody who makes a game that isn’t all Solid Snakes, cigars, and T&A “are likely to see their creations fail in the marketplace.” (Yiannopoulos is dead wrong – the Portal series, for example, features no “explicit imagery of women” or “catering to male sexual appetites” and guys still played it.) It’s weird how Yiannopoulos defends this status quo “natural” when he himself proves #NotAllMen are attracted to this sort of thing:

There’s an assumption in these feminist critiques that this is somehow a cause for shame or outrage. It is not. There’s nothing unnatural about male gamers enjoying attractive female characters. What’s unnatural is trying to police it. Feminist campaigners such as Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian won’t like this comparison, but what their mission represents is a new kind of sexually dysfunctional authority clamping down on the sexuality of the great unwashed, like politicians and some churches throughout history.

Wow. We’re getting back into that whole self-hating gay man thing; Yiannopoulos idolizes “male gamers enjoying attractive female characters” as “nothing unnatural”, and disparages feminists as “clamping down on the sexuality of the great unwashed”. Yiannopoulos always phrases this group as “male gamers”, too – as if the normal male sexuality is a heterosexual one, and the imposition of gay characters (or a “paraplegic illegal immigrant lesbian”, if you will) into a video game would be “sexually dysfunctional” authoritarianism. This guy is ruining games for everybody.

Unhappy, egotistical people will always try to spread their misery around. So it is with Quinn and Sarkeesian. But we should resist their attempts to cover this innocent pastime in shame and opprobrium, because their criticisms are entirely without merit. If there’s one thing #GamerGate activism is proving, it’s that there is no bigotry problem in the gaming industry: it’s an illusion, cooked up by people with axes to grind.

Wait, what? Yiannopoulos was just going on about how predominantly male, straight, and white gaming was, and how that reflects the tastes gaming’s customer base. But there’s “no bigotry problem in the gaming industry”? He can’t quite decide whether the problem is an illusion, or if it does exist, but it’s a non-problem because gaming is a refuge for traditional masculinity.

Frankly, Yiannopoulos posts about #Gamergate can get a little tedious, because it’s always about the damn feminists. Yiannopoulos even shoe-horns that subject into an article titled “Superman Actor Dean Cain on Gamergate: I’m On The Gamers’ Side”:

Having defeated Lex Luthor in the 1990s, Cain has now thrown his hat in the ring against a nefarious new super-villain: the rainbow-haired social justice warrior. On Steven Crowder’s show earlier today, Cain & I discussed the threat to artistic freedom posed by pearl-clutching activists whose fact-free rants about sexism and violence have infuriated both gamers and game developers.

While Cain disputes the idea games cause violence, Yiannopoulos seems as obsessed with SJWs as ever:

GamerGate supporters advocate for higher ethical standards in games journalism and reject the advances of feminist critics who say video games are overly violent and sexist and have a deleterious effect on the real world. They have been wrongly accused of rape and death threats by far-left social activists and bloggers.

As regular readers will know, the mere mention of GamerGate is kryptonite for so-called SJWs – reason enough for right-thinking people to support it. Now closing in on its one-year anniversary, the hashtag has become a rallying cry for everyone with an objection to hand-wringing moral panickers.

If you want to signal your opposition to hectoring, bullying, public-shaming political correctness, there is no faster way to do it than go on Twitter and type “I support #GamerGate.” That’s what Cain did on Crowder’s show today.

It’s a bit confusing. Whereas Cain expresses solidarity with #Gamergate by being a gamer himself, Yiannopoulos says #Gamergate “has become a rallying cry for everyone with an objection to hand-wringing moral panickers.” Talk about scope creep: I thought #Gamergaters just wanted to play video games, but Yiannopoulos seems to think of them as a personal army.

Yiannopoulos personally is certainly more invested in attacking individual feminists, over and over again, like he does in a post titled “Zoe Quinn is the Perfect Person to Address the UN on Cyberbullying”:

A failed game designer and professional victim most famous for cheating on her boyfriend and inspiring a year-long hate campaign against video game enthusiasts has tweeted that she will be speaking at the United Nations this week as part of a panel called “Cyber Violence Against Women & Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call.” …

Quinn is the video game developer – in the loosest and most forgiving definition of that term – who served as a flashpoint for #GamerGate, the consumer revolt against the authoritarian Left’s incursion into gaming and the unethical gaming press that serves as its entry point. Quinn hasn’t done much developing recently, because she is busy with a Kafkaesque “anti-harassment” project called CON. (The “Crash Override Network”… I wish I was making it up.)

I say Kafkaesque because Zoe Quinn, like most of the intersectional feminist left, exists in a quantum superstate between aggressor and victim, provoking, demonising and ridiculing people she doesn’t like and then instantly crying foul when they respond in kind, retreating into damsel-in-distress mode and calling on men she’s slept with (allegedly) or tried to sleep with (allegedly) or who have tried to sleep with her (allegedly) in order to brand her enemies – most of the rest of the world, it seems – as “bullies,” “abusers” and “harassers.”

Once in a while, Quinn descends from her lofty internet perch of hypocrisy, self-aggrandisement and malice, taking a break from the exhausting duties of being a white middle-class feminist to lecture the world on precisely the sort of behaviour of which she herself was guilty before she realised that, to the media and the authoritarian-progressive political establishment, victimhood is a perfectly acceptable alternative to talent. …

The only problem with this argument is that the real quantifiable threats are almost always against people Quinn doesn’t like: that is, gamers, not feminists. Sure, feminists get the odd disobliging tweet, but real-world bomb threats in Florida and even Washington, DC have only ever been deemed credible by the police when directed at gamers.

Does this all sound a little… familiar? This post is in many ways exactly the same as that other post about Zoe Quinn, although Yiannopoulos wrote these articles about a year apart.

Reading this, it seems like #Gamergate is in the exact same place they were 12 months ago – they’re angry at women in tech, they’re angry at minorities in tech, and they’re angry other at cis, white, het gamers for not respecting their authority. They’re so desperate to be taken seriously that #Gamergate’s been exploited a bunch of times for money, pageviews, and as a recruiting ground for terrorists.

That is really the most dangerous thing about this Yiannopoulos guy – he leaves the door open for creeps like Weev, who described Gamergate as “the biggest siren bringing people into the folds of white nationalism.” Yiannopoulos worked with Weev on articles attacking his ex-girlfriend magazine editor Shanley Kane, including an interview with the man himself. By acting as #Gamergate’s publicist, Yiannopoulos attracts other scumbags he works with, like Weev  and Roosh V to the movement. #Gamergate has been exploited dozens of times for money, time, and upvotes, and Yiannopoulos in particular exploits #Gamergate for pageviews. Another benefit is that Yiannopoulos has got #Gamergate in the tank when it’s time to defend Roosh V’s character, or attack abortion rights, or bitch about female Thor.

I could continue linking to ridiculous, repulsive things Yiannopoulos has written or said in #Gamergate’s defense – truthfully, Yiannopoulos has been banging on about #Gamergate for so long I’m surprised his editors at Breitbart haven’t told him to knock it off – but I think I’ve made my point. So I’ll let Milo finish himself off, with this Hair Club for Men style endorsement of #Gamergate, taken from an article by him titled “Sneaky Little Hobbitses: How Gamers Transformed the Culture Wars”:

So, here’s a confession. I don’t just call myself a reporter covering GamerGate any more. I am a proud member of the movement myself. And it’s a wonderful, remarkable group to be in, packed full of some of the quirkiest, smartest, funniest, most welcoming, tolerant and warm people I’ve ever met. Here’s to another terrific 12 months, shitlords!

Milo Yiannopoulos: In His Own Words

Actual Poems written by Milo Yiannopoulous ca. 2007

Actual chapbook of Milo Yiannopoulos poetry, written 2007


The hardest part about reading Milo Yiannopoulos lately is figuring out if he actually means what he says. His Breitbart persona is so trolly that it’s easy for Yiannopoulos to characterize anything he writes as a joke, and his critics as fools who can’t distinguish between reality and hyperbole. And because of this, it’s easy for Yiannopoulos to wash his hands of any individual thing he writes, even if it results in his subjects getting harassed or stalked by his readership.

But from what I can tell, Yiannopoulos sincerely means the repulsive stuff he writes. If you go back to Yiannopoulos posts written when he was writing for The Catholic Herald, he says the same things in a more serious-faced tone, befitting of the reputable media networks who used to give him column space. Having burned all his professional bridges back in 2013, Yiannopoulos paints himself ever deeper into his extremist corner, pandering to an increasingly cloistered audience of 18-to-34 year old white nationalists, #Gamergaters, and MRAs. Quality Yiannopoulos quotes are usually beyond parody.

So then, the best way to get to know what Yiannopoulos believes is to read his writings. But this too presents a problem, since Milo Yiannopoulos has racked up dozens if not hundreds of posts, and I want to sample this river of bile in a fair and balanced manner. To cover it all will take several stories, each episode covering a different chapter in Yiannopoulos’s life, dealings, and public statements. This initial release is the first two acts of what I expect to be a five-part retrospective about Yiannopoulos as he presents himself in his own words.


Part 1 – Catholic Guilt


Milo Yiannopoulos, growing up in Kent.

“Railway Toilets III”, by Milo Yiannopoulos

In a recent interview for Sky News about anti-gay hate crime in rural English villages, Yiannopoulos brought up his own childhood as a defense against the existence of gay hate crime in Britian. Yiannopoulos had this to say of his growing up:

“Well, I grew up in a very small village in Kent. And actually you know people who live in the country and who grow up in rural places in England are some of the most tolerant and some of the most welcoming, some of the loveliest people in the country… I’ve lived in a small community and I was noticeably different. I remain noticeably different… I was the only gay in the village, and as I said to you, my experience of rural English life has been delightful. The people of this country are some of the most tolerant, welcoming, open, wonderful people in the world.”

Rambling a mile a minute over the bamboozled host, who clearly wasn’t expecting to debate the existence of homophobia in Britian, Yiannopoulos insists “a vast ecosystem of largely publicly funded organizations” contribute to the appearance of homophobia where there is none. But in reality, Yiannopoulos seems to have experienced homophobia firsthand, both from his community and from within his own family.

Milo Yiannopoulos was born Milo Hanrahan on October 18, 1984. By Milo’s own accounts, his childhood was not a very happy one. In a Breitbart piece titled “I’m Glad my Mum Drank While Pregnant… I Might Not Be Here Otherwise“, Yiannopoulos states that his mother and father were “splitting up” around the time he was conceived, but stayed together because of the pregnancy. According to Milo, they separated when he was six.

Yiannopoulos’s mother appears to have rejected him when he came out, causing him to change his surname to “Yiannopoulos” around that time. Although Milo occasionally claims some Jewish ancestry, he was in fact “brought up Catholic” by his paternal grandmother. Indeed, Yiannopoulos still describes himself  in an AMA as “Basically mostly Catholic, though a terrible one.”

This grandmother appears to have been more supportive of Milo than either of his parents, allowing him to live with her in his teens and willing him money from her estate. In a 2012 obituary he wrote for his Nana Petra, Yiannopoulos relates what this was like:

Nana had spooky levels of intuition about people, which made her a fearsome adversary. Her annual feuds with my mother were spectacular – as, on occasion, was her language when my mother’s name came up. Needless to say, it was she who emerged victorious from the skirmishes, dusting off her velvet cuffs and muttering “uppity cow” under her breath. (This was to become a favourite expression of mine.) As a child, I remember Nana sweeping magisterially through the house in layers of silk and brocade, archly passing judgment on the issues of the day.

But she was a deeply tender woman, too, who loved unquestioningly and unconditionally, and enjoyed expressing her affection through matriarchy. I can’t imagine what trouble I must have put her through in my late teens, when I lived with her after finding it impossible to co-exist with either of my then-separated parents. She was there, looking on with mild astonishment but never disapproval, when I dressed up as Cleopatra and rolled myself up in her carpet, drunkenly sobbing and yelling “Where’s my Rex Harrison?” (I was 19.) …

Above all else, Nana enjoyed keeping an eye on things. Not just because she enjoyed a good snoop – though she certainly did – but because she was a woman for whom duty and care were the pre-eminent virtues. Without her, I would not have developed much of a sense of right and wrong. “You can be a catty little queen at times,” she’d say. “But your heart’s in the right place.” If she was right, it was thanks to her own instinctive sense of morality and her uncanny ability to suss people out.

She was by far the first person to twig that I was gay. My mother was awful about it, my father was surprisingly understanding, but Nana showed just the right amount of acceptance and concern. “It’s not a happy life,” she would say. “But if you stay safe and away from drugs, you’ll be alright.” Dad and I always laughed at that. “Just look at your bloody cupboards,” he’d say. “You’re the biggest junkie I know!” She’d allow herself a smirk at this, now and again, in between puffs of the Nebuliser.

Despite the support, Yiannopoulos has a pretty dim view of gay people and gay rights, including his own. In a piece written by Yiannopoulos in 2011 titled “Why I’ll Probably Never Be a Parent”, he relates his “horribly lonely, miserable experience”  of being a gay man, while forswearing the possibility of ever having children (which he very much seems to want):

But the thought that I might influence my child towards a lifestyle choice guaranteed to bring them pain and unhappiness – however remote that chance may be – is horrifying to me. That’s why, quite simply, I wouldn’t bring a child up in a gay household and, if by some chance I were to end up having a child with a woman, I would seek to insulate that child from inappropriate situations and influences until they were old enough to understand the principles, ramifications and, yes, the mechanics surrounding such an enormous decision. …

I’d describe myself as 90-95% gay. I would never have chosen to be this way. No one would choose it. You’d have to be mad. …

But everything isn’t OK. And, ceteris paribus, no one would choose to have a gay child rather than a straight one. It would be like wishing that they were born disabled – not just because homosexuality is aberrant, but because that child will suffer unnecessarily. Again, you’d have to be mad. Or evil. …

Is being homosexual “wrong”? Something somewhere inside of me says Yes. You probably don’t agree. But I think we can all agree that, unless you live in the cosseted bubble of a liberal metropolis, the reality of growing up gay for most people is a horribly lonely, miserable experience. (If you don’t know, take it from me: it is.) 

The feelings of alienation and rejection it engenders are responsible for the sorts of repugnant tribal posturing you see on the streets of Soho on a Friday night, as bitterly unhappy queers engage in degrading and repulsive behaviour, simply because they want to feel a part of something after a lifetime of marginalisation. …

Ironically, it’s precisely that profound feeling of being somehow broken that means a gay man’s sexuality often comes to be the defining characteristic of his personality. Who wouldn’t want to protect a child from a path that leads to such destructive self-loathing? …

But the battle for gay rights has been won. All these preening poofs in public life do is make life more difficult for regular young gay people by reinforcing the stereotypes about gay behaviour: reminding a struggling child’s myopic dad that queers are uppity, in-your-face, camp-as-tits faggots who’ll rape you as soon as look at you. …

Recently, a good friend of mine became pregnant. She’s a sassy chick with what the glossies call “a fabulous international lifestyle” and lots of metropolitan friends. But if the gags about fairy godmothers become more than a joke, I’ll probably, no doubt inappropriately, transgress the tested limits of our friendship and tell her so. Because her child deserves to be protected from the seedier aspects of life until properly equipped to cope with them.

And that’s why I’ll probably never have a child of my own – which isn’t a statement I make with any pleasure.

I think I’d have made a great dad. I mean, aside from being clever and charming and witty and fantastically good looking, I’d spoil them rotten while being fastidiously attentive to their academic performance and career aspirations. But it’s wrong to expose an innocent child to the possibility of gay influence.

I don’t hate myself and I don’t hate my sexuality. (Granted, I have a complicated relationship with the latter.) Nor do I hate other gay men. (Where would fat girls be without them?) But if my beliefs about raising kids get me branded a homophobic homo… well, so be it.

It’s hard to dismiss a post like this one as hyperbole: Yiannopoulos genuinely seems to believe being gay leads to “destructive self-loathing”, describes other gay people as “preening poofs” and “camp-as-tits faggots who’ll rape you as soon as look at you”, and believes that his friend’s baby-to-be “deserves to be protected” from gay men such as himself, because it’d be “wrong to expose an innocent child to the possibility of gay influence.” This suggests Milo is serious when he says “Kids need a Mum and a Dad” on Breitbart, or that “Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber, It’s Time To Get Back in the Closet” or, “Gays! If you want to start giving blood, stop being sluts.” And when Milo’s sex partners post photographic proof of Yiannopoulos’s one-night stands, he looks kind of annoyed and depressed with the proceedings.

In fact, it appears Milo has tried to get back in the closet at least once. In a bizarre 2011 blog post titled “Engaged”, Yiannopoulos announced:

Yesterday I proposed to a woman I do not yet know intimately, but with whom I wish to share the next chapter of my life. She accepted.

It will be an unconventional marriage, to say the least, but I am confident we will make each other very happy. I hope you will join me in celebrating soon.

I don’t know which is sadder: for this announcement to be genuine, or just made up for appearance’s sake. At any rate, Yiannopoulos never mentions the engagement, or this unnamed woman, ever again.


Part 2 – Ambition and Failure

"April Friends Graph" By Milo Yiannopoulous

“April 2014 Friends Graph” By Milo Yiannopoulous. (Note “Number of Friends Made by Year”.)


Milo Yiannopoulos has fallen pretty far since Forbes called him “Digital Media’s Citizen Kane.” Posts from this stratum read like the first 1/3rd of Jurassic Park, with Yiannopoulos insisting The Kernel is a safe and worthy investment, as it became increasingly evident that everything was falling apart at the seams. By the end of his run as a media mogul, Yiannopoulos was blackmailing his employees in response to their lawsuit regarding Yiannopoulos’s nonpayment of wages. This 2012 interview, which I’m going to reprint in its entirety, marks Yiannopoulos’s zenith; his 15 minutes of fame as a controversial techno-conservative. But even at this moment of triumph, you can see the cracks in his story:

Out of the London tech scene comes a 28-year-old journalist/entrepreneur surrounded by controversy whereever he goes. Whether it was the publishing of his private dispute between himself and the tech editor of The Guardian or numerous public arguments on Twitter with start ups founders, editors and the self-proclaimed technorati — this is one man who isn’t afraid to say what he thinks.

Milo Yiannopoulos however is doing one thing that most media have become afraid to do. Speak up and out about hypocrisy and well, the white-washed news that colors the UK and European tech start up scene.  In 2011 and 2012, Yiannopoulos was named one of the 100 most influential people in the UK’s digital economy by Wired UK. He hosted the Young Rewired State competition in 2010 to showcase the tech talents of 15–18 year olds. He’s also an outspoken gay Catholic who writes for the Catholic Herald.

In 2011 his raison d’etre, the Kernel, was born. Today, December 19, The Kernel celebrates its first year in existence and proves it’s possible to bring back old school journalism, with some serious edge in the digital age.

The Kernel is a mash-up of Gawker meets Vanity Fair topped with technology, politics and media news and commentary the way you wish media would write about such things. Today, the Kernel has about 140,000 unique readers a month; 40% from the UK, 40% from the US and 20% from the rest of the world.

In honor of The Kernel’s first anniversary, Forbes caught up with bold Yiannopoulos to find out what makes him tick. (Answers in British English)

Forbes: Let’s start with something dark, what’s your addiction?

Milo Yiannopoulos: Seeing the wicked suffer. That sounds a bit psychologically disturbed, I know, but it’s the reason I went into journalism and I think it’s the reason most people do. I’m probably a bit more forthright about my opinions and prejudices than most journalists, but then I’m a columnist by nature, not a reporter. At the Kernel we very much see ourselves as crusaders for truth and justice, as daft as that sounds. Some people might find that sinister, but a strong editorial line has been a crucial part of our proposition from day one.

“A bit psychologically disturbed”? It sounds a lot psychologically disturbed – and it’s more disturbing when you consider how many times Yiannopoulos has launched full-on smear campaigns against individuals throughout his journalistic career. “Seeing the wicked suffer” is how Yiannopoulos justifies trying to smear his ideological enemies; “truth” and “justice” according to him are functionally indistinguishable from “malice” and “revenge”.

Forbes: Truth and justice –  admirable, but where does journalism fall between those pillars?

MY: The only publications that will make money are focused, high-quality publications with a ruthless attention to detail, publishing comment and analysis you can’t get anywhere else. Everyday news will just have to be subsidised by other things, because it will never make money.

Forbes: That’s a tall order, so why did you decide to take on the daunting task of digital publishing?

MY: I was, shall we say, invited to take a break from the national newspaper at which I cut my teeth – about four times. Mostly, it wasn’t my fault. But after the last incident I realised I was probably unemployable and that I should go freelance. I started looking around for a magazine or newspaper to approach for a column and realised there was really no one out there I wanted to write for. So, for the past year, I’ve been trying to create the magazine I always wanted to read: a blend of gossip, news, authoritative comment and analysis, with a healthy dose of mischief.

Forbes: You’re the harbinger of controversy. How do you reconcile your personal opinions with your knowledge of the facts versus the gossip you hear in the industry?

MY: I’m in a slightly odd position in that, as a journalist, I don’t have that many friends in the media.My friends are the entrepreneurs. It’s ironic, really, because it’s the entrepreneurs I give a hard time. As a result, I know the people and businesses in the technology industry intimately, and a lot better than my colleagues, but it can be difficult knowing so much more than you can ever publish. If I ever felt like burning all my bridges, I could have three months of riotous daily exclusives. It would probably bring down the industry.

Forbes: Well on that note, and this gives us a chance to see what you’re made of, what’s your biggest failure?

MY:I dropped out of university twice. 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 – which, in my case, remains to to be seen. I may go back to Cambridge at some point. I know I should.But it’s hard when you’re approaching 30 and building a company and traveling all over the world and doing TV and all the other stuff people say you get your degree to be in with a chance of achieving to pull the plug and go back to writing essays about representations of addiction in Marlovian anti-heroes.

Talk about privileged. Some people don’t even get to attend university once, let alone drop out of it twice.

Forbes: What aspects of the character Charles Foster Kane, do you identify with the most?

MY: Inasmuch as I’m a publisher who ought never, ever to run for public office, yeah, maybe there are some similarities! Beyond that, I don’t know. As a side note, The Kernel’s version of “rosebud” is probably “mooncup”. Only long-time subscribers will know what that means.

Forbes: Is it safe to assume that Nick Denton influenced you?

MY:Absolutely. Gawker’s politics and business model are very different to ours, but I admire Nick enormously. He’s managed to build a profitable new media property from scratch, which is just extraordinary. And, more than that, Gawker is a powerful editorial force and a cultural icon.That’s what I’m most in awe of. I try not to pay too much attention to his legendarily bad-ass management style, though, because I’m not the best manager of people myself and I have a tendency to expect way too much from people. It’s hard but you have to accept that not everyone is going to be as invested in the project as you are.

Forbes: Since we’re on the topic of Gawker, let’s talk money. Denton had a lot of cash to start Gawker, you didn’t. What did it take to get investors to open their wallets for the Kernel? The funding of digital media outlets isn’t top of the heap.

MY: We’re engaged in the long process of another round of financing at the moment, after bootstrapping the company to this point. Of the five co-founders, three put in money a year ago when we launched. I’ve sunk about £50,000 into the Kernel so far, I think, most of which has gone on lawyers. But that’s just the cost of doing business, particularly doing a media business that publishes punchy editorial. I don’t know whether I should be proud of the fact that we spend double on lawyers what we do on editorial, but there you go. It’s an expensive business and I’m just trying to keep the company above water while we grow. Not drawing a salary for a year is no fun, though, let me tell you.

Remember, this is the interview listed #3 in the citations for Milo Yiannopoulos’s Wikipedia page; it’s his big claim to fame. But even here he admits he’s “boot-strapping the company”, and twice mentions the need for “another round of financing”, or “a bit more financial security.” He even says “Not drawing a salary for a year is no fun, though, let me tell you”, foreshadowing the very problem that ended up sinking the Kernel. In hindsight, is it any surprise this guy failed to pay his contributors?

But the real reason it’s difficult to get investment into media companies is that they just don’t make money. They never have. There are newspapers that have been run at a loss for almost their entire lives. The truth is, owning a media company is a luxury and it’s something that people do because they believe in a set of values and want to propagate their morals and their opinions. Only fools go into media to get rich, because a vanishingly small number of editorial products are profitable in their own right.

Forbes: Ok got it, no fools, only truth and justice. One year later, what’s missing now with the Kernel?

MY: We’ve just expanded into Germany, which is really exciting. What I need to do over the next six months is close enough money and grow revenues enough for us to open a New York office. I don’t see anyone in New York doing what Gawker used to do so brilliantly with Valleywag on the west coast, and I think our brand of journalism would go down very well there. But we need a bit more financial security before we make that leap, not least because I’ll then need to shuttle between London, Berlin and New York every month. Yuck.

Forbes: What do you want people to say about you? About the Kernel?

MY: I didn’t hate it when the Observer called me a pit bull, which I guess compared to other tech journalists I am. As for The Kernel, people sometimes say it’s the publication they hate, but they’re glad exists. I can live with that. I’ll admit I do get a kick out of rubbing humourless people’s noses in it sometimes. When we do silly, fun features like the “best butts in London tech”, other journalists go ape shit but the readers love it. That gets me off.

Forbes:  Why do you think you get people’s ire up so quickly? 

MY: It’s simple really. People get upset because we do something relatively unique in technology journalism: we tell the truth.

Forbes: Since you are crusader for journalistic integrity, what gets YOUR ire up? 

MY: I despise what the technology industry has done to language and the creep of words like “disruptive” into everyday speech. And it makes me mad that every idiot with a laptop is now a “CEO”. The Kernel’s style guide has an impressively long list of banned words. But that’s just nitpicking really. What matters is what people do. Great writing has no rules. It’s about telling a story with sharp language, a rampant imagination and a wicked sense humour.

Forbes: Even Hearst had an end game, what’s yours?

MY: I want The Kernel to be the Spectator of tech: a publication that commands respect and authority within its own industry, even if it’s occasionally purposefully reactionary, controversial or even childish,and a publication that translates the world it writes about for the educated layman, telling him what he needs to know and what to think about it. All things considered, we’ve made great strides in that direction already.

I’m unclear on why Forbes thought Yiannopoulos’s product was so valuable. Clearly, the market itself didn’t place a very high premium on “purposefully reactionary, controversial or even childish” news stories that told readers “what to think”. I know this because Yiannopoulos’s paid newsletter, the Nutshell, didn’t get enough subscriptions to cover the Kernel’s costs. What’s more, those who did subscribe to The Nutshell quickly unsubscribed, complaining that the paid newsletter arrived too infrequently to be worth the money.

To cope with the lack of funding, Yiannopoulos stopped paying his contributors, who were forced to make legal injuctions against him just to collect their salaries. He’s even on the record for threatening one of his contributors (former associate editor Margot Huysman) per email. She widely circulated these messages from Yiannopoulos during the 2012-2013 scandal:

On Friday, 14 December 2012, Milo Yiannopoulos <> wrote:

You’ve already made yourself permanently unemployable in London with your hysterical, brainless tweeting, by behaving like a common prostitute and after starting a war with me, as perhaps you are now discovering.

On 17 Dec 2012, at 12:39, Milo Yiannopoulos <> wrote:

You’ve not only torpedoed your chances of ever having a career in journalism in London, but you’re rapidly losing my sympathy as well.

The more I hear of your feverish gossiping, the more I’m moved to publish the real story. The shameless, disgusting, drunken sluttishness, about which the entirety of [redacted] was sniggering on a daily basis. Your reputation on the start-up scene, propagated by your ‘friends’. That *delightful* photograph from the [redacted] party.

Obviously, this attempt to silence Huysman backfired- she circulated these emails to pretty much anyone with an interest in the growing scandal, and Yiannopoulos found himself the subject of some pretty unflattering news stories from other technology journalists. Even in 2014, Milo held a pretty vicious grudge against Huysman:

I’m amazed Margot could form words to complain, she had so many dicks in her mouth at the time. Not that I’m judging: her lust for cock is second only to my own. But when someone alludes to me as a slattern I don’t go squealing to the papers. I accept it for the fact it is.

By March 2013 the Kernel went offline, and a high court ordered Yiannopoulos to pay back nearly 17,000 pounds he owed in back wages. Former Kernel Editor Jason Hesse had this to say of his boss Yiannopoulos:

Milo never paid me a penny for the work I did as editor, nor for the three months of hosting bills I paid for The Kernel, nor for the money I lent to him personally. Why he thinks he can just get away with it is beyond me. I hope that the high court’s order will help him finally understand that it isn’t his choice to decide whether or not he wants to pay me; it’s the law.” …

“His refusal to pay those people that he’d hired is simply unacceptable, though in hindsight, I don’t believe he ever had the money to pay me or Margot. It certainly would be interesting to see the company’s accounts.”

The Kernel also seems to have failed at ethical journalism. Investor & actual entrepreneur Steve Karmeinsky had this to say of Yiannopoulos’s startup:

“The Kernel had the opportunity to write about real issues in the London tech scene, which is one of the most vibrant and exciting technology development spaces globally, unfortunately, rather than that, it morphed into a celebrity/gossip magazine; rather than being the Economist of the sector, it was very much the ‘National Enquirer’. Further, it became just a mouthpiece for Milo Yiannopoulos to write nice things about his friends.”

The Kernel’s spectacular failure and Milo’s resultant Twitter slap-fights lost him still more friends & contributors. According to yet another Guardian article regarding the scandal: 

David Rosenberg, a university friend of Yiannopoulos’s – who co-founded the Kernel, but left day-to-day operations in January to work for location company FourSquare, remaining on the editorial board – told the Guardian: “I don’t like the way [Yiannopoulos] picks [virtual] fights with people … I tried to extricate myself from his fight-picking.”

He had not received a salary from the site, Rosenberg said.

It was next rumoured that [Yiannopoulos] would start a venture capital company, Hipster Ventures, that would take European startups and launch them on the US west coast. But Hipster Ventures, formed with university friend David Rosenberg, filed for dissolution on 26 July 2012, the day after Rosenberg resigned from the company leaving Yiannopoulos as the sole director.

Rosenberg told the Guardian he had been annoyed to discover that Yiannopoulos had included him as a director of Hipster Ventures “without really discussing it” and resigned his position as soon as he discovered it. He said he had made it plain to Yiannopoulos that it “won’t happen again”.

Ultimately, Yiannopoulos made arrangements with a German venture capital company (despite having derided venture capital as “a middle class dole queue” in the past) in order to pay off his debts and re-launch the Kernel. Reading this article about the buyout, it’s apparent how far Yiannopoulos has fallen in the eyes of his colleagues:

An infamous online magazine forced to close over unpaid wages is set to be re-launched with its divisive founder in charge after paying off debts of over £24,000. …

The site mixed bitchy gossip about the London tech scene, such as an article asking why one German entrepreneur is so sexy, with more considered think pieces. The site led The Observer to dub Yiannopoulos the “pitbull of tech media” while Forbes called him “digital media’s Citizen Kane”.

But the publication was dogged by complaints from employees and contributors of unpaid wages.

Yiannopoulos’s acerbic and often offensive tone – with articles such as “Put a sock in it you dickless wonders” about the number of women at tech conferences – also attracted numerous critics, including The Guardian‘s technology editor Charles Arthur whom Yiannopoulos claims led a “campaign” against the site.

The Independent on Sunday can reveal that The Kernel will be relaunched in August, backed by German venture capitalist firm Berlin42 and with Mr Yiannopoulos remaining as editor-in-chief.

Berlin42 has acquired the domain for an undisclosed amount, and founding partner Aydogan Ali Schosswald will join its newly formed publishing company, Kernel Media, as chief executive. Yiannopoulos, who has been based in Berlin since April, privately settled debts owed to six former employees and freelancers amounting to around £24,000 in April. He stresses he would not repeat the financial mistakes he made, saying Berlin42 was providing a “runway” to fund the relaunch.

This relaunch proved short-lived. Within six months, The Kernel was sold again, this time to The Daily Dot, and Yiannopoulos was demoted to the position of columnist at the publication he used to own. He only held this post for a few months. Reading articles of his from this time, such as “Why I think wearable tech is for creeps”, it’s not hard to to see why the Kernel let him go. At this point, Yiannopoulos seems to hold his own beat in contempt:

Well, first of all, the watches, headsets and assorted wearable paraphernalia released to the public so far are desperately unappealing. Ugly as all hell, in fact, as I put it last night when asked to speak to Sky News about this predictable industry failure.

Second, they are probably the creepiest set of products ever to come out of Silicon Valley—which is saying something.

That’s why celebrities have been reluctant to endorse them or be seen with them in public: They are too odd to appeal to normal people. I’ve got nothing against geeks, with their radical transparency agendas and horrible dress sense, but here in the real world being a geek is not and never will be cool. Sorry, but it’s true. …

So hideously weird are Google’s glasses that there’s even a name for people with the lack of manners and taste it takes to sport them: “glassholes.” And geeks who venture onto the street wearing Glass are being routinely assaulted by members of the public.

What’s mystifying are not the assaults but the brains of people who think it’s OK to wear surveillance cameras on their faces as they go about their daily lives. I hate to be rude, but is there something a bit…wrong with these people?

Leaving your office with a camera strapped to your face that could, at any moment, be secretly photographing women on the subway, or taking covert footage of private citizens, is a grotesque social provocation.

No civilised person would condone theft or physical assault, but I reckon most regular punters would agree that these glasshole provocateurs are getting exactly what they deserve.

Writing apologia for assault if the victim is wearing Google Glass a pretty extreme position for a tech journalist to take about the beat he covers. It almost seems Yiannopoulos grew to hate tech journalism after his failures at The Kernel. It also seems that #Gamergate found Yiannopoulos at just the right moment: Yiannopoulos hasn’t written anything for the Kernel or Business Insider since getting involved with #Gamergate.

Having destroyed his professional relationships, it would appear Yiannopoulos’s match with #Gamergate is one made out of necessity. He lacks the funding to create another start-up, and he lacks the professional cache to write for anywhere more substantial than Other failed journalists seem to hold him in contempt. Truthfully, he’s not an ideal candidate to be writing about ethics in games journalism – given Yiannopoulos’s personal history of stiffing his employees and blackmailing them to cover it up, it’s questionable whether Yiannopoulos actually knows what ethics are.

Thankfully, #Gamergate is not about ethics in games journalism, or at least not in any meaningful way. Functionally, it’s an online hate group dedicated to stalking a handful of women in tech, whose connections to white supremacists, illegal hackers, and other hateful losers has been pretty well documented. Since Yiannopoulos despises women in tech almost as much as his #Gamergate fans do, he sticks with them, willing to overlook their contradictory demands if they’ll overlook his personal hypocrisies.

In my next installment, I’m going to go discuss where Yiannopoulos went next with his career – namely, to internet stardom in a little hate group named #Gamergate. I do hope you’ll join me for that, and thanks for reading.