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”:

BLACK DICKS 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.

BLACK SEX DRIVES MATTER
See above.

BLACK HOLES MATTER
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.