Milo’s ‘Free Speech Week’ over in 20 minutes

Joe Mulhall - 25 09 17

Yesterday, on the Mario Savio steps on Sproul Plaza in the heart of the University of California’s Berkeley campus, the alt-light figure Milo Yiannopoulos held a tiny demonstration.

Despite the email advertising the event stating that, “It’s time to reclaim free speech at UC Berkeley and send shockwaves through the American education system […]” just a few dozen supporters turned up and huddled into one small corner of the cordoned off square.

The event was organized after the collapse of his so-called ‘Free Speech Week’ which had been due to run for four days on the campus. Among the fallout from the embarrassment of the event’s collapse Yiannopoulos called this demonstration to save face. Yet with so few supporters arriving he merely posed for pictures, signed autographs and then finished by singing the Star-Spangled banner.

He was accompanied at the event by notorious anti-Muslim ‘counter-jihadist’ Pamela Geller, banned from entering the UK after a HOPE not hate campaign, and the alt-light social media personality Mike Cernovich. It was announced yesterday that Yiannopoulos will publish Geller’s next book Fatwa: Hunted in America.


With tiny crowds and the arrival of several counter-protests the trio only stayed for a short period before running into their fleet of waiting SUV’s and driving off. Some of his supporters were still going through the tight security to get into the square by the time he had gone.

Outside the event Yiannopoulos supporters and counter-demonstrators traded chants relatively peacefully, though tempers ran high.

Notable Alternative Right figure Kyle Chapman (aka Based Stickman) was in the crowds as was the controversial British YouTuber Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad) and Canadian alternative media personality Lauren Southern. 

Cancelled Free Speech Week

The failure of yesterday’s demonstration will be sorely embarrassing for Yiannopoulos and only serve to further compound the reputational damage he has suffered this week.

Free Speech Week had been billed as a four-day event including big name speakers like Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter alongside other notable right wing figures like Lucian Wintrich of Gateway Pundit and British Daily Mail ‘journalist’ Katie Hopkins.

However, on Saturday just days before the event was due to start it was cancelled. It seems that Yiannopoulos could have spent a little less time publicizing the event and a touch more organizing it. Even basics like the booking of venues was overlooked and on Friday the events cohost, the Berkeley Patriot, pulled its support.

Accusations have begun to fly and in a leaked email one of the scheduled speakers, Lucian Wintrich, told UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof “It was known that they didn’t intend to actually go through with it last week, and completely decided on Wednesday.” When asked if the event was a “set-up from the get-go”, Wintrich replied, “Yes”.

Whether the event was genuinely a set-up or simply collapsed because of bad planning is not clear but whatever the case Yiannopoulos’ reputation has taken another significant blow.

Follow @hopenothate_USA on Twitter for the latest on #FreeSpeechWeek and other alt-right and alt-light activities.


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