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Show me the money: detailing Milo’s debt

Right Response Team - 04 12 18

On Sunday, HOPE not hate revealed that the British far-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos, once the face of the international Alternative Right, is buried in debt.


Leaked documents seen by HOPE not hate indicate that among Yiannopoulos’ various debts is a staggering sum of $1,600,000 owed to MILO Inc, his own short-lived business venture.

Yiannopoulos released a statement yesterday in which he refuted some details about his finances, but admitted that he is “pretty broke, relatively speaking”, blaming his woes on:

“Two years of being no-platformed, banned, blacklisted and censored.”

However many of the debts outlined in the documents relate to his lavish lifestyle and wildly frivolous spending.

In this article we take a further look at Yiannopoulos’ various debts, bad relationships and other embarrassments revealed in the documents, and also the staggering amounts of money made available to modern far-right ventures.

Milo Yiannopoulos / credit: Channel 4

The Mercer Family

A July 2018 email from Alexander Macris, the CEO of Yiannopoulos’ short-lived “talent factory and management company” MILO Inc, states that Yiannopoulos owes vast sums to the Mercer family, who are identified as Board members of the company.

Robert Mercer is an American billionaire and Trump backer who has funded both Breitbart News Network, the far-right website through which Yiannopoulos made his name, and MILO Inc, which was launched by Yiannopoulos in May 2017 after he was forced to leave Breitbart.

Mercer disavowed Yiannopoulos in November 2017 after links to white nationalist figures were exposed by BuzzFeed News. He said at the time:

“But, in my opinion, actions of and statements by Mr. Yiannopoulos have caused pain and divisiveness undermining the open and productive discourse that I had hoped to facilitate. I was mistaken to have supported him, and for several weeks have been in the process of severing all ties with him.”

Macris’ July email states that Yiannopoulos has a “personal debt” of $400,000 to the Mercer family. The email also states that MILO Inc has millions of dollars of liabilities to the Mercers, Yiannopoulos with $4,200,000, and Macris with $1,800,000. Macris states:

“Note that we are not personally liable for the debt but we are legally obliged to use best efforts to pay it off. And we cannot work in competitive businesses in US or Europe until this debt is paid off or they release us from non-compete. They have indicated they are willing to do so verbally.”

While the Mercer family’s former financial support of MILO Inc has long been common knowledge, that Macris identifies them as members of the Board suggests that their involvement in the failed enterprise went further, with a degree of direct control.

In one of his leaked messages, Yiannopoulos states that “I am seriously considering a move to Australia in the next year or two”. While he claims that he is interested in such a move due to the “political environment” in the US, the non-compete clause referenced by Macris suggests another possible motive for leaving the US and Europe for potentially sunnier shores down under.  

Fractures

Yiannopoulos, however, does not seem to be making many friends in Australia. The bulk of the documents seen by HOPE not hate relate to his ongoing dispute with the erstwhile organisers of his announced Australian tour, Dan Spiller and Ben Spiller, which was due to take place in November. The documents reveal months of increasingly bitter squabbling between the parties.

In late November, Yiannopoulos was announced as part of “The Deplorables Tour” of Australia, now slated for February 2019, alongside far-right figures Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) and Gavin McInnes (recently denied an Australian visa), organised by Penthouse Australia.

This is despite our revelations yesterday that he had referred to McInnes as “small fry” in private correspondence, and indications of a difficult relationship with Lennon.

Yiannopoulos is quoted in promotional material for the upcoming Penthouse tour as saying:

“I’m delighted to be rejoining Penthouse for another tour in Australia in 2019, after my sellout runaway success with them last time. I’d like to thank Penthouse for honoring the tickets sold under my previous promoter, who unfortunately could not meet their financial or logistical obligations. I’m delighted my fans will not lose out and can’t wait to be back in Australia.”

It is therefore interesting to find that in leaked private WhatsApp messages, Yiannopoulos brands Damien Costas, publisher of Penthouse Australia, as “a criminal-adjacent, dishonest pornographer”. Elsewhere in an email he states:

“I was defrauded by Damien Costas. Neither he nor anyone else that works for him will have anything to do with running any tour of which I am a part. This is not negotiable”.

Evidently he has thought twice about his position, although it is unclear if he still stands by his words about Costas.

Yiannopoulos has recently been listed as part of the rescheduled “Deplorables Tour” of Australia, set for February 2019

Embarrassment

An October 2018 email sent by Yiannopoulos, outlining his various debts, indicates that he also owes in excess of $33,000 to the American anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller. The large majority of Yiannopoulos’ debts to Geller are marked as “Royalty”, possibly relating to Geller’s book Fatwa: Hunted in America, published by Yiannopoulos’ Dangerous Books in 2017.

The document also states that Yiannopoulos owes Geller a sum for the writing of his own book Dangerous, released in July 2017, alongside thirteen other individuals, including the vile alt-right figure Theodore Beale (AKA Vox Day), who has quoted the infamous nazi slogan the fourteen words.

The leaked documents reveals the desperation that underlies Yiannopoulos’ attempts to minimise the seriousness of his massive debts. In the October email he writes “this is just to give you a sense of the scale, which isn’t catastrophic. Not worth bankruptcy, certainly. Spoke to lawyer and he says he can keep all this out of my hair until January 2019 with USD 40k if we act now”.

In a statement, Yiannopoulos denied that he had pawned his wedding ring, stating that he would “sell a kidney before returning my wedding band”, despite the fact he laments in a leaked email to Dan Spiller that “this weekend I returned my wedding ring to Cartier, to wipe out the outstanding debt to them”. Whether Yiannopoulos is lying to Spiller, or to his supporters, is unclear.

Other outstanding charges listed by Yiannopoulos include “UK Mortgages”, with the stated solution being “force ex to sell”. Under the “Milo to do” column is written “skype to ex, say you just dont [sic] want it and you wont [sic] pay it anymore”.

Yiannopoulos has endured a disastrous two years, lurching from crisis to crisis, losing face, friends and funds along the way. His attempts to mount a comeback and launch new ventures have been mired in difficulties or collapsed altogether. It is hard to see him ever fully recovering from his current decline.

Read HOPE not hate’s report on the Alternative Right movement

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