US commentator Milo Yiannopoulos arrives during the function “A conversation with Milo Yiannopoulos” hosted by Senator David Leyonhjelm at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 5 December 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen”There’s so many famous people here!” publicist Max Markson exclaimed.
In the cloistered surrounds of the private dining rooms of Parliament House, a modest crowd gathered on Tuesday morning to hear alt-right poster child Milo Yiannopoulos??? speak with Liberal Democrat, David Leyonhjelm.
Apart from Markson himself, arguably the most famous people in the room were One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, former One Nation senator (turned independent) Fraser Anning and National Party enfant terrible, George Christensen.
But a little overstatement was understandable, given the excitement around him. A beaming Yiannopoulos had only just bowled into the room, wearing sunglasses and a loud floral jacket (that he later boasted to be Gucci), somehow bearing a striking resemblance to teen party host Corey Worthington. He kept both jacket and sunnies on for the duration of the event.
The British born, Florida-based 33-year-old told the room he was in Australia on serious business.
“I came to Australia as a sort of warning from America,” he said, adding Australians need to reject identity politics and political correctness.
“I think that the left are bullies and they fold fast when challenged,” he said.
His other observations included feminism “has run out of things to complain about”, that Mein Kampf and the Koran share some similarities and comedians aren’t as funny as they used to be.
Yiannopoulos is in Australia for “The Troll Academy” speaking tour, brought to you by Penthouse magazine. So far, he has appeared “in conversation” with Andrew Bolt, Ross Cameron and Mark Latham in capital cities around the country.
The journalist and political commentator has made a career out of controversy. He has previously compared feminism to “cancer”, likened Islam to AIDS and excused paedophilia. He has been banned from Twitter, lost a book deal with Simon & Schuster and was forced to resign from a senior job at the Breitbart news website. His previous speaking appearances have also sparked violence – including in Melbourne on Monday night.
But given his passion for free speech and his declarations that he does not get offended, it was fascinating how defensive Yiannopoulos became when questioned by members of the media.
When a (male) Fairfax Media colleague asked if Yiannopoulos “genuinely believe[d] all the things that you claim to, or are you essentially now living out a caricature?”, Yiannopoulos interrupted the question, referred to the journalist as a “lady” and noted as an aside: “We’ll laugh at you because you’re ridiculous.”
When a journalist from Channel 10 asked the speaker about his future predictions, Yiannopoulos interrupted to ask why he had been denied interviews elsewhere on the channel.
This journalist asked how Yiannopoulos could reconcile his views that women had nothing to complain about with the high rates of domestic violence. The guest speaker responded, “men are just as bad victims of domestic violence” and it was not a “gendered problem”.
When it was pointed out Australian statistics do not show this, he dismissed the comment with a testy “you’ve asked your question”.
Free speech might be Yiannopoulos’ battle cry, and might get you the Gucci jackets. But for him it only flows one way.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.