Milo's 'Free Speech Week' Will Be A Garbage Fire, But Not The Garbage Fire He Dreamed Of
Milo Yiannopoulis had a dream. It was a stupid dream, but a dream nonetheless. He was going to host a big, fabulous "Free Speech" week at UC Berkeley, filled with some of the most prominent voices in Right Wing Nut Jobbery in the nation. Holding the event at UC Berkeley, a school well known for its liberal student body, was purposeful. Not only because of recent controversies involving right-wing speakers at the school, but also, Milo claimed, because Berkeley was the center of the "free speech movement" of the '60s, and thus "the free speech movement is being reborn at Berkeley, next month, by us."
Their thirst to be considered "countercultural" knows no bounds.
Ann Coulter was gonna be there, Steve "Two Shirts" Bannon, Charles "Scientific Racism" Murray, Heather "Random Racist Lady Who Looks Like The Mom From 'That '70s Show" MacDonald, Sexist Google Memo Guy and so many others were supposed to join him! At least according to the speaking schedules put out by Milo and the right-wing campus website/club, the "Berkeley Patriot." Which, by the way, only came into existence in July and has a total of five blog posts. It looks as though it was created specifically for the purpose of putting this event on with Milo.
UC Berkeley, for its part, was prepared to spend over one million dollars on security for the event.
The first day was supposed to be all about how feminism is bad (especially for women!) and the next day about how Islam is bad, and so on and so on. Because, as we all know, no one has ever really been exposed to such viewpoints. Least of all me, a woman who feminists on the internet professionally!
But there was a problem. Namely that most of the speakers scheduled to speak had no idea they were supposed to be speaking at this event, and the "Berkeley Patriot" never got around to filing all the paperwork they were supposed to do in order to have a week-long festival on campus. WHOOPS!
Of course, Milo has spent the better part of this week trying to make it look like the FREEZE PEACH POLICE at UC Berkeley were purposely trying to censor his event by making the Berkeley Patriot people fill out paperwork and adhere to deadlines to begin with! Unfair! Why can't they just, like, let them have the stuff they want, without them having to tell them what stuff it is that they want? Filing forms is TYRANNY!
Yiannopoulos also released a statement on Monday — which many took as laying the groundwork for the event’s cancellation — in which he accused UC-Berkeley of attempting to shut down the week and slammed attempts “to use bureaucratic maneuvers and strategic media leaks to disrupt the event and dissuade headline speakers from attending.”
“That’s absolutely absurd,” Mogulof told Mediaite of accusations they are attempting to shut down the event. “We’re in the process of taking steps that will cost the University hundreds of thousands of dollars in security, and will likely end up being far in excess of a million dollars.”
“So to any suggestion that we are trying to stop the event from happening I would say: actions speak louder than words.”
Clearly, Milo was hoping for a narrative he didn't get. It's looking more and more as if he, and the Berkeley Patriot people, purposely didn't file their paperwork on time and didn't bother even contacting the speakers, in hopes of being able to do a whole "Look at how much Berkeley hates us and our free speech!" schtick. It was, as Amanda Marcotte wrote in Salon earlier this week, a massive troll.
Now, word on the street is that Milo is going to officially cancel the event during a press conference on Saturday. That made a lot of the people who had been planning on attending the festival very upset. Lucien Wintrich, who works for Stupidest Man On The Internet Jim Hoft over at Gateway Pundit is, in particular, very upset about people having spent money for plane tickets and hotels for an event that was probably never going to happen in the first place. Not that we blame him!
Wintrich is also very (rightfully) worried that if the school spends a ton of money on a conservative event that does not actually happen, Berkeley will be less inclined to host future events. Which would just be adorable.
It's kind of amazing, frankly, that things turned out this way. That even those closest to Milo are realizing that he's not so much being "censored," as he is very, very bad at organizing shit.
But Milo should look on the bright side -- because at least one person still wants to be his friend. Noted anti-Semite Baked Alaska recently recorded a video earlier this week begging Milo to be his friend again.
Maybe they can get together and have their free speech festival at a Denny's or something!
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse