Far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, whose campus visits often draw protests, plans a return visit to UC Irvine in October.
UCIs College Republicans announced on Friday they will be hosting the controversial speaker after he was dropped a day earlier from an upcoming political convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Yiannopoulos was booted from Politicon, which bills itself as “the unconventional political convention,” following a firestorm of protests on social media against his appearance, according to news reports.
Protestors begin to fight outside CSUF Student Union in Fullerton on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. One protestor threw a soda and someone else sprayed pepper spray prior to the speech given by the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Protesters confront each other outside the Cal State Fullerton Student Union in Fullerton on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 when the opposing groups ran into each other after the conclusion of the speech given Milo Yiannopoulos. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
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Milo Yiannopoulos makes a joke about Kevin Spacey while speaking to a crowd of more than 800 students at Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Protesters shouted down Milo Yiannopoulos supporters at UC Irvine in 2016. (Photo by BILL ALKOFER, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Mounted units stand ready in the quad outside the CSUF Student Union in Fullerton on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 as protesters waited for the conclusion of Milo Yiannopouloss speech. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Protesters confront each other outside the CSUF Student Union in Fullerton on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 when the opposing groups ran into each other after the conclusion of the speech given Milo Yiannopoulos. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Joe Young cheers during a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos for than 800 students at Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Police agencies arrive at Cal State Fullerton in advance of a talk by Milo Yiannopoulos. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)
A protest before a Milo Yiannopoulos appearance turned physical last year at UC Irvine. Protestor Stu Millheiser took a swing at a group of students claiming racial injustice on the UC Irvine campus.
More than 50 law enforcement personnel from five agencies were on hand for security at the Milo Yiannopoulos event at UC Irvine in 2016. (Photo by BILL ALKOFER, Orange County Register/SCNG)
“Can I grope you?,” a cub asks speaker Milo Yiannopoulos who responds, “Yes. Later… but only over the fur,” during a pro Trump rally at UCI in 2016. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Milo Yiannopoulos wears a priests collar while addressing addresses a crowd of more than 800 students at Cal State Fullerton Tuesday, October 31, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)
A UCI junior whod only go by “Cody” won the contest for best costume as Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, in green face and orange hair, at a rally at UC Irvine in 2016, where Milo Yiannopoulos let everyone know what he thinks. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, Orange County Register/SCNG)
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“Where Politicon was too intimidated to brave criticism, we will embrace it and show others what we stand for,” said Kimo Gandall, president of UCIs College Republicans. Gandall said Yiannopoulos visit will be sometime around the Oct. 20-21 Politicon dates, but details still have to be finalized.
Yiannopoulos said hes “glad there are some College Republicans brave enough to host the speakers people actually want to hear.”
“UC Irvine is becoming a second home to me, and I cant wait to rain down merry mischief on campus,” he said in a statement via College Republicans. (Yiannopoulos declined via email to be interviewed for this article.)
This would mark Yiannopoulos third visit to UCI in recent years. These visits are welcomed by conservative students who feel their voices are stifled on campus. But they are deemed unacceptable to many others, who believe his talking points put down minorities, women and even gays, although he is a gay man himself.
Controversies have dogged Yiannopoulos. Last year, he came under fire for appearing to condone pedophilia, which he denies condoning.
Recently, some took to social media to berate Politicon for hosting him during its convention. A Politicon spokesperson confirmed in an email Friday that he is no longer participating but did not specify why, saying, “Weve had some lineup changes for various reasons in addition to Milo.”
Through UCIs College Republicans, Yiannopoulos said: “Politicon courted me not for months, but years, asking me to headline its traveling circus…They told the press before me they were dumping me…”
Gandall said his group had been planning a speaker for October and only has to finalize the logistics. After reading that Politicon dropped Yiannopoulos, the UCI group contacted him on Friday and invited him to come to UCI instead, Gandall said.
“We need a speaker who is going to inspire,” Gandall said.
In May 2016, when UCIs Republicans invited him, school officials created a “safe space” for students during his event. His talk that June, dubbed “Social Justice is Cancer,” prompted a mostly peaceful, but loud clash between supporters and opponents. A subsequent visit to UCI on Oct. 30, 2016 to draw support for then-candidate Donald Trump drew a large crowd but no protests.
Earlier this year, a planned talk at UCLA titled “10 things I hate about Mexico” was canceled by that schools College Republicans, which said in a statement that the decision to host him had polarized the organizations leadership.
The former editor of the conservative Breitbart News online site has spoken at colleges across the country.
Last year, on Halloween, a heavy police presence – many in riot gear – greeted a sold-out crowd of 800 attending his talk at Cal State Fullerton. It also drew at least 150 protesters who shouted chants like “fascists go home.” Eight were arrested.