Milo Yiannopoulos, politicon, canceled

Politicon Drops Milo Yiannopoulos From Speaker Lineup After Outcry They Absolutely Should Have Seen Coming

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Politicon is an annual “Unconventional Political Convention” that’s been called the “Coachella of politics.” The multi-day convention features discussions and interviews with bipartisan media personalities, including journalists, politically minded comedians, and more.

The convention has always had speakers from the fringe and far right, but they also have plenty of super-progressive voices. They’ve had Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck speak, but also Larry Willmore and the Pod Save America guys—not that those balance each other out. I don’t think the left has any media figures that can balance out Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter, but I suppose Politicon’s organizers are at least trying.

Last year, Chelsea Handler interviewed Tomi Lahren. It was weird.

This year’s lineup was released yesterday, and it was immediately clear that it wasn’t nearly as balanced as in previous years.

There are a handful of Democrats (like John Kerry and Ted Lieu) and liberal voices (like Virginia Heffernan and Cameron Esposito), but not only is the list of guests heavily skewed to the far right, but one name in particular jumped out: Milo.

Yes, apparently Milo Yiannopoulos is just going by “Milo” now, the better to match his Teen Bop headshot. And for whatever reason, the organizers of Politicon thought it would be a fine idea to give this misogynistic, transphobic, white nationalist troll a platform. Don’t worry, though; the images of MLK and JFK on their site totally balance out the white nationalists, right?

The backlash was immediate and included guests announcing or considering the cancellation of their appearances.

Milo’s name seemed to have been removed from the lineup within a day. The graphic with the full list of names is also no longer up on the convention’s website. A Politicon spokesperson confirmed with the Daily Beast, saying, “He is no longer booked for Politicon.” However, they seem to be trying to play that off as a normal thing. “We’ve had a couple of changes and with two months to go to the convention, more names will be added and dropped,” they said. “Anthony Scaramucci is also not attending due to a scheduling conflict.”

Incredibly, no one from the convention bothered to tell Milo himself that he’d been removed from the lineup. After the Daily Beast published their story, he told the outlet, “This was news to us when your story came out. They just got around to telling my booking agent. Oh well!”

Oh well, indeed. I’m glad to see Milo get dunked on so hard, having to learn from The Daily Beast that he’d lost a speaking engagement that he had been touting as his “[return] to the front lines of culture war.” Still, it needs to be asked why Politicon thought this was acceptable in the first place? Bipartisan politics does not need to include trolls who have built a career on hate speech. That doesn’t have to be a part of the conversation. Refusing to invite white nationalists to the party is not censorship. Those in control of a major platform like Politicon have an opportunity and, arguably, a responsibility to be better than this choice.

(image: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.