Politicon Drops Milo Yiannopoulos From Speaker Lineup After Outcry They Absolutely Should Have Seen Coming
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?
Amazed (but by no means surprised) that @Politicon has the audacity to promote their garbage event featuring open white supremacists like Tucker Carlson, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and Charlie Kirk WITH AN IMAGE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR pic.twitter.com/DdkHDwt0l2
— Yes, You’re Racist (@YesYoureRacist) August 23, 2018
The backlash was immediate and included guests announcing or considering the cancellation of their appearances.
I did not know the line-up when I confirmed, but knowing what I know now, I won’t be appearing at Politicon.
Someone invite me to do something else that wknd. Xo, Cam
— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito) August 23, 2018
Just saw this last night without warning that Milo — slipping in with the new mononym — and company would be @Politicon . Refraining from travel plans so I can brood on this & open to ideas and whether/not to go https://t.co/n7uQEap2J9
— Virginia Heffernan (@page88) August 23, 2018
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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