UC Berkeley is already going to have its hands full this week if Ann Coulter makes good on her threat to show up on April 27 regardless of the university's attempt to move the event to a quieter time slot. And now, just when the left thought they might be rid of him, alt-right rabble-rouser Milo Yiannopoulos has announced a "grand comeback tour" on Facebook which is also the only major social media platform that has not permanently banned him. Part of that tour he says will be a "a huge multi-day event called MILO'S FREE SPEECH WEEK in Berkeley later this year." Yiannopoulos does not say if he's been invited to host this event, but it seems clear enough that he is capitalizing on the national attention being given to Coulter's planned speech to pull the spotlight back to himself.
A planned February 1 event featuring Yiannopoulos one in which it was rumored he planned to "doxx" several undocumented students resulted in some destructive and at times violent protests on campus and in the city of Berkeley, and a last-minute cancelation of the event for safety reasons. Since then the city has seen two weekend rallies by alt-right groups apparently seeking to "poke the bear" and engage in street battles with progressives, anarchists, and others, both of which resulted in injuries, vandalism, and dozens of arrests.
The cancellation and then postponement of Coulter's planned appearance were the result of law enforcement's and the university's nervousness about more violence, but have been framed by many including Bernie Sanders as suppression of free speech.
In the latest Facebook post, which comes with a photo of a burning temporary light post with graffiti on it showing his name with a line through it, Yiannopoulos continues to beat the drum for free speech, claiming "I will bring activists, writers, artists, politicians, YouTubers, veterans and drag queens from across the ideological spectrum to lecture, march, and party."
He does make things sound a bit more contentious, however, when he says, "Each day will be dedicated to a different enemy of free speech, including feminism, Black Lives Matter and Islam." And he adds, "We will stand united against the 'progressive' Left. We will loudly reject the venomous hectoring and moral hypocrisy of social justice warriors. Free speech belongs to everyone -- not just the spoilt brats of the academy."
Further, he says he'll be announcing details of a Cinco de Milo event on May 5, location TBA.
Milo got his wish and his announcement of this unconfirmed event has been picked up in the local media (and I'm writing about it here), though it is far from a foregone conclusion as is Coulter's appearance, despite a threatening letter from a lawyer last week.
Yiannopoulos already went on a speaking tour late last year and into the early part of this year, mostly speaking on college campus and providing his own brand of provocative, anti-PC conservatism. A similar planned event at UC Davis just two weeks before the UC Berkeley speech also had to be called off at the last minute amid angry protest by students that were threatening the safety of attendees and Milo alike and resulted in featured guest Martin Shkreli getting pelted with feces.
Yiannopoulos also seems to be hoping that the public, and his fans on the alt-right, are going to forget about the highly controversial statements he made that surfaced in February in which he endorsed sexual relationships between men and boys as young as 13. Those statements cost him his job at Breitbart, a book deal, and some other lucrative speaking engagements. Because: free speech?