The alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos is in trouble. Thanks to an Australian lawsuit, his finances were made public for the first time this week, and folks... they’re not good. The one-time Breitbart writer owes at least $2 million in debt to various lawyers and funders, including $400,000 to right-wing billionaires the Mercers, The Guardian reports (in a snarky Instagram post, Yiannopoulos claimed it is actually $4 million). In order to pay off this debt, like any good Extremely Online millennial, he turned to Patreon.
This experiment in crowdfunding—titled “Milo is creating his marvelous 2019 comeback”—didn’t last long. The comeback lasted ... less than 24 hours: within a day, Yiannopoulos’ page was pulled from the website, according to The Verge (you can view an archived version here).
Patreon tweeted that the profile was suspended because the website doesn’t “allow association with or supporting hate groups.” While Yiannopoulos never openly called himself a white supremacist, leaked emails published last year linked him with white nationalists, as did a video in which he sang karaoke at a party with neo-Nazi Richard Spencer while the crowd gave Nazi salutes. He also previously associated with the Proud Boys, who are designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
Yiannopoulos also posted an email from Patreon discussing his ban on Instagram.
On Yiannopoulos’ short-lived Patreon page, he whined about the “censorship” he’s experienced at the hands of platforms like Twitter, who banned him after he encouraged harassment against Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones. A bigger blow to his career came in 2017, when audio emerged from a podcast where he seemed to endorse teenage boys sleeping with older men, causing many in the conservative movement abandon him, along with his resignation from Breitbart, and the cancellation of his book deal by Simon & Schuster.
“I’ve had a miserable year or two, banned and de-platformed and censored and blacklisted,” Yiannopoulos wrote on Patreon. He asked for help to fund a new TV show and to “pay essential staff and service providers.”
“I’ll still be soliciting investment and donations from wealthy private supporters,” Yiannopoulos wrote on his Patreon. “But I need you to help me get back to work.”
While it was up, the profile promised some pretty sick rewards.
From The Verge:
In return, patrons would get rewards like “free Milo ringtones,” a signed poster of Yiannopoulos, and an “elite-tier Milo coffee mug.” Backers who pledged at least $500 per month got more personal perks like “Milo will call you on your birthday,” and for $750 per month, “Milo will fly to you and take you and a friend out for dinner once a year.”
Sadly, it seems we’ll never know what those ringtones would have sounded like, or what an “elite-tier” coffee mug is.
In conclusion: deplatforming works.