A planned meetup of Breitbart readers & writers at The Chapel, an event space and restaurant in San Francisco, was cancelled after the venue owner objected to the presence of Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos at the event.
Chapel owner Jack Knowles told The San Francisco Chronicle that “Milo was really the biggest problem,” although he also told the paper that he had concerns about the venue’s capacity.
Yiannopoulos said that Knowles was right to be concerned that the venue didn’t have the capacity to accommodate his audience. “They’re probably right about that,” admits Yiannopoulos. “I generally don’t speak to audiences of less than 500.”
Knowles said he was concerned that people would arrive to protest against the Breitbart Tech editor, and that comments from Breitbart readers on Meetup.com bothered him. “We were watching all the comments about coming into the belly of the beast,” Knowlese told the Chronicle. “I’m not about a culture of hate.”
“I’m in favor of free speech,” he said, “but this is not about free speech.”
Knowles accused Breitbart of pursuing the booking in a “sneaky” manner, although the Chronicle did not report any specific allegations. In response, Breitbart editor-at-large Joel Pollak released emails from Andrew Greider, Breitbart’s director of community events, which show that the nature of the event and the website were clearly specified to Knowles.
“This is NOT a political rally — the meet-up is a gathering of our readers to meet in a social setting and discuss issues that are important to them and hear from one of our experts,” Greider wrote in an email Feb. 24. “I just bring this up because I want to make sure that we are respectful of your venue and not disruptive to any other guests you might have.”
Greider also specifically told Knowles that Breitbart is a “conservative news and opinion site.”
Perhaps Knowles wasn’t initially aware that being conservative is enough to generate protests in San Francisco.
“If San Francisco is this triggered by a gay tech editor with the wrong opinions,” said Yiannopoulos, “clearly Breitbart has work to do. So we’re rescheduling the event for later in the year and turning it into a much bigger meetup with speakers even more notoriously offensive than me.”
Asked who that could mean, Yiannopoulos paused and then declined to comment.