Breitbart Senior Editor MILO joined Tucker Carlson on Thursday to discuss the violent riot started by “anti-fascists” during his event at UC Berkeley, and the future of free speech on college campuses.
Tucker: Violent riots last night at the University of California at Berkeley, you watched them break out live on this show last evening, the man who made that campus tremble joins us tonight in the studio, his first interview following the outbreak of violence. Good evening and welcome to Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Few people are hated more by the left than MILO Yiannopoulos, the gay, jewish immigrant who has become the face of the red-pilled right. Evidence of that was on full display last night at Berkeley where MILO was scheduled to sleep but was evacuated shortly before the speech for his own safety. Watch what happened.
A video of riots at UC Berkeley plays
That was America last night, Breitbart editor MILO Yiannopoulos joins us for his first interview since we spoke with him by phone last night, thanks for joining us. So here’s the reason I want to talk with you, it’s not to endorse your views, many of which I agree with, some of which I don’t, the point is you tried to express your views and were prevented by a violent mob. So if you were an anarchist or a scientologist or a flat earth activist, it wouldn’t matter, you were not allowed to exercise your first amendment rights and that’s shocking. Give us first a quick recap of what happened last night to you.
MILO: Well I think I agree with you in the first place, I’m not any of the things that these posters characterize me as in an effort to legitimise the violence, but even if I were I don’t think it would matter, as you say. So I went in to do my talk, we go in a couple of hours before to set up our tech and for me to, y’know, put on a costume or something, I had a wonderful outfit planned which is the main reason I’m upset about yesterday. I was going to talk about cultural appropriation in full Native American headdress, I had a full custom headdress with my name embroidered on it I’m so mad that I didn’t get to wear that.
Anyway, we went in like an hour or two beforehand, we were planning it and suddenly there were these explosions outside, there were firecrackers and rocks being hurled at the building, the police were having things hurled at them and I was evacuated up to the fifth floor by the fire escape, it was all very exciting. And suddenly I was being taken out of the building, I was informed that I was being evacuated because there was hundreds of protesters outside, blowing things up, hurling things at the police, the police didn’t seem to me to be doing very much aside from hiding inside the building. The ground floor had been stormed so we had to rush down to the parking lot, find one car and that exit was blocked so we ran to another car, finally got in one and I was bundled in, put in a bulletproof vest and whisked away and that is the price you pay for being a libertarian or conservative on American college campuses.
Tucker: So what so striking is that I have no doubt that the average police officer does not sympathise with a mob like that, I just have no doubt about that, but the truth is they did not come to your defence in any meaningful way, the video proves it, you’re affirming it now, why?
MILO: Well, we don’t know for absolutely sure but one thing I can tell you is that the mayor of Berkeley who was sort of gleefully egging this stuff on, who today had to apologise for the usual leftist name calling of me today-
Tucker: What did he say about you?
MILO: The usual slurs, this ‘white supremacist speaker’, please, anyone who has spent five seconds in my company or two seconds in my bedroom knows I’m not a white supremacist, but these usual slurs that they wheel out in an effort to legitimise violence, you know they call me the worst possible name, it’s like the ‘Punch a Nazi’ thing right? I could imagine a reasonable person being taken along the argument of ‘it’s ok to punch Nazi’s’ but the problem is that the left calls everyone Nazi’s so basically they can punch anyone that isn’t them
Tucker: But wait a minute, isn’t it the Nazis that do the punching? Isn’t that what separates the Nazis from the rest of us, Nazis don’t tolerate dissent but civilized people do?
MILO: You would think so, I mean w hen my book was announced there were people saying they were going to burn it while calling me the fascist, I mean this is the sort of irony the progressive left in America doesn’t seem to appreciate. But the real problem is this name calling because, you know, as grateful as I am to be on the show and I like the attention, the real people that I want to hear from are the guys that run CNN who are legitimising ordinary conservatives being called white supremacists, anti semites, racists, sexists, when they’re not. There’s an inevitable, obvious consequence to this.
Tucker: Well I obviously have an interest in this because I don’t anymore work at that network so I don’t even want to affirm what you just said but I have to because it’s true, now here is a tweet that they sent you, this is from a CNN Twitter feed, “extremist MILO Yiannopoulos, who’s Berkeley event sparked protests, takes on the college establishments and rallies white supremacists,” that’s from the CNN Twitter feed. Is any of that true?
MILO: No! I mean beggars belief, it’s just beggars belief.
Tucker: But the subtext is that you deserve it.
MILO: Yes it is and these people must be held to account, the media has created this environment where it’s okay to say almost anything about someone who is, you know, right of Jane Fonda, if you have slightly conservative or even libertarian points of view, especially if you are persuasive and charismatic and funny like we are, you will get called the most appalling things and it’s a way of legitimising, in some cases as happened last night, violent responses.
Tucker: But what I find so striking about this is that it should not be a left, right debate because all American as their birthright have the right, enshrined in the bill of rights, to say what they think is true period. And yet I checked extensively and so did our staff to find liberal defending you and I found one. Peter Beinart at the Atlantic who is a sincere and principled liberal defended you. The rest did not and some in fact seemed to endorse the violence against you that squelched your speech.
MILO: Well they’re in a bind aren’t they? Because if you come out against it and you condemn it you’re sort of saying there’s something wrong with your own side, you’re saying that ‘something we have done has created an environment in which it’s ok to physically attack the guests’, let’s be completely clear, this is an attempt to paint what happened last night as the destruction of property and as protest, it wasn’t, it was violent rioting in which people were physically assaulted, people were bleeding, people were beaten, all sorts of thing happened to people who just showed up, not all of whom were fans of mine but just who wanted to come and listen to what I had to say and those people were attacked, physically attacked.
This is political violence in response to perfectly mainstream opinion and what CNN and other networks like that want to do is suggest that there’s something otherworldly or sinister or nefarious about me to legitimise the bad behaviour on their own side.
Tucker: But even if there is something otherworldly or sinister or nefarious about you, you still have a right, an absolute right to express your political views, do you not?
MILO: It makes it particularly ridiculous when I don’t say, as even New York Magazine admitted today, anything that is outside the mainstream of any typical Trump voter. I don’t have opinions that millions of Americans don’t share, I just happen to say them in a slightly more provocative and interesting way and on a slightly larger platform.
Tucker: So just to give, I mean I could give you a thousand examples, this is the New York Times headline over the story about what happened last night, this was today, “Berkeley cancels Milo Yiannopoulos speech and Donald Trump tweets outrage” no mention of the fact that you were shut down by a mob and this is the first line, “a speech by the divisive right wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos, etc.”
MILO: They’re trying to insinuate, Bloomberg did the same thing, they said “Milo Yiannopoulos sparks riots”, I was like hang on a second now what are they trying to insinuate.
Tucker: So where’s this heading exactly?
MILO: Well, I feel actually more optimistic about this than probably most conservatives because I’ve been on more college campuses I think than anyone else in America the past 12 months as part of my tour and I have seen in a change in atmosphere, I’ve seen conservatives becoming more emboldened and happier, I have seen also huge numbers of alumni changing their positions on whether they’re going to support their old schools.
I mean Missouri when they sort of pandered to race baiters, they discovered they lost 30, 40 million dollars in alumni donations and enrollment went down so much they had to close two dorms, you know this. This is going to start happening all over America and my view is that the American higher education market, and it is a market, is going to fix this because schools are going to have to pick. Either they go the direction of the University of Chicago and say, ‘yknow what, don’t apply here if you want safe spaces and trigger warnings, this is a place you come to be challenged, this is a place you come to expose yourself to people that you think that you’re going to hate and see if it changes your point of view’ or they’re going to go the direction of University of Missouri and only one type of those institutions is going to be financially viable in the long term.
Tucker: So I’m sure we’re going to get mail saying, ‘Milo’s not a serious person he’s a provocateur’ to which I would say, I could care less he’s got a point of view and he has a right to express it. But I am interested in your response to that criticism because you hear it a lot, that you’re not actually making an argument, that you’re intentionally trying to provoke the kind of response we saw last night.
MILO: Well my response is, so what? Who cares? I’m an entertainer, I’m a performer, my sort of thing is sort of part lecture part stand up, one of the things that authoritarians hate, one of the things dictators hate is the sound of lecture because they can’t control it.
They can’t control what you find funny and it’s part of the reason the left is always trying to dictate what humour is acceptable, oh you can’t tell that joke because it’s sexist, you can’t tell that joke because that’s racist, well they do that because laughter you can’t control and they’re trying to sort of hammer that down, I’m the worst example for them of somebody who is persuasive and interesting and funny, every one of my shows is sold out, every single time I do a talk people say, ‘I never thought of that you converted me’ so that makes me dangerous because my audience is so young, so big, so strong, I’m the person that probably annoys them more than anybody but Donald Trump because I’m effective and that scares them.
Tucker: Who by the way, tweeted about you I think at three in the morning
MILO: That’s true, that’s true, Daddy has got my back
Tucker: -to say, this is appalling and to threaten pulling federal funding from the University of California system to which the lieutenant governor of California did not attack Gavin Newsom, did not attack the mob that set vehicles on fire and tried to injure you and did injure a bunch of other people, bu attack Trump for threatening the funding.
MILO: Well, you know, there seems to be a fairly obvious consequence, if you don’t uphold your legal responsibility to enforce the first amendment and to provide speakers with platforms and audiences with the safe ability to go and listen to speakers of all different kinds, agnostic of ideology as you were saying earlier, if you don’t do that as a university you’re not performing your essential function, Berkley gets 370 million dollars a year, it is one of the biggest research universities, it is one of the highest ranked universities, but its churning out graduates who don’t do very much because only 47% of those graduates go on to full time employment when they leave, seems to me that a lot of that federal money could be repurposed very effectively if Berkeley refuses to honour their first amendment commitments.
Tucker: I wanna get to your book, you’re travelling the country because you’re selling a book
MILO: Well I just started, I think I’m about to switch into the book tour so Berkeley was supposed to be the grand finale, my wonderful costume finale, was supposed to be the grand finale, I am now focused on the book of course which has rocketed to number one on the Amazon best seller when it was announced.
Tucker: So it’s a Simon and Schuster book and they took a lot of criticism for giving you an advance on the book and for publishing it in the first place and a part of their response as to pledge that the book would not contain what is called hate speech. What is hate speech?
MILO: I don’t know! I’m probably going to get in terrible with them, but I have no idea and I don’t think anybody else knows either, I mean it seems to be speech that somebody doesn’t like somewhere, a joke that’s wrong, something that offends somebody’s sensibilities or hurt feelings or politics or something, certainly the Supreme Court doesn’t recognise it as a kind of speech that should be treated with any special reverence or whatever.
Hate speech, it seems to me, has been defined by the political left as ‘anything we don’t like’, anything that violates social justice doctrine, feminism, black lives matter kind of ideology, it’s not something that I have ever heard particularly effectively defined.
Tucker: I’ve literally no idea what it is but because your publisher Simon and Schuster has pledged to keep it out of your books, can an editor say to you here’s what we define as hate speech and here’s what we’re gonna be striking from your manuscript
MILO: I’m gonna get in so much trouble! I don’t know what they mean by that, look all I can tell you is that this book is going to be a lot more serious than people probably anticipate from me, I have my college tour to lob bombs, to be outrageous, to whatever, this book is actually pretty meaty, pretty substantial, it demonstrates a lot of reading, a lot of consideration of the issue, this book is already going to be one of the big books of 2017, it’s going to be a big sort of signature cultural moment for a particular millennial generation that suddenly woke up and decided that being Republican was cool and was the libertarian, punk, alternative choice.
Im one of the people they look up to as a sort of cultural figure, this book actually is much more serious than people could imagine, so if you’re a feminist or a black lives matter activist who is looking to be offended by this book, you might be disappointed and if you’re someone just going in thinking this is going to be a load of jokes about his black boyfriend and name calling and fat jokes, you might also be disappointed. This is a pretty substantial book, it’s a book that sets out where I believe America went wrong in terms of respecting the first amendment, the stay of free speech on american college campuses and in the media and in academia and everywhere else in America.
Tucker: So we talked about this last night briefly but you’re obviously an immigrant to this country from the UK
MILO: Well I’m on a visa technically…
Tucker: Presumably you came here with the assumption that this was a place that you could express your beliefs even if not everyone agreed with them, how has it lived up to the billing.
MILO: Horrifying, honestly I don’t mean to be theatrical, I’m prone to melodrama but it was horrifying. To come here to the land of the free, the home of the brave, blah blah blah, and for me to do a college tour and be a journalist here, imagine the fourth estate in America, you could say, do, be anything, right? That’s what you would think coming from Europe where we don’t really have free speech protections, I mean if it exists there are rules about it, if it exists it is regulated in Europe and in Europe you can get arrested for being a misogynist or for being offensive, these are actual offenses, these are things the police can come and take you away for in Europe and Americans don’t really understand how bad it is in Europe.
In America I always imagined that this was a country where you could be, do and say anything. What I’ve discovered, not just in journalism but also in the entertainment industry, and particularly and most importantly in academia which is where I try and park my tanks on the lawn and really the try to take the fight to the left which is why they hate me so much, because conservatives are so spineless all the time. I take the fight to them and on American college campuses I have experienced restrictions on the freedom of speech, groupthink and penalties, social and institutional and financial penalties for free expression like nothing I ever experienced before.
Tucker: We have guardians of the first amendment, official ones, the ACLU is the leading one historically, we tried to get Anthony Romero the head of it on tonight to talk about this, he refused to come on with us, by the way we tried to get the human rights campaign to come on and talk about this but has anybody from the ACLU or Pan America or any people who claim to represent the first amendment, called you to say ‘we’re gonna help’?
MILO: No of course not, of course not because these organisations have almost given themselves over to this particular view of free speech which is hugely restrictive and which cuts out mainstream, ordinary, conservative opinion. There’s a reason there’s a sort of parallel conservative media in this country, there’s a reason why there’s this extraordinary bifurcation between liberals and conservatives in this country, it is because the establishment, the media, academic and entertainment establishments have made certain sorts of political opinion, respectable, reasonable, mainstream opinion, impossible to express in public.
Tucker: The definition of corruption unfortunately and we’re all gonna pay for it, MILO thank’s a lot.