Steve Bannon Half-Heartedly Disowns Milo Yiannopoulos (Vanity Fair)

Steve Bannon Half-Heartedly Disowns Milo Yiannopoulos

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Left, by Scott Olson/Getty Images; Right, by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

When Steve Bannon declared Breitbart News “the platform for the alt-right” in 2016, he forever yoked the Web site—and, by extension, himself—to white nationalists, white supremacists, racists, and neo-Nazis. Ever since, try as he might, Bannon—who is in the midst of a transformation from White House adviser to would-be populist kingmaker—has been dogged by a pesky Nazi problem that threatens to hamper his move into the (relative) mainstream. Though Bannon has declared that he is not a racist and has said that he disavows bigotry and hate, few outsiders have bought his contrition so far. And a recent BuzzFeed report showing that right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos had worked closely with white nationalists in writing the 2016 Breitbart essay defining the term “alt-right” has done little to help purge the image.

Still, Bannon remains ardent about voicing discontent with his former protégé. A new BuzzFeed report indicates that in the wake of the first article, which included a video of Yiannopoulos singing “America the Beautiful” while several neo-Nazis performed sieg heil gestures in the background, Bannon told at least a half dozen associates that he would never work with the former Breitbart tech editor again. He allegedly told another that Yiannopoulos is “dead to me.” If the reports are true, they would constitute a significant break in their relationship: though Yiannopoulos left Breitbart in February after revelations that he had made comments appearing to condone pedophilia, the two met shortly after Bannon left the Trump administration, and Bannon had initially agreed to be on the lineup of Yiannopoulos’s aborted Free Speech Week. (His name disappeared from the lineup when the event began publicly and spectacularly collapsing.)

While Bannon himself did not comment on the story, a break from Yiannopoulos may indicate that the provocateur’s shock-jock reputation has turned toxic—and could even prove a liability in Bannon’s attempt to take his brand of populist-nationalism mainstream in the 2018 midterm elections. His thoughts, however, may not echo those of their shared patrons, the Mercers. Bob Mercer, a hedge-fund billionaire, and his daughter, Rebekah, both of whom own shares of Breitbart News, continue to fund Yiannopoulos’s new media venture, Milo Inc. As a source close to the Mercers recently told me, the family “invested in Milo knowing that he would generate negative press, knowing that he’s someone with a past, someone with controversial habits. No revelation is going to take that away.” Despite what sources told me about Yiannopoulos’s alleged financial mismanagement of Milo Inc., the Mercers outwardly remain as committed as ever. “We are executing on our business model and looking forward to continued success,” said Alex Macris, the company’s C.E.O. He may profess to disdain Yiannopoulos, but so far Bannon has not offered any public criticism of the investment team that links them.

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via Vanity Fair http://bit.ly/2xvuIXg

October 23, 2017 at 03:32PM