Milo Yiannopoulos, the former tech editor at Breitbart, has made political provocations, often deeply offensive ones, a business model. But his career seemed to come crashing down in recent months when one of his speaking appearances, at the University of California, Berkeley, led to riots. Weeks later, videos emerged of Yiannopoulos seeming to condone pedophilia. (“I do not support pedophilia. Period. It is a vile and disgusting crime, perhaps the very worst,” Yiannopoulos said in a statement on Facebook at the time.)
Yet his allies turned on him. Yiannopoulos was subsequently forced out of Breitbart in disgrace. The American Conservative Union disinvited him from CPAC, and Simon & Schuster canceled a six-figure book deal.
But as the free-speech conflagration he ignited at Berkeley continues to burn, Yiannopoulos is planning a way back in. Days after releasing a video touting his return to the campus, Yiannopoulos told the Hive that he would be launching a new media venture in the coming weeks with what he says is a $12 million investment from backers whose identities he is protecting. (Yiannopoulos showed me a page from the contract with the investors’ names blacked out.) Another person involved with the company, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was similarly secretive: “Milo has the best instincts about these things,” he said.