In a large lecture hall on the CU Boulder campus, alt-right icon Milo Yiannopoulos spoke to members of the CU community. His talk, titled “Why Ugly People Hate Me,” focused partly on the idea that conservatives are attractive while liberals are ugly, and why that might be.
He spoke about his own beauty throughout the talk, but also pointed to research to support his claim about why liberals are ugly. Specifically, he highlighted a UCLA study that says that female politicians with more stereotypical feminine features are more likely to align with the Republican party. This trend holds when looking at the politician’s voting record, as female politicians with more conservative records show more of these features, the study says.
The writer and editor for conservative outlet Breitbart News also said liberals have an inherently ugly core, and that this core can be seen in one’s physical appearance. Yiannopoulos also said ugly people tend to be drawn toward liberal views.
Yiannopoulos, who has had speaking events canceled by multiple universities for security concerns and for creating a hostile campus environment, continued that body positivity messages — which he referred to as “fat acceptance” — are a culprit in high obesity rates. He said images on magazines are beauty standards to strive for; the covers are designed to give people not only someone to look at, but to be like, he said.
The left started a war on popular culture, said Yiannopoulos, who was brought to campus by the CU Boulder College Republicans and the campus chapter of conservative group Turning Point USA. He said that war paved the way for the body positivity movement. He ended that part of speech by saying, “Make America beautiful again.”
Yiannopoulos continued about his perception of the difference between liberal and conservative ideologies. He said that when people want to improve an aspect of their lives, conservatives find a way to fix the problems themselves, while liberals would export the blame to an exterior source like the state.
Throughout the event, Yiannopoulos posited that liberals have no joy and want to share their unhappiness with others. Dragging down people to their level is their only joy in life, he said.
Recurring topics from some of Yiannopoulos’ previous speeches also crept into the talk. He repeatedly called feminism a cancer, criticized so-called “social justice warriors” and offered anti-Muslim rhetoric, calling Islam a “lifestyle choice” and saying liberals want to implement “Sharia law.” Often inflammatory, he was banned from Twitter in July for inciting remarks about black actor Leslie Jones.
The talk did, however, avoid an outlying controversial moment. In previous talks, Yiannopoulos had shown photos of a professor and a transgender student and degraded and mocked them to the audience; he did not repeat that pattern at CU.
Due to such incidents and several remarks he made in the past, Yiannopoulos had sparked debate on the Boulder campus about whether CU should host him. Protesters showed up outside the event, both to oppose and to defend. The two groups got in multiple confrontations, including a small fist-fight.
Inside the talk, Yiannopoulos projected an anonymous email sent to some students that threatened to release “the identities of attendees to the public” on a list of “known Neo-Nazi sympathizers,” referring to those who bought tickets as fascists. Attendees held up signs that said “Socialism sucks” along with other pro-free-market messages.
Part of the controversy surrounding Yiannopoulos’ is his work for Breitbart News, whose chairman once called it a “platform for the alt-right.” Yiannopoulos has been branded as part of the alt-right movement, but he refutes ever being a part of that movement in any way.
“Never been a member of the alt-right,” he said during the talk. The alt-right has been described as a mix of racism, white nationalism and populism, according to the Associated Press. Yiannopoulos’ comments appear to clash with a Breitbart article he contributed to which defined and defended the alt-right.
Nevertheless, there were moments in his talk that would have likely caused outrage if seen by a larger audience. At one point, Yiannopoulos, who is gay, said, “never trust lesbians,” which elicited applause from the crowd.
He also discussed Native Americans and the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline — construction on which may resume after a move by President Donald Trump on Tuesday — showing an edited version of the iconic Iron Eyes Cody photo, with a hand added in an “L” formation and text that read “Better luck next time nerds.”
After the main portion of his talk, the crowd participated in a small question-and-answer session. The first question was about the recently passed soda tax in Boulder. Considering Yiannopoulos’ railing against obesity, his response was somewhat surprising. He was astounded and said that he didn’t agree with taxes on the small luxuries that people can afford like soda and cigarettes.
The audience also asked what advice he’d give to young conservatives who they say are shamed for their political views. Yiannopoulos replied, “I know you’re scared, but grow a backbone.” He went on to say that the people shaming young conservatives are bullies and will crumble when approached with a factual discussion.
To round out the night, Yiannopoulos doubled down on the war on culture. He said that the current generation will be pivotal in the pushback to the liberal hold on social platforms. He said being at this event and voting for a figure like President Trump was the first step toward this pushback, and that those who did so need to keep being active.
Contact CU Independent Managing Editor Jake Mauff at firstname.lastname@example.org.