Gay conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos visited UCF Tuesday as part of his “Dangerous Faggot” college tour to discuss 13 things he hates about Islam and why the religion cannot coexist with Western civilization.
Yiannopoulos, a 31-year-old senior editor at conservative news site Breitbart, is known for being controversial. His motto “Feminism is Cancer” is often seen on the shirts of his fans. He was also banned from Twitter multiple times before finally being permanently banned in July for an altercation with actress Leslie Jones.
“Let’s just thank God, thank one another that we’re not in a war-torn Muslim country, like Syria or France,” Yiannopoulos said at the beginning of his speech.
Some of the 13 things he said about Islam included calling the religion sexist, tyrannical and cancerous.
“Muslims think they own women to such a degree. They think that women who wear skirts above the ankle in European countries are fair game to be raped, and that’s a real rape culture,” he said. “That’s not the mythology about campus rape culture that obtains in perfectly nice civilized places like this.”
Yiannopoulos planned to talk at UCF at the Student Union the week after the Pulse shooting, but the event was canceled because campus police could not secure his safety. He then held the talk at ground zero of the Pulse shooting instead, and spoke about how the political left had betrayed the gay community for Islam.
During the talk Tuesday, Yiannopoulos also brought up his opinion on the importance of the Second Amendment and his belief that shootings wouldn’t happen if gun-free zones didn’t exist.
“Well, gun-free zones are safe spaces for killers,” he said. “Gun-free zones are what make us unsafe. Almost all of the massacres that have happened in America in the last decade have happened in gun-free zones.”
The event was held in the Live Oak Room and approximately 200 people were in attendance. At Yiannopoulos’ recent talks, such as the one held at Florida State University on Sept. 23, protesters arrived and sometimes even interrupted the talks. No protesters were present at UCF.
The speech was hosted by UCF’s chapter of the libertarian club Young Americans for Liberty.
“While not everyone [YAL members] may agree with all of Milo’s politics, I think we can all agree on his commentary on free speech and his sharing of ideas,” said 20-year-old Daniel Lopez, junior economics major and president of UCF’s YAL chapter.
The UCF chapter of Turning Point USA, an organization that believes in smaller government, also sponsored the event.
“I think it’s very important to bring someone like Milo because especially on college campuses, a viewpoint such as Milo’s is shoved to the back [and] considered very controversial,” said 20-year-old Ian LaSalvia, sophomore political science major and president of UCF’s Turning Point USA chapter. “And I think it’s very important to get his viewpoint out here, so students can hear it.”
Spencer Kovach, a 20-year-old junior political science major and vice president of UCF’s YAL chapter, said he saw Yiannopoulos as a new type of conservative.
“Milo is good because he’s a representation of a new breed of conservative that really doesn’t care what your sexuality is or what you do in your personal life,” Kovach said. “They only care about the famous quote of ‘don’t tread on me,’ meaning don’t take away my guns, don’t take away my right to free speech …”
After the talk, Yiannopoulos let audience members come up to a microphone and ask him questions. He then let the audience take photos with him. His next talk is Thursday at Florida Atlantic University.
“Whether you agree or disagree with someone, I think to be a better community and to better understand other ideas, it’s always better to hear and understand the other side better so that you can learn and you could maybe strengthen your own position,” Lopez said.