Milo Yiannopoulos Defends ‘Gunning Journalists Down’ Comment After Annapolis Shooting: It Was a ‘Private Joke’

Several now blaming right-wing firebrand for Thursday’s massacre in Maryland

Last Updated: June 28, 2018 @ 3:57 PM

Milo Yiannopoulos is battling backlash after the deadly shooting at the Capital Gazette Newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland on Thursday. Many people are speaking out against the right-wing firebrand, pointing to recent comments he made, calling for “gunning journalists down.”

Two days before the shooting, Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart editor, appeared to threaten two journalists from the New York Observer after they reached out to him with a request for comment. “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” he told New York Observer reporters in a text message, which the journalists later released to the public.

Twitter commentators were quick to cast blame on Yiannopoulos for the shooting, arguing that he directly urged violence against journalists. However, Yiannopoulos responded to his accusers with a Facebook post on Thursday afternoon and vehemently denied that his messages could be held responsible for inciting the attack on the Gazette newsroom that left five dead.

“You’re about to see a raft of news stories claiming that I am responsible for inspiring the deaths of journalists,” he wrote. “This is wholly false … I made a private, offhand troll to two hostile reporters, who breathlessly publicized it and like vermin their fellow journalists swarmed to remind the world how much they hate Milo.”

In the lengthy Facebook response, Yiannopoulos emphasized that his statement was a “private joke.” “If there turns out to be any dimension to this crime related to my private, misreported remarks, the responsibility for that lies squarely and wholly with the Beast and the Observer for drumming up fake hysteria about a private joke, and with the verified liberals who pretended they thought I was serious,” he wrote.

A groundswell of Twitter commentators said they believe that Yiannopoulos should be blamed for inspiring the shooting with his anti-journalist rhetoric. Some also lumped in President Donald Trump, noting POTUS’ anti-media stance.

Read comments from several of Yiannopoulos’ detractors:

Here is Milo Yiannopolous’ full response.