Milo Yiannopoulos, the tech editor of Breitbart News, was forced to resign from his job on Tuesday following backlash over a recently unearthed video showing him endorsing pedophilia.
This isn’t the first time Yiannopolous has said something galvanizing. The professional provocateur has made a name for himself as one of the most visible faces of the white nationalist alt-right movement, which often espouses hate speak against other races, cultures and women.
But unlike the past, Yiannopoulos is finding himself on his own, without help from either “Daddy Trump” — as he often refers to the leader of the free world — or the man who discovered him, former Breitbart executive chairman and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
On Monday, the Washingtonian reported that “at least a half-dozen” employees were prepared to leave Breitbart if Yiannopoulos wasn’t “promptly” fired. Ostensibly, one call from Bannon could have put a kibosh on the whole thing. Apparently, that call never came.
This is not how Yiannopoulos is used to rolling. When UC Berkeley canceled his planned speech earlier this month, the U.S. president came to his defense, publicly threatening to cut Berkeley’s federal funds.
Bannon, arguably now one of the most powerful people in the world, was the publisher of Breitbart and posted much of Yiannopoulos’ most contentious articles, including ones like, “Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to get back in the closet” and “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?” Yiannopoulos has unabashedly credited Bannon with discovering him, telling the Washington Post: “He made me a star.”
Bannon has praised Yiannopoulos’ work as “valuable.”
But on Monday, when Yiannopoulos’ lost a lucrative book deal and a high-profile speaking gig, there was no tweet from POTUS or a single word of encouragement from Bannon. The deafening silence from the White House continued on Tuesday when Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart amid a swirl of growing pressure.
Many of the president’s critics took note of his silence on the Milo matter, suggesting that Trump appeared to be more offended by UC Berkeley’s actions than he was by Yiannopoulos’ statements. But it’s possible Yiannopoulos managed to find the one taboo even Trump and Bannon can’t defend.
“There is no political advantage in seeming to endorse or excuse pedophilia,” Jack Pitney, professor of government at California’s Claremont McKenna College told TheWrap. “Milo is so radioactive right now there’s no advantage to getting near him.”
“He crossed one of the very few remaining lines in what is otherwise a line-less land,” Pitney said.
The White House did not respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.