Update: Milo’s talk in Orlando has been canceled
‘Violence is my main concern’
UPDATE 1.29pm: Milo has announced on Twitter that his talk, scheduled for later this afternoon, has been canceled. He tweeted:
In a subsequent tweet he promised to deliver his speech at a press conference tomorrow, and said: “This is America. Islamist thugs will not stop a gay man from expressing his views. More soon.”
The controversial journalist Milo Yiannopoulos is planning to deliver a campus talk in Orlando today about “Islam and its murderous attitudes towards gay people” – and LGBT students say they are worried.
The event, which is called “Absolutely Haram: Milo on Gays and Islam” is being hosted by the college Republicans at the University of Central Florida, and takes place three days after Orlando suffered the worst mass shooting in US history.
One of the college’s students, Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, was killed in the Orlando attack, along with his boyfriend, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, 32, an alum of the college. They were reportedly planning to be engaged and their families are arranging for a joint funeral.
The Facebook event for Milo’s talk shows 224 attendees at time of publishing. It promises that he will “speak to the UCF student body and the greater Orlando community on recent issues and topics related to community unity, in response to the terrorist attack on Pulse Night Club, in Orlando, Florida, this past Sunday.”
Russell Campbell, 23, a fifith year Computer Science student at UCF, told The Tab: “To be honest it makes me uneasy that Milo will be here. At a time like this someone so inflammatory could ignite tensions and invite trouble to campus.”
Students and faculty are holding a memorial vigil at UCF tonight, which has 400 attendees, five minutes’ walk from Milo’s event. It has been organized by UCF’s LGBT community and the college’s Social Justice & Advocacy office.
Campbell, who has been to the Pulse nightclub where the shooting took place a handful of times, said he feared a backlash: “Violence is my main concern. At a time like this when everyone’s emotions are so raw and volatile, bad things can happen if enough people get angered. I don’t want there to be a riot.”
Nicole, a 23-year-old student at UCF, said: “He sounds like Donald Trump. To have him speak at UCF to people mourning the loss of loved ones or honoring their lives, I don’t think it will end well.
“I don’t think he’ll focus on the real topic and would just make it more difficult for us to mourn.”
The day after Sunday morning’s massacre, Milo, who is gay, wrote a widely shared column for Breitbart entitled “The Left Chose Islam Over Gays. Now 100 People Are Dead Or Maimed In Orlando.”
In the piece he wrote: “What sort of a man gets so angry by displays of affection, joy, and love that he chooses to gun down innocent people in a nightclub? A Muslim man.”
The piece posed the question: “America has to make a choice. Does it want gay rights, women’s emancipation, and tolerance for people of all nonviolent faiths — or does it want Islam?”
Speaking to The Tab last night, Campbell said: “For now the dead should be mourned. It’s seeming like they’re being forgotten and everyone left right and center is jumping on using the loss as pawns for their agendas. In short I don’t think the vigil is the time or place for Milo’s visit. He has the right to talk on campus. But even if only for a short time I want the focus to be on the dead and their families.”