A university ignored multiple warnings about a speaker’s extreme views and history of abusive behaviour – leaving him free to single out a trans student and bully them on-stage.
Far-right internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos has seen his media profile rise thanks to attention-grabbing bigoted comments and support of Donald Trump, whom he refers to as ‘daddy’.
Yiannopoulos, who was banned from Twitter earlier this year after allegedly encouraging a wave of racist abuse directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones, is capitalising on his cult-like following with a ‘Dangerous Faggot Tour’ at universities and colleges across the US.
When Yiannopoulos was confirmed to be speaking at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, students attempted to make officials aware of his views and abusive history.
But despite repeated protests, university administrators decided that Yiannopoulos – who says he would ‘cure’ himself of being gay if he could and describes trans people as “mentally ill… gay men dressing up for attention” – should still be allowed to speak at the event on December 14.
Yiannopoulos proceeded to use the event to single out and humiliate a transgender student who attends the university, exactly as protesters had warned he would.
In his speech – which was streamed on the internet by far-right news outlet Breitbart – Yiannopoulos singled out Milwaukee engineering student Adelaide Kramer, showing pictures of her on a PowerPoint presentation and mocking her as a “man in a dress” who “I’d almost still bang”.
He said: “I’ll tell you one UW-Milwaukee student that does not need to man up, and that is [using former name] Justine Kramer.”
“Do you know about Justine Kramer? Have any of you come into contact with this person? This quote unquote nonbinary trans woman forced his way into the women’s locker rooms this year.
“He got into the women’s room the way liberals always operate, using the government and the courts to weasel their way where they don’t belong
“[Equal rights law Title IX is being] used to put men in to women’s bathrooms. I have known some passing trannies in my life… which is to say transgender people who pass as the gender they would like to be considered.”
“The way that you know he’s failing is I’d almost still bang him. It’s just…it’s just a man in a dress, isn’t it? I should reapply my lipstick.”
The session continued for nearly two hours after the incident.
University chancellor Mark Mone – who ignored repeated warnings and protests in order to let Yiannopoulos speak – sent an all-student email condemning the comments.
After defending the principle of “free speech”, he wrote: “I do not agree with Yiannopoulos’ views, and I strongly condemn the belittling of others and their appearance, and the encouragement of hate and harassment.
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“I also will not stand silently by when a member of our campus community is personally and wrongly attacked. I am disappointed that this speaker chose to attack a transgender student.
“Our campus has a wonderful diversity that fosters a creative and exciting learning environment. It is critical that we protect, support and celebrate the exchange of ideas and cultural traditions that take place here.
“The inclusivity and safety of our campus are top priorities. Every member of our community should feel safe and valued, regardless of beliefs, race, sexual orientation, immigration or other status.”
Speaking to student media outlet Media Milwaukee, Adelaide Kramer – whose case had received some limited media attention previously – said: “I knew Milo was going to regurgitate a profound amount of racist and transphobic hate.
“What I did not anticipate was being specifically targeted and called out in the way he did. I hadn’t said anything or made even the slightest disruption: He had his harassment of me planned out well in advance.
“I’m sitting there and I hear him say ‘Justine Kramer’ and I just froze up. I have never, ever, ever been more terrified in my life of being outed. Ever.
“This also isn’t just a case of a speaker going off an a tangent like that, like some random occurrence. It was not a case where you had no way of knowing he would do this. Quite the contrary: Milo has a supremely extensive, highly-documented track record of doing precisely this.
“As I’ve already said, ‘YOU KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN. WE TOLD YOU IT WOULD. AND WE TOLD YOU AGAIN. AND AGAIN’.”
Adelaide Kramer told the outlet she is quitting the university.
Yiannopoulos previously said that he would change his sexuality if he could.