News & Politics

Milo Yiannopoulos Will Speak at CPAC, and Some Board Members Feel Blindsided

Milo Yiannopoulos speaks in Colorado in January. (Jeremy Papasso/Daily Camera via AP)

On February 18, Hollywood Reporter broke the news that alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos will speak at this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

Which means that Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart alum who was banned from Twitter following exchanges with actress Leslie Jones, will enjoy more stage time than Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Jim DeMint. And some board members of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, are none too happy about it, according to sources familiar with the matter.

“We were never consulted until after the invite,” one board member, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, tells Washingtonian. “If I hadn’t been in the offices and asked questions, [I] would never have had any clue. I threw a hissy fit.”

The source went on to say that some on the board plan to issue a press release next week “distancing” themselves from Yiannopoulos’s selection.

Another board member, when reached by phone, wasn’t aware that Yiannopoulos would speak at CPAC until told by Washingtonian. “What? I have no idea what you’re talking about,” the board member said. “I was never consulted. There’s been no email or anything.” The source added that the American Conservative Union hasn’t held a board meeting in “probably six months.” Six other ACU board members did not immediately return a request for comment.

Following Washingtonian‘s initial report, ACU board member Ned Ryun took to Twitter to denounce the invitation, which ACU president Matt Schlapp had promoted in a tweet.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Yiannopoulos’s speech will focus on his “experiences in America battling feminists, Black Lives Matter, the media, professors and the entertainment industry.”

CPAC has for decades been the premiere convener of conservative politicians and activists. In an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday evening, Yiannopoulous said: “I don’t know if I’m conservative.”

Staff Writer

Elaina Plott joined Washingtonian in June 2016 as a staff writer. She has written about her past life as an Ann Coulter fangirl, how the Obamas changed Washington, and the rise and fall of Roll Call. She previously covered Congress for National Review. Her writing has appeared in the New York Observer, GQ, and Harper’s Bazaar.