Robert Mercer, the billionaire investor who funded the right wing site Breitbart.com and Milo Yiannopoulos, resigned from his successful hedge fund Thursday, just two weeks after ThinkProgress published a report revealing 12 nonprofits, universities, and public retirement funds had invested millions of dollars into Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund that has actively helped fund white nationalism.
In the letter announcing his resignation, Mercer specifically calls out Milo Yiannopoulos, a popular, controversial former Breitbart senior editor, saying he has only caused “pain and divisiveness.”
“In my opinion, actions of and statements by Mr. Yiannopoulos have caused pain and divisiveness undermining the open and productive discourse that I had hoped to facilitate,” Mercer wrote. “I was mistaken to have supported him, and for several weeks have been in the process of severing all ties with him.”
Wow, incredible statement from Bob Mercer — on Bannon, Milo, Breitbart: pic.twitter.com/6oSPpYlB7o
— Joshua Green (@JoshuaGreen) November 2, 2017
Yiannopoulos served as a key intermediary between white nationalists and Breitbart. He published a lengthy feature piece that served as a guide to so-called “alt-right” that he allowed prominent white nationalists to edit before publication, and was caught on video in the company of known white nationalist Richard Spencer as he signals a “Sieg Heil” salute in front of a crowd — both of which were revealed in a recent Buzzfeed expose.
These revelations and Mercer’s disavowal hasn’t hurt Yiannopoulos’ reputation in some circles, however, as he was just given a new weekly column at The Daily Caller, a conservative publication ran by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart in February following outrage over past comments he made regarding pedophilia.
In a 2016 video, Yiannopoulos condoned sexual relations with boys as young as 13 and joked about a sexual encounter he claimed to have had with a Catholic priest as a teenager.
In case anybody forgot what Milo believes about sex between adults and children, here it is on video: https://t.co/hddOQc4RIm
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) November 3, 2017
“You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means,” he said while guest appearing on a podcast. “Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty.”
And what was Yiannpoulos’ first column for The Daily Caller? An article titled “A Round Of Applause For Kevin Spacey,” a reference to the recent allegations made by men who claimed Spacey preyed on them sexually when they were minors. In it, Yiannopoulos claims that Spacey’s response to come out as gay rather than take responsibility for his actions is the reason why “identity politics” is bad for the country, which Yiannopoulos frequently blames on the left.
The opening line of Yiannopoulos’ final paragraph directly addresses Mercer’s statement: “This week I have been accused of causing ‘pain and divisiveness.’ I should hope so.”
Correction: A previous version of this piece incorrectly stated that Yiannopoulos was hired by The Daily Caller. He was given a weekly column. Geoffrey Ingersoll, Editor in Chief, provided the following statement to ThinkProgress: “We approached him to contribute an oped on Spacey, having experience particular to the case, and he countered, offering a weekly column. We agreed.” Ingersoll emphasized Yiannopoulos was not being paid but didn’t rule out paying him in the future.
Milo Yiannopoulos’ column for The Daily Caller has been cancelled just one day after the his first column for the site was published. Additionally, The Daily Caller’s opinion editor, Rob Mariani has been fired as well.
Saturday morning, language stating Yiannopoulos had a “weekly column” had been removed from the site.
Daily Caller has deleted language stating that Milo Yiannopoulos has a "new weekly column." Compare yesterday (left) and today (right). pic.twitter.com/uLdfUkS1Pr
— Andrew Blake (@apblake) November 4, 2017
ThinkProgress reached out to The Daily Caller again and received this statement from co-founder Neil Patel:
“Contrary to some recent news reports The Daily Caller did not hire Milo Yiannopoulos. He is not working for us. He has never worked for us. He does not have a regular column with us. Yiannopoulos published a single op-ed on The Daily Caller. Like most publications we publish op-eds all the time from people we may or may not agree with. Every op-ed we publish includes the following disclaimer: ‘Views expressed in op-eds are not the views of The Daily Caller.’
News outlets trying to play our publication of an op-ed as some sort of Daily Caller endorsement of Yiannopoulos are just trying to score cheap political points.”
This, however, appears to have struck a nerve with Yiannopoulos, who wrote a Facebook status claiming the site had “caved to pressure.” According to Yiannopoulos, the site had agreed to run a weekly column from him.
This is consistent with the initial statement given to ThinkProgress by editor-in-chief Geoffrey Ingersoll late Friday night which said Yiannopoulos was not “hired” by The Daily Caller, but would be contributing a weekly column per his suggestion. This is also consistent with the email exchange between Milo Inc. CEO Alexander Macris and former Daily Caller op-ed editor Rob Mariani.
When Macris wrote to Mariani detailing Milo’s intention to write a weekly column, Mariani responded, “That sounds great.”