Grift all the way down

A recurring theme when looking at the media-right (and so much of the modern right is about its interaction or control of entertainment and news media) is the layers of grift, scams, self-promotion and get-rich-quick schemes.

The money fueling the right has long derived from rich donors such as the Koch brothers and the Mercer family. Added to this have been relatively wealthy children who fuel their media careers off inherited wealth — both models depend on the deep income inequalities in modern Western society and the concentration of wealth.

The third element is the attempt to pull in money from more distributed sources. YouTube advertising revenues are an obvious source but I’d add book sales and more general website advertising as well. What is not clear is how much the alt-right is fueled from above and how much from below.

With the specific focus on science-fiction media, the question has been the extent to which an outfit like Castalia House is a hobby funded out of Vox Day’s pocket versus it being a going concern pulling in cash from Vox Day’s followers. Clearly there are elements of both but at the end of the day, does one source exceed another?

I doubt we’ll know the answer to such questions anytime soon but here’s an interesting data point. Milo Yiannopolous has suffered multiple setbacks of late:

  • He was ostracised by conservatives because of his stated views on under-age sex
  • His book was cancelled by a major publisher (Simon & Schuster) and he had to self-publish it
  • Robert Mercer family stopped funding him
  • His own attempt at a Milo-branded media website flopped
  • He attempted to sue Simon & Schuster because of the book cancellation and then had to drop the lawsuit
  • His speaking tour of Australia got cancelled due to lack of interest leading to further legal woes
  • He was banned from PayPal after using the service to send anti-semitic content to a Jewish journalist

In relation to that Australian tour, a series of Tweets appeared today purporting to have court documents about Milo’s finances. Now, the authenticity of these documents haven’t been verified but they appear to be genuine.

(see also here: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/12/newly-released-documents-show-milo-yiannopoulos-serious-financial-debts/ )

The ‘running debt’ spreadsheet has some familiar names on it:

Milo running debt spreadsheet entries

The debts all appear to be money owed from columns on Milo’s “Dangerous.com” website (e.g. John senior wrote about four columns and Jon junior wrote some columns and some news articles) It’s small sums of money that most of these names are owed but collectively it looks like Milo has lots of debts and very little income.

Although this sheds some light on the inner finances of one “alt-lite” media figure, the core questions remain. What has hit Milo hardest? The loss of patronage from the Mercers or the loss of the more distributed income due to PayPal closing access?

For the time being, we can all appreciate that somebody who set out to ruin many people’s lives is having a hard time paying their bills.

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71 thoughts on “Grift all the way down

  1. Something that amused me: in the email that the list is attached to, Milo is essentially begging for money to buy plane tickets in early October. At the end of October his Australian tour was cancelled for unspecified reasons. Could it be that he’s simply run out of seed money for his grifts?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m too old-school to take any pleasure in it, even though the guy is clearly a world-class jerk. Our ethos for decades was “we take care of each other,” and that included covering for guys who had to say (and even do) homophobic things to protect their secrets. Mine was the first generation to push hard for the idea that coming out was the key to success and that secrets were our enemy, but we still honored the principle that we protected each other–even closet types, and even activists who were advocating things we weren’t totally cool with.

    I realize that way of thinking is dying. Maybe you had to grow up in the shadow of real persecution to even understand it. But I find myself feeling sorry for Milo. Actually, I don’t think that’s quite the right way to put it. It’s that this news makes me feel sick. Milo’s prior behavior made me feel sick too of course (in a different way), and I hardly wanted him to be successful, but I wouldn’t wish this much hurt on a fellow gay person.

    Not sure if this makes any sense to anyone, but I wanted to share it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t get you. What secrets is it you mean that Yiannapoulous has protected? And don’t you think Yiannapoulous nazi-adherent beliefs is the main problem? And peole actually being killed by those he encourages?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah, I didn’t think you guys would understand. When you’re from a severely persecuted minority, you tend to see the world as us and them. Intellectually, I know Milo’s a bad guy who’s opposed to almost everything I believe in (and that’s assuming he actually believes anything and wasn’t just out for money). But deep inside, part of me feels like I’m watching “them” attack “one of us.” That part isn’t rational, but it’s very strong.

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      2. That part I can get. I can get it sometimes too when BDSM-practitioners are attacked in media and I think they have deserved it, but am cautious about who is doing the attacking and how they are framing it.

        As an example, lot of so called “progressives” and “resistance” have no problem with homophobic language and pictures to refer to the Trump and Putin relationship.

        So, yeah. I understand being careful and cautious.

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      3. M1lo voluntarily gave up his “one of us” status when he became a Nazi. As a result, I have no sympathy for his self-inflicted wounds.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Greg, I’m coming for a culture that was marginalized, and hid to survive, too. There’s a difference between providing cover for a closet-case and embracing a Nazi. Milo made his loyalties clear. He is none of mine. I might not push him in front of a cross-town bus, but I wouldn’t risk a manicure trying to grab him back if he stepped in front of one. That the bus in question is metaphorical, doesn’t change the real satisfaction I feel as the wheels go over him.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. The loss of patronage from the Mercers or the loss of the more distributed income due to PayPal closing access?

    It’s far too early to speculate on causes. Thoughts and Prayers.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Other political watchers have pointed out there’s a lot of symbiosis. Right-winger writes newsletter predicting economic crash, ads in the newsletter encourage people to Buy Gold! Or the NRA’s dependence on gun manufacturer donations and ads.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Gold grift is a thing among German rightwingers as well. Pushed by a legacy rightwing ice cream and millionaire (even his Dad was a bonafide Nazi) who just happened to buy up Germany’s bigger gold dealer.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Looking at the name list, we can see:
    – Pamela Geller and David Horowitz: Leaders of the Islamophobia industry.
    – Allum Bhokari and Ian Miles Cheong: Voices of the Gamergate harassment campaign.
    – Theodore Beale, Tom Kratman, Jon del Arroz and John C Wright: Has-beens and never-beens in SF.

    Who are the others?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. @So Many Rats

        Your comment gives the impression that Janet Bloomfield is a regular commenter and/or member of the community at We Hunted the Mammoth.

        She isn’t. As an alt-rite anti-feminist, she is, however, a regular subject of David Futrelle’s posts.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Ah, so she was “JudgyBitch”. Yeah, I remember her from when she was banned from Twitter.

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    1. Lets see.

      – The Larry Scheweikart is possibly this guy:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Schweikart

      – Joshua Vanderwall is a gamergater who writes for Escapist Magazine.

      – Connor Chue-Sang wrote fake news articles for the Dangerous website (I was fascinated by his moronic stupidity with regards to an article of rapes in Sweden that he wrote).

      – Lisa de Pasquale is this person:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_De_Pasquale

      – Matthew Perdie makes videos for Breitbart.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s nice to see that the guy who thinks that
      “Decent men think that gays should be beaten with sticks”
      will cheerfully sell out his principles for a hundred bucks.

      (…and then get stiffed by the BIGGER grifter….)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It was “ax handles” not “sticks” as I recall. The mark of a writer is create memorable word pictures; as we remember “John ‘Truth is Beauty and Beauty Truth’ Keats,” we should also think of John “Ax Handle” Wright (or John ‘God told me to punch Pratchett’ Wright” if you prefer).

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  6. I looked at that Twitter thread and found Mr. @BadExampleMan (ooh, irony) to express it well:
    “My schaden is so thoroughly freuded I’m not sure I can walk.”

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy (and his creditors). Any money he’s got is going to that high-priced law firm.

    And PERSONALLY liable for all this? What sort of moron signs that kind of contract? I’m a suburban housewife whose major contact with the majesty of the law is speeding tickets, and even I know NEVER to sign that shit, or to settle lawsuits without legal advice.*

    Jon Jr’s got a real job, and Teddy’s got daddy’s grifted money, so they’re not actually out anything, but IIRC John Sr. ** needed a GoFundMe for his mortgage a while back, so he’s out the time he took to rant for Milo which he could have used for writing fiction for money.

    I’m sure the right dumped Milo b/c of homophobia once he turned out not to be “one of the good ones” — but since they only took him on b/c he was “one of the good ones” (“see, we RWNJ aren’t prejudiced, we have a gay friend!”) I got no problem with his own petard hoisting him. He never would have reached his past heights of punditry without using his sexuality as a “hot take contrarian” weapon anyway.

    Thoughts and prayers!

    *My entire lawsuit experience is suing a hotel for food poisoning-related medical expenses, and I was only in the suit to support friends who’d also had unpaid work days on top of that. We had a lawyer who took 30% on contingency.

    ** love this construction/metaphor continuation, Cam.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I Googled this law firm. Their employees speak well of them (except for stingy benefits), they have offices nationwide, and both the founder and many of the junior attorneys seem well-regarded professionally

    Founder loooooooves/backed Trump and does op-eds for RW papers/Fox News, so he’s obviously in deep with the RWNJ — and even HIS firm has put money over politics in dumping Milo.

    The “you owe us big bucks” letter was from July, but some lawyer was still representing Milo during the failed October grift, promising to put the money problems aside for 3 months for “only” $40K. See the Twitter-revealed details here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1069085778242760704.html

    For added “fun”, here’s the notes the editor (a guy who’s firmly RW, has edited Trump, Rush, etc) gave on the canceled book. Things like “delete entire chapter”, “I will not accept a manuscript that calls (all trans* people) ‘mentally ill’,” and “no need to bring lesbians into this” and “THIS WHOLE BOOK is hate speech.”

    So he’s sure not down with any LGBT+ folks other than himself.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/simon-schuster-editor-scathing-notes-milo-yiannopoulos-book-dangerous

    The whole book is on there; I didn’t waste time reading it, but I do see just from scrolling that Milo couldn’t go two (2) pages without incurring an editorial complaint — and this is a top-level, first-look reading, not even into details. Just stuff that jumped out at the very right-wing editor as being wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “So he’s sure not down with any LGBT+ folks other than himself.”
      In the tradition of so many RW women who build their careers by saying that other women shouldn’t have careers.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Well he didn’t exactly lose the financial support of the Mercers. They, and Bannon in conjunction, Murdoch, and even possibly the Koch brothers seem to have financed Milo through various backdoors when he self-published his book and when he tried to do the web-site — which is why so many right-wingers looking for platforms signed on. I think they were thinking that he could still be of some use as a controversial campus/lecture speaker and online gadfly. The media was still kind of interested in him as a controversial figure. But then he did the anti-Semitic thing and got kicked off of PayPal, making things difficult. He simply didn’t generate enough juice and that was certainly due in part to homophobic right-wingers using things he said as an excuse to eject him. And if you cannot get on the camera, you are not of use, especially if you’re in a marginalized group they hate anyway. He’s not particularly welcome in Britain and Europe where he burned bridges even before becoming Breibart’s Gamergate wrangler. Essentially other speakers like Ben Shapiro took his spot.

    But that doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to rally necessarily. Milo was never a committed right winger. He’s a con artist who found the U.S. right wing media sphere lucrative. He’ll keep trying different grifts. He might even, being gay and married to a black man, declare he’s switched to LGBTQ support. Or he’ll try a different conservative themed one. Maybe he’ll start his own church. But they never stop trying to run scams, even when they don’t need the money, whether they are ideologically right wing or just posturing. Right now, sadly, anti-Semitism isn’t enough to sink you — it’s still a money-maker in some quarters. But Milo was a front-man, not a data manipulator like Bannon, and when a front-man does not draw ratings, they do dump him, especially when he was a shield and thus not really desirable in the club. They can find another gay gadfly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read Milo’s Breitbart article on how sexbots would transform the world (because men are sick of feminists so they’ll give up women for machines! And then they’ll stop working, live in their mother’s basement and civilization will collapse!). The idea of him having some sort of a steady tech gig is funny, but not in a good way.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Actually, I first came across Milo’s name in connection with the Kernel back in 2013, when they launched a campaign against e-book erotica in online stores, which resulted in W.H. Smith (of course, they who banned New Worlds back in the day) having a fit and pulling all self-published e-books, whether erotica or not, and Kobo giving in to this. Fast forward a couple of years and suddenly he’s an alt-right provocateur.

      To sum it up, I already disliked Milo long before it was cool.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Not sure where this list came from, but Milo paid me everything he owed me. Had no problem here so it’s suspect!

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    1. So, Jon, tell us about how you’re just an ordinary common-or-garden republican going about your business, and also were writing for a (former) doyen of the alt-right.

      (Also, stop harassing people online, why don’t you?)

      Liked by 2 people

    2. In that case, you should maybe inform the Australian court, so they can remove your name from that list. After all, you’re such a stickler for correct accounting otherwise.

      What is more, if someone has let you know in no uncertain terms that they wish to have no contact with you, even a supposedly friendly message constitutes harrassment.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am an ordinary common-or-garden republican going about my business. Milo was of course very interested in my ace cultural reporting and commentary, just like many outlets are.

        It is terrible the extent in which I’ve been harassed for merely attempting to show up at a convention or to join the only major professional guild in which I duly qualify. Using personal animus there in order to try to harm my career is harassment. Me saying hi on a public online forum is not. But you can’t stop the signal. Even reddit deleting my posts is just going to make me bigger again. It must be maddening to be y’all and so “outraged”.

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      2. I’ve got to ask, Jon, do you even have to think now when you write that tripe about how you’re the real victim or is that line just hardwired into your fingers?

        (Okay okay, I’ll stop playing with my food now)

        Liked by 3 people

      3. @Jon

        Me saying hi on a public online forum is not.

        I call bullshit. Cat Rambo specifically asked you to have no further contact with her, public or private. I am asking a serious question here. If someone requests that you leave them alone, which means not trying to talk to them in any manner, including saying “hi,” why can’t you do so?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Jon, you claim to be christian. Did you know that there’s a concept in christianity which says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” It’s supposed to be very important. Almost as important as the one which says “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

        Your actions show us that you do not know either of those. You are receiving the treatment you have well and truly earned for yourself. Suck it up and deal with it.

        If you’re such a common garden Republican, then what were you doing working for a Nazi?

        Oh, and continually harassing people who have asked you to stop harassing them? Not a good look for that lawsuit of yours. It’s a wonder your Lawyer hasn’t ripped your computer out of your hands before now.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. It’s weird that with so many interested in your ace cultural reporting, you elect to continue working with the whackadoodles of the alt-right.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. @Jessica: it’s already been established that Jon’s lawyer is a hack only in it for himself, not his clients.

        @Mark: RWNJ really seem unable to distinguish outrage from amusement, don’t they?

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  10. Looks like JDA is trying to follow Milo’s path, including the hovering harassment behavior on Reddit and Twitter. Got a shot, there. They are always shifting chairs around in the lower galleons of the right-wing media sphere. I doubt he’s going to be a media star, though, and does not seem to have his own minions, but Breibart might still have some money for articles and such.

    Milo’s been living on debt for several years, as is standard with these things. I’m sure he has some loot socked away somewhere and he’ll leave the usual moneybags that play lurking megalords with the right to pick up some of his debts. They just won’t do it super openly. But he couldn’t keep Gamergate going, his campus recruitment free speech riots are no longer working out, his website died, Europe’s already been burned off and Australia has its own versions of right wing grifters so they’ve been blocking any non-native right-winger who might start a riot — they just denied a visa to McInnes. So he’s now in Glen Beck territory with much less of a stash than Beck left Fox with and no in with the fundies and not much book selling power. So yeah, tech and media that works totally on controversy is where he has left to go. But he might reinvent himself altogether once again. He doesn’t have a lot of alliances left to openly exploit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …And he’s earned himself a thoroughly tarnished reputation. Where does a washed-up broke Nazi pedophile wannabe go? His history isn’t going to go away, and everyone knows how to use Google.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I suspect Milo will get back on his feet, people like him usually do, probably by aligning himself with Jordan Peterson over something like that.
    As for the list, it’s a veritable who is who of awful right wing personalities, some of whom are fairly new and others who go back to the mra days.
    The depressing thing is that when all said and done, this won’t really make much of a difference, sure one right winger will fall but there are always more to take his place.

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    1. Well yeah, there’s money and often power in advocating continued oppression and claiming that civil rights issues and advances are an affront to common decency, so there’s always a new one. These people in the U.S. are all the legacy of folks like Charles Coughlin, William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Morton Downey Jr., etc.

      That being said, I don’t think Milo would find much luck trying to align with Peterson, even if he were interested. There is jockeying that goes on and Peterson is much more of the Buckley style genial, “intellectual” talk show bigotry school of hierarchy, with the hierarchy as natural and divinely annointed — and straight — whereas Milo did the “colorful”, loud-mouthed cultural gadfly thing, organizing harassment mobs, rallies and doxxings. Milo needs to stick away from the fundies and any religious area, who declared him persona non grata. The libertarian atheists who’ve gone hard-core sexist right wing are where he has a better shot, and the MRA/alt right area still, despite their homophobia. His main area was misogyny; I don’t see him completely giving that up, especially since he married a black guy and so the racial channels are problematic for him. His one recent feint there — anti-Semitism — backfired. But set-backs don’t mean no bounce back.

      Case in point, Beck has rallied his funding and is merging with Levin’s crew for a bigger far right multi-media empire, and just took in McInnes, who is rehabilitating himself by backing away from his Proud Boys as quickly as he can. So McInnes won’t have to completely shuffle back to Canada. But I doubt Milo is showing up there.

      Instead, he is continuing his Cinco de Milo college campuses party and lecture tour — still recruiting young men for the alt right on the freeze peach train. And he got $12 million back in April to do this. Maybe he spent it all and has nothing but his debt, but I doubt it. He’s still getting financial backing, just not as the front-man gay gamer wrangler. That grift petered out and mutated.

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      1. Well oopsie, Beck booted McInnes out of the merger — he won’t be on Blaze and he’s been just banned from YouTube. Kind of wondering, is it easier for them to go after/ban these guys like McInnes and Milo because they aren’t or aren’t originally American? Some of the Americans have been banned too, so maybe not, but I suspect those who aren’t American initially who attach themselves to the American right often find out they are easy to ditch when things go south. After all, a lot of it is anti-immigration and the flag clutching of “real” Americans. So even white boys may not be immune. In which case, Peterson might want to watch his back.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Good heavens, poor Milo might have to get an actual–gasp!–job!

        Someone needs to teach him to say, “You want fries with that?”

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am mystified as to how he thinks journalists are supposed to fact-check his income claims. He’s not a 501c3, and it’s not as if he’s filing income disclosure statements.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like the tacit admission that him saying he’s “doing fine and bringing in $40k US a month” is in fact a lie.

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      2. Presumably they can fact-check that he made the claim and not much else. Which of course is not what he’s saying.

        I expect it’s just bullcrap to get people to not bug him on that point.

        The whole thing is weird. As a writer of articles, he’s not half bad, technically speaking. He could have kept that up as a paying political gig, indefinitely. Or gone into writing on less political and politicized topics. Instead he decided he was a rock star, based on … I’m not real clear what. He started acting like a rock star and people went along with it for a little while until they didn’t anymore. And he doesn’t seem capable of not acting (or spending) like a rock star – toning expenses down to match a reasonable expectation of income never seems to have entered his head. Elite-tier Milo mugs? Why exactly does he think such a cult of personality around him is even possible? The “nobody appreciates me” Facebook complaint sounds like going over the top straight into the machine gun fire and then complaining it hurts and stings; what exactly did you expect, dude?

        The whole situation looks like a machine that has spun wildly out of control and has broken springs projecting from various burst panels while cables fizz and spark and a repetitive mechanical thunking from within has caused the device to fall off its stand and bounce across the laboratory floor – the thunking is now interspersed with squeals of metal rubbing against metal that very likely shouldn’t be doing that. Something about it is going to break in a definitive and permanent fashion, and probably soon; just hope nobody is standing nearby when that warped and jammed main hinge finally gives way.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. “It is terrible the extent in which I’ve been harassed for merely attempting to show up at a convention or to join the only major professional guild in which I duly qualify. ”

    Typical lefty, trying to “no-platform” the SFFC Guild by not even mentioning it.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Hey, now, their Facebook page has had a whole 16 comments posted in the last 30 days. That’s sumthin. 😉

        Although their blog and twitter accounts haven’t had any entries since last February, and the officers’ page on their website still claims they’re going to be holding elections sometime in 2018…. They’d better hurry up, I guess!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We are still about a month off its anniversary. I’ve avoided the topic because of a certain person’s extreme reactions to anything but I think it will deserve a post later in January.

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