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