Milo Yiannopoulos, the self-described gay conservative dissident and "super-villain" of internet trolling, was suspended from Twitter Tuesday following tweets directed at Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones that incited a racist online campaign against her. He claims he was banned for simply speaking his mind.
On the same day he was booted from the micro-blogging service, Yiannopoulos spoke with CBC News during a smoke break at his hotel in Cleveland, where the Breitbart News provocateur is hosting events with conservative firebrand Ann Coulter.
The interview was conducted before his Twitter suspension became major news online. The discussion focused on his politics and the Republican National Convention and didn't address the Jones controversy or the Twitter ban.
During the interview, Yiannopoulos appeared nervous and was watched closely by private security. He intermittently stopped the interview to consult with his guards.
Here are edited excerpts from the interview.
On his decision to participate in events around the Republican National Convention:
I'm a Brit. I'm here to give people a warning from Europe, because I've seen the way that things can go when you forget about why free speech is important, you forget that freedom has to be earned every generation.
I'm here to give a warning about what happens when you forget that public life is supposed to be about challenge and mischief and debate. This is something the left doesn't like anymore, and they shout down anybody who doesn't agree with them as a bigot, racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a transphobe, all this kind of stuff. Well, it doesn't work anymore. The public doesn't it like it anymore, and they displayed that appetite for mischief in their support for Donald Trump.
On the tight security he's surrounded himself with:
These days, we've amped it up, and they're armed, and there's lots more of them. I need them because the left are insane and they're going to try to kill me.
You know, Black Lives Matter charges the stage, swings for me, snatches mics, and it's only a matter of time before one of them comes at me with a knife. It's not a mystery why I might have security with me.
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I'm going to Sweden next week to do a gay pride march through a Muslim ghetto because if nobody else is going to stick up for us, we have to do it ourselves, and demonstrating that regressive, socially conservative attitudes that don't just militate against gay interests, but actively affect gay people's lives are coming from Muslims all over the West, and if the left isn't going to stick up for us, I'm going to demonstrate what I thought pride was supposed to be about through action.
But yes, somebody's going to come for me there, too. And when they do, the response from the left is going to be, 'Well, you kind of had it coming, you were being provocative, weren't you?'
On his fears of being physically attacked by Democrats and left-wing activists:
Of course, they hate me. They absolutely hate me. I have no doubt in my mind that somebody's going to make an attempt on my life in the next couple months because I have the audacity to say what I think. That's horrifying.
This peace, love and understanding nonsense saves nobody, and helps nobody. Left-wing political lying and molly-coddling, and sucking up to Islam and sucking up to Muslims helps nobody.
On political correctness and being a provocateur:
The left is obsessed with language policing and control and transgender pronouns. That's got nothing to do with gay life. Gay life is about pushing the boundaries of what's acceptable, about pushing the limits of speech and thought, and being dissident and mischievous and experimentation.
I use that term [super-villain] ironically, because all I do is talk about the things that I think are interesting and fun and dissident and mischievous, and I look to William S. Burroughs and Quentin Crisp, these great queer decadent, dissident figures for the past and say look, today, if you want to be mischievous, you have to be on the right. It's the left in power in the media. If you want to be mischievous, you want to be naughty, you want to stick two fingers up at the establishment, well you have to be right wing now to do that. It's kind of crazy.
On criticism of the Republican party's platform as anti-LGBT:
I'm not concerned about anything the platform is coming out with because Trump's going to ignore the bits he doesn't like. Some of the things they're saying about gay conversion therapy? I wish it did work! It doesn't, and who cares? And it's not really relevant to Trump. As far as the family values stuff goes, they're talking about mom, dad, nuclear family being the best influence on society. Well it is! Fast-growing healthy economies and societies have nuclear families. China does, Russia does, there's nothing wrong with that.
On Trump as a pro-gay candidate:
Trump certainly is the most pro-gay candidate in Republican history, and possibly even in American electoral history ... I think politicians have assumed that to be pro-gay, that means you have to pander to people and you have to sort of say the right things about homosexuals and pretend they're these wonderful, magical unicorns that can never do anything wrong, and they're fabulous and brave and stunning sweethearts. Well, we're not, some of us are c--ts.
It's very obvious to see why Trump would be a gay icon or a gay candidate. He's got something of the drag queen about [him], he's very theatrical and over the top ... there's something about him that maps very easily onto the best bits of gay culture. So the fact that he's almost certainly the most pro-gay candidate for president ever on either side of the political divide has got a lot of people excited.