Milo Yiannopoulos is about to go mainstream Republican, sort of, grabbing himself a keynote address at next week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
The Washington gathering, known as CPAC, is the premier event for established conservatives. This year’s speakers include Vice President Mike Pence, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, as well as media personalities Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Mark Levin and actor Robert Davi.
None of the 60 or so confirmed speakers, though, will have more stage time than Yiannopoulos at this year’s event, which is set to run Feb. 22-25 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. The speeches will be broadcast live on C-SPAN.
Organizers of CPAC are set to officially announce on Saturday the addition of Yiannopoulos, whose Friday night appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher has been a hot topic among conservatives and liberals alike. On the show, he criticized HBO stars Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham and addressed his well-known problem with actress Leslie Jones.
Yiannopoulos told The Hollywood Reporter his CPAC presentation will focus on his “experiences in America battling feminists, Black Lives Matter, the media, professors and the entertainment industry.”
Yiannopoulos gained prominence as a gay right-winger working for Breitbart News and his star rose on the right — while dramatically sinking on the left — when he engaged in a war of tweets with Jones, resulting in Twitter banning him after some of his fans tweeted racist remarks at the Ghostbusters actress. Yiannopoulos told THR that his Twitter ban was widely misreported.
“I wrote a bad review of her movie and then taunted her a bit on Twitter, saying she looked like a dude,” he said. “The media twisted that into, ‘Milo incites racist hate mob against black actress.’ Talk about fake news!”
More recently, Yiannopoulos has been making headlines with his college tour, where liberal students routinely try to shut down his events through protesting, and those events are one reason CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp chose the controversial 32-year-old conservative as a keynoter.
“An epidemic of speech suppression has taken over college campuses,” said Schlapp. “Milo has exposed their liberal thuggery and we think free speech includes hearing Milo’s important perspective.”