Milo Yiannopoulos has stepped into another controversy, but this time it’s actually Donald Trump supporters turning on the polarizing Breitbart editor for promoting what some believe was a scam PAC called Nimble America.
As the tech editor for the right-wing media site Breitbart, Yiannopoulos has gained a reputation as one of the most effective and reviled political trolls. He is an ardent supporter of Donald Trump and serves as an honorary moderator on Reddit’s official Trump hub, called The_Donald.
The controversy started with a post to The_Donald on Friday asking for users to contribute to a PAC called Nimble America. The group echoes the main planks of Trump’s campaign, pushing for strong measures to end illegal immigration and the “disastrous trade deals” that the group claims crippled the American economy.
The post that kicked off the controversy came from a user named NimbleRichMan, an allegedly anonymous billionaire calling on users to donate money to the newly formed PAC. Though the post has since been deleted, an archived version showed the user promising to match any user donations to the political group.
“I reached out to the leaders of this community because I am doing everything I can to help make America great again. I have already donated significant funds to Nimble America, and will continue to do so. I need your help: For the next 48 hours, I will match your donations dollar for dollar. Donate ten dollars and I will match you by flying my jet a minute less. Donate a hundred and I will match you by skipping a glass of scotch. Donate a thousand and I will match by putting off the tire change on my car. Am I bragging? Will people be offended? Yes, but those people already hate Donald. They cannot stand to see successful people who are proud of their success.”
Milo Yiannopoulos entered the controversy when he added a note of his own within the post, claiming to vouch for NimbleRichMan and soliciting donations.
“Hi guys, Milo here. I have personally spoken with /u/NimbleRichMan and gotten to know him and his passion for Donald Trump and the Trump movement,” he wrote. “As a billionaire and maxed out Trump supporter, he reached out to the mod team and was put into contact with their project to create the non-profit Nimble America, with the goal to ‘Sh**post Across America.’ I want to say this is a worthy cause that I endorse because they are one of the Trump faithful and will promote pro-Trump policies.”
Many users jumped on the post, accusing Yiannopoulos and the anonymous user of trying to scam Trump supporters. Others took to social media warning Trump supporters not to donate to Nimble America.
That led to a hurried post from The_Donald’s moderators attempting to explain the controversy. In a message posted late on Friday, the team explained that Nimble America was a group originally slated to be launched ahead of July’s Democratic National Convention, but was pushed back due to concern from some of the board’s moderators.
But the anonymous donor contacted the team with a desire to donate to the PAC, the post claimed, leading to a hurried unveiling.
“Obviously this was poorly executed. Our benefactor wrote his post minutes before putting it up,” the post noted. “None of the people who are involved in Nimble America, much less Milo, are in this for personal gain. If we wanted to do a money grab we could have done it in a much smarter way, not in a ‘go to jail’ kind of way as this would had to have been.”
That didn’t assuage the angry users, many of who demanded that the moderator team step down, and some even turning their ire to Yiannopoulos.
To be clear, there are no specific allegations of fraud against either Milo Yiannopoulos or Nimble America, just plenty of hesitation on the part of users of The_Donald that they are being used for someone’s financial gain. And, as some other users have pointed out, there isn’t confirmation that the username assigned to Yiannopoulos is actually being used by him and not another person who might have access to it.
The incident comes amid a series of other controversies for Milo Yiannopoulos, including allegations that he created a sham scholarship fund. In January, he had announced the establishment of the “Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant,” which was supposed to distribute more than $100,000 in college scholarships for white male students.
But The Daily Beast found in August that despite a promise to distribute the first scholarships this fall, Yiannopoulos had not yet registered the charity and had the between $100,000 and $250,000 raised still sitting in his personal bank account.
“There’s state and federal laws against fraud and misrepresentation for declaring a scholarship fund prior to getting an exemption,” said Ellis M. Carter, a lawyer specializing in nonprofit groups. “They need to be honest about their status if they’re not a 501(c)3.”
And Yiannopoulos was also the target of a scathing exposé from Bloomberg News that identified him as the “pretty, monstrous face of the Alt Right.” The report noted that he — and Breitbart News, which became a de facto arm of the Donald Trump campaign when Breitbart Media chairman Stephan Bannon became the head of Trump’s campaign — are responsible for pushing the conspiracy-minded, racially charged Alt-Right movement to the mainstream.
So far, Milo Yiannopoulos has not responded publicly to the controversy surrounding Nimble America.
[Featured Image by Milo Yiannopoulos/Instagram]