Conservative political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos caught a media storm earlier this week when he called for the deaths of journalist two days before a gunman shot and killed five people at Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper, according to The Hill.
Yiannopoulos reportedly sent Davis Richardson, a reporter for the New York Observer, a text message stating: “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.”
It was a response to Richardson asking for a quote on a story. The conservative provocateur also sent the message to Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer.
Hours after the Capital Gazette shooting that left five dead, the 33-year-old responded by saying he comments were a “troll” and accused left-wing journalists of exploiting the deaths to score political points.
Milo stands by his comments and criticized the media for linking the text about gunning down journalist and the shooting at the newspaper.
“I regret nothing I said, though of course like any normal person I am saddened to hear of needless death,” he said.
He also assumes the shooter is a “left-winger” and claims to be a victim of left-wing organizations spreading rumors about him, in the lengthy statement on Facebook.
“I sent a troll about ‘vigilante death squads’ as a *private* response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, ‘F**k off.’ They then published it,” he continued. “Amazed they were pretending to take my joke as a ‘threat,’ I reposted these stories on Instagram to mock them – and to make it clear that I wasn’t being serious.”
The Daily Mail reports that PayPal and Venmo have banned the 33-year-old from their services for a breach of their user agreement.
The suspected gunman in the Capital Gazette shooting has been identified as Jarrod Ramos. The suspect, who is believed to be in his late 30s, reportedly sued the editors of the newspaper for defamation in 2012 and lost.
The article Ramos sued the newspaper over is titled, “Jarrod wants to be your friend.” According to court documents, it described a “yearlong nightmare” in which a woman said Ramos continuously harassed her after making contact on Facebook.
There has been no established connection between Milo’s comments and the shooting.
Yiannopoulos has made controversial comments in the past. He resigned from Breitbart News after he seemingly endorsed sex between “younger boys” and older men in a podcast.
Leaked emails revealed by Buzzfeed showed that Yiannopoulos had consulted neo-Nazi and white supremacist figures for ideas while he published articles for Breitbart.