I finally slogged my way through the entire BuzzFeed article on Breitbart News’s extensive ties to Naziism and it was one of the most dispiriting things I’ve ever done. I had a dim view of the organization already, but even in my more paranoid moments I never suspected that they were anything close to this bad.
Milo Yiannopoulos uses “Kristall” (in reference to Kristallnacht) and “LongKnives1290” (in reference to The Night of the Long Knives and the year King Edward I expelled the Jews from England) as his passwords. He has to be reminded repeatedly by a generally sympathetic editor-in-chief, Alex Marlow, not to “flirt with okay-ing Nazi memes,” do podcasts with white supremacists, or make Holocaust-oven jokes. He does karaoke while Richard Spencer and other white supremacists give him the Nazi salute. He considers Devin Saucier to be one of his very best friends, a man so extreme that even Mike Cernovich has tried to disassociate from him.
The Mercer family is completely behind this ideology and so is Steve Bannon. That’s clear from the email threads that BuzzFeed obtained. Together, they turned Milo into a sensation. And when they had to fire him for making comments sympathetic to pedophilia, that didn’t prevent them for quietly supporting him and helping him plan for the next phase of his career:
After firing Yiannopoulos, [Alex] Marlow accompanied him to the Mercers’ Palm Beach home to discuss a new venture: MILO INC. On February 27, not quite two weeks after the scandal erupted, Yiannopoulos received an email from a woman who described herself as “Robert Mercer’s accountant.” “We will be sending a wire payment today,” she wrote. Later that day, in an email to the accountant and Robert Mercer, Yiannopoulos personally thanked his patron. And as Yiannopoulos prepared to publish his book, he stayed close enough to Rebekah Mercer to ask her by text for a recommendation when he needed a periodontist in New York.
Since Bannon left the White House, there have been signs that the two men may be collaborating again. On August 18, Yiannopoulos posted to Instagram a black-and-white photo of Bannon with the caption “Winter is Coming.” Though he ultimately didn’t show, Bannon was originally scheduled to speak at Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week at UC Berkeley. (The event, which was supposed to feature an all-star lineup of far-right personalities, was canceled last month, reportedly after the student group sponsoring it failed to fill out necessary paperwork.) And Yiannopoulos has told those close to him that he expects to be back at Breitbart soon.
The thing that really hit home for me, though, was the part of the article that described the editorial process Breitbart used when working on their feature piece: An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right. Since I have an editorial role at the Washington Monthly, I am accustomed to the practice of sending around drafts of articles to people both on and off the official editorial staff. And I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of working in an organization where article drafts are sent out to white nationalists for comment and annotation.
People who contributed to the piece included the system administrator of the Daily Stormer Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, a man named Curtis Yarvin (a.k.a., Mencius Moldbug) who is credited with creating the “neoreactionary” movement, the aforementioned Devin Saucier who edits the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance, and Theodore Beale (a.k.a., Vox Day), a self-described Christian Nationalist best known for his expulsion from the board of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America after he called novelist N.K. Jemisin a “ignorant half-savage.”
These weren’t people who were interviewed as part of the reporting for the piece. They were serving as editors, and marking up the drafts. They were part of the editorial email chain for the piece that went straight up to the top.
On the 27th, now co-bylined, the story was ready for upper management: Bannon and Larry Solov, Breitbart’s press-shy CEO. It was also ready, on a separate email chain, for another read and round of comments from the white nationalist Saucier, the feudalist Yarvin, the neo-Nazi Weev, and Vox Day.
“I need to go thru this tomorrow in depth…although I do appreciate any piece that mentions evola,” Bannon wrote. On the 29th, in an email titled “steve wants you to read this,” Marlow sent Yiannopoulos a list of edits and notes Bannon had solicited from James Pinkerton, a former Reagan and George H.W. Bush staffer and a contributing editor of the American Conservative.
On the reference to Julius Evola that Bannon made in that email, let’s take a closer look:
Historian Aaron Gillette described Evola as “one of the most influential fascist racists in Italian history.” Evola was admired by the Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini. He idolized the Nazi Schutzstaffel (“SS”). He admired SS head Heinrich Himmler, whom he knew personally. Evola spent World War II working for the Nazi Sicherheitsdienst. During his trial in 1951, Evola denied being a Fascist and instead referred to himself as a “superfascist”. Concerning this statement, historian Elisabetta Cassina Wolff wrote that “It is unclear whether this meant that Evola was placing himself above or beyond Fascism.”
Evola was the “chief ideologue” of Italy’s terrorist radical right after World War II. He continues to influence contemporary neo-fascist movements.
I don’t need to remind you that President Trump hired Steve Bannon to work on his campaign and then made him his chief strategist.
Like I said, even in my most paranoid moments, I never thought things were this bad. I think all of this needs to be placed like a millstone around the necks of any politician who has anything to do with Mercer family and their money.