Milo Yiannopoulos’ impending visit to the University has already attracted controversy, as the opinionated 32-year-old technology editor of the conservative news and opinions website Breitbart will speak on contentious issues when he comes to Yale on Oct. 22 this year.
But the polemical talk just got more complicated: New Haven residents who previously registered for the free event received an email in early September informing them that the event is for Yale-affiliates only.
Earlier this year, Yiannopoulos told the News that he will be discussing hot-button topics such as trigger warnings, safe spaces and cultural appropriation during his stop in New Haven, one of four-dozen university stops in his “Dangerous F— Tour.”
Calling Yiannopoulos’ event “pertinent to all,” New Haven resident Bobette Giorgi said she was disappointed that she would not be able to attend the talk. On Sept. 28, the New Haven Register published a letter by Giorgi expressing her disapproval of Yale’s decision to exclude non-Yale affiliates from the event.
“An event such as Milo should be open to all of New Haven’s residents, at the very least, but it really should be open to all Connecticut residents, whomever might wish to make the trip,” Giorgi said. “I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. Milo is of interest to all because political correctness threatens our constitutional right to freedom of expression.”
Yiannopoulos has been criticized in the past for remarks considered to be misogynistic, as well as his ardent support for Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee.
Giorgi said she questioned how the event organizers justified their decision to exclude New Haven residents and claimed organizers should take public interest into account when determining an event’s audience.
Still, with just over two weeks remaining before Yiannopoulos takes the stage, it is still unclear who the event’s hosts are. No organization or individual is directly listed as an organizer on the event’s website, and Yiannopoulos denied to disclosed the names of Yale students who invited him.
University spokesman Tom Conroy said the University “had nothing to do with the event.” But he named Karl Notturno ’17 as the student who reserved Yale property for the event.
Notturno, who does not claim stewardship of this project, said he is trying to keep as much of the identity of the students who invited Yiannopoulos “in the nebulous” at the moment. He added that the decision to exclude non-Yale participants was due to miscommunication with the Yiannopoulos team and that both sides are working to remedy the situation to include the general public.
According to Notturno, around 70 students have registered for the event and he is aware of a greater public interest in the talk. However, there are security issues that Notturno said he is working to address.
“If you have to open it up to the public you need more security,” Notturno said. “Right now we are securing funding for that.”
Yiannopoulos is scheduled to speak in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall at 6 p.m. on Oct. 22.
Sara Tabin contributed reporting.