Milo Yiannopoulos' background and a UC Hastings law prof on the boundaries of free speech

- Controversial, conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos spoke out about the events at U.C. Berkeley and his views of himself on Fox News Channel Thursday night.

"I was bundled in, put in a bullet-proof vest, and whisked away and that is the price you pay for being a libertarian or a conservative on an American college campus," Yiannopoulos told anchor Tucker Carlson on Carlson's cable talk show.

Milo Yiannopoulos, 32, is a man with many labels.

He is an editor with the online conservative Breitbart News website. He was born in Greece and raised in England, a gay, British, self-proclaimed "super villain on the internet."

He has been embraced by those who call themselves the "alt-right," but he denies being racist.

"Anyone who's spent five seconds in my company or in my bedroom know I'm not a white supremacist," he told Carlson.

Yiannopoulos started off as founder of "The Kernel", an online technology magazine. After joining Breitbart in 2015, he first rose to national attention in a public dispute with "Ghostbusters" actress and comedian Leslie Jones, that led to Twitter permanently suspending his account in July 2016.

Critics say he peddles and promotes sexist, racist, and anti-Muslim hate speech.

His name appears on Breitbart posts with remarks such as birth control "makes you stupid and unattractive.”  

In one speech, posted online, Yiannopoulos calls transgender people mentally ill and says, "Never feel bad for mocking a transgender person.  It is our job to point out their absurdity, to not make the problem worse by pretending they are normal."

"I don't have opinions that millions of Americans don't share. I just happen to say them in a more provocative and interesting way and a slightly larger platform," Yiannopoulos said.

That platform appears to have grown tremendously following the attention generated by recent protests on college campuses during his national speaking tour. Pre-sales of his book "Dangerous" reached #4 on Amazon's list Thursday night. He says the book will be a "signature cultural moment" for the audience he says looks up to him.

"For a particular millennial generation that suddenly woke up and decided being Republican was cool, and was a libertarian punk alternative choice. I'm one of the people they look up to as a cultural figure," he said.

U.C. Hastings constitutional law professor David Levine says Yiannopoulos is provocative but so far, appears to have stayed within the bounds of the First Amendment.

"We might label it hate speech, meaning speech that attacks a group on the basis of some characteristic, race, religion, physical appearance, their gender, but that's part of the free-wheeling First Amendment," Levine said.

Levine says claims by Yiannopoulos and his supporters, however, that his free speech has been violated only applies to public spaces and government actions. It does not apply to private spaces such as private institutions or private companies such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.

"The owners of those spaces have the right to say we don't want you to utilize the space any more we don't want to hear that message," said Levine.

Levine says if critics conduct violent protests or try to stop Yiannopoulos from speaking, it likely will only serve to increase his stature and appear to validate his platform.

Instead, Levine says people should find ways to voice their own opposition. The answer to speech you might dislike, Levine says, "is more speech." 

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