Man shot during protests at Milo Yiannopoulos speech in Seattle

A man was shot before the right-wing pundit's speech at the University of Washington

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 23, 2017 4:41PM (EST)

Milo Yiannopoulos at the "Wake Up!" pro-Trump, anti-Muslim LGBT party at the RNC  (Salon/Ben Norton)
Milo Yiannopoulos at the "Wake Up!" pro-Trump, anti-Muslim LGBT party at the RNC (Salon/Ben Norton)

Milo Yiannopoulos, the controversial editor at Breitbart News who has been described as "the person who propelled the alt-right movement into the mainstream," had to deliver one of his trademark right-wing college jeremiads in the aftermath of a serious shooting at his event.

A 32-year old man was shot in the stomach and is reportedly in critical condition, according to the Los Angeles Times on Saturday. He was rushed to the emergency room and a person of interest turned himself in and is currently being held for questioning.

One police officer told the Seattle Times on Saturday that the man who fired the gun claims to have done so in self-defense and that the victim was "some type of white supremacist." This would be consistent with the type of crowd that frequently shows up to support Yiannopoulos and other people reportedly affiliated with the alt-right. Yiannopoulos himself has contested that definition and criticized media outlets that depict him as holding white nationalist views.

This isn't the first time that violence was reported involving Yiannopoulos' speech at the University of Washington. One video released on Friday purportedly shows protesters in black hoods starting fights on the campus in response to his appearance.

Yiannopoulos defended his speech after hearing about the shooting by saying, "If I stopped my event now, we are sending a clear message that they can stop our events by killing people. I am not prepared to do that."

The incident at the University of Washington is the second one this week in which physical violence has been used as a response to deliberately bigoted rhetoric. White supremacist Richard Spencer was punched in the face on Friday as he bragged on television about his movement's recent successes, sparking social-media debate over whether and when physical violence is ever an appropriate response to the rhetorical violence of Spencer and Yiannopoulos.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Milo Yiannopoulos Original Video Racism University Of Washington White Supremacy