The Orange County Sheriff helped to provide enhanced law enforcement personnel for the Milo Yiannopoulos event at CSUF in Fullerton (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
Milo Yiannopoulos promotes his book along his Troll Academy Tour (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
A Trump supporter goes through one of two security screenings before entering the Troll Academy Tour event at CSUF (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
Some people dressed in various costumes at the Yiannopoulus event attempt to mock cultural appropriation. (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
Milo Yiannopoulos promotes deportation of illegal immigrants during his speech. (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
A free speech supporter displays his sign at the Milo Yiannopoulos event at the CSUF Student Union (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
An attendee waits for Milo Yiannopoulus to speak at CSUF (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
Milo Yiannopoulos supporters wearing name tags of "Hillary Clinton" and "Maxine Waters" at the security checkpoint of the Troll Academy Tour at CSUF (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
Milo Yiannopoulus dressed as a Catholic priest next to a coffin with the word, "Hollywood" on the inside during opening remarks of his speech (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
Attendees at the Troll Academy Tour in the Student Union at CSUF (Adam Gilles/Lariat)
Milo Yiannopoulos brought his Troll Academy Tour to the California State University Fullerton campus, speaking to a sold-out crowd of more than 800 people on Halloween night. Eight protesters were arrested at the event.
A large number of local and state law enforcement were on hand, along with an increased campus security presence, to maintain safety for those inside the event and the numerous people protesting Yiannopoulos’ appearance from outside.
Some protesters held up signs that said “Fascists go home!” and “CSU students say no to Milo and his fascist entourage.”
Two people were reportedly arrested prior to Yiannopoulos’ speech while others were arrested within the hour after the speech when the majority of the altercations occurred. One individual — dressed in all black with a helmet and goggles — pepper-sprayed the crowd.
Chaos has broken out near the Titan walk. Crowds are following an individual in black clothing and a black helmet. pic.twitter.com/wWGyM1fdJe
“I just like the fact that he’s got enough chutzpah to say what he wants and get paid for it,” said Sarah Fitch, who drove from Port Hueneme with her husband to attend the event.
“The way he goes after liberals and the left is refreshing,” said Mark Ang, a financial and estate planner from Claremont who came to show his support for Yiannopoulos. “I bought my ticket today from a scalper for like four times the value.”
Some fans of Yiannopoulos were drawn to the event mostly for the entertainment value.
“He’s just an entertaining guy,”said Daniel Denney from Orange who attended with a friend. “I agree with most of what he says. It’s mostly entertainment, which is why I’m here.”
College student Mina Naziri was at the event to show her support for freedom of speech.
“I can’t say that I stand behind everything he says, but I definitely do support his right to speak,” Naziri said. “I definitely admire him for his fight against the craziness on college campuses and the censorship.”
Pete Summers, a Los Angeles businessman who attended UC Berkeley during the ’60s, had a more historical take on the event.
“In 1963 we saw the head of the American Nazi Party from Illinois give a speech to a packed auditorium,” Summers said. “He was there in his uniform, but everybody was basically polite and listened and then just left. There was no attempt to shut him down.”
Summers, who said he used to be a Democrat but is now Republican, spoke about seeing Malcolm X and Richard Nixon speak at the same spot on the Berkeley campus during a two-week period in May 1962.
“People were polite and they listened, even though we had conservatives, middle-of-the-roaders, liberals and far-leftists,” Summers said. “All of them could speak when they wanted to, and to me, that’s what free speech is all about.”
Even though Summers said he worked on various Democratic political campaigns in the past, he is currently a fan of Yiannopoulos.
“I think he’s trying to goad people into speaking freely,” said Summers. “He’s trying to demonstrate that you can do that if you have enough nerve, because people are really intimidated right now to say what they really think.”
Many supporters and protesters of Yiannopoulos were able to express their opposing viewpoints with each other constructively. Hunter Jensen, co-owner of The Knawledge, engaged in a debate with a Yiannopoulos supporter over immigration policy after seeing the person involved in a screaming match with a protester.
“Behavior wise, the vast majority of protesters were peaceful and observant,” Jensen said. “There was a small amount who got worked up in political argument and let their emotions get the best of them.”
Jensen said that he has a difficult time distinguishing between Yiannopoulos’ message and what he says just to simply get a reaction from people.
“Milo is a very well-thought-out, provocative and sensationalized media machine,” Jensen said. “He is always very good at saying the most inflammatory remark, in the perfect way, at the right time and I find this archetype very common throughout media today.”
Jensen sees fault on both sides of the political debate regarding Yiannopoulos.
“Milo, and others in the media, have learned how to capitalize on people’s emotions in a way that makes the most compelling media, but does not necessarily represent reality,” Jensen said. “Yet, the more and more this type of provocation continues, the more and more it becomes the reality of the political climate.
The CSUF Republicans Club were responsible for bringing Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. Public relations and event coordinator Brooke Paz acknowledged the large amount of club volunteers for helping to make everything run smoothly at the event.
“We have about 50 to 60 that actually attend our meetings, but we have 20 volunteers here today,” Paz said. “It’s really been a big team effort, and everyone’s really excited that he’s here.”
Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker helped to coordinate with campus security and state and local authorities to plan for adequate security and safety personnel at the event.
“They were concerned about some of the violence that was threatened at Berkeley and some of the events that happened at UC Irvine,” Whitaker said. “We had a really nice session in here with very plain talk about free speech and what it means to everybody, so I think it was a valuable event to hold.”
Tell me why @csuf is closing amenities that students PAY FOR (gym, food court, PARKING LOT) to accommodate Milo Yiannopoulos???
Responding to questions regarding the reported high cost of security and law enforcement presence at the event, Whitaker said he expects the state to cover the majority of the cost, since they provided most of the extra law enforcement on campus. Whitaker explained that Fullerton typically keeps a large staff on hand during holidays whose overtime would be the city’s only additional expense.
“Especially the ones where we celebrate more freedom just like he was talking about tonight,” Whitaker said. “We do have that see saw between authoritarian or police state and really aggressively defending our freedoms and our ability to behave as adults as we can in this society, but we don’t really need that heavy of an oversight from any of our governmental agencies.”
This was Mayor Whitaker’s first exposure to Milo Yiannopoulos.
“I was pleasantly pleased and surprised, because I’ve heard all of the exaggerated criticisms from the other side and from the media and I thought what he did was almost equal time from what we see on the late night talk shows,” Whitaker said. “I really saw it as not being really any more offensive than what we see with the nightly bashing of President Trump and our national institutions.”
Students are flooding out of the Pollak Library. It is now closing early and police are making sure everyone leaves in peace. pic.twitter.com/T6yFkAcJFg
Yiannopoulos’ stage set included an open coffin with the word “Hollywood” displayed inside and two large screens playing a slideshow background displaying various images and phrases featuring actor Kevin Spacey, who is in the news recently for allegations of sexual misconduct towards minors.
The speech focused on recent sexual misconduct and harassment stories involving Hollywood celebrities, the debate on immigration, and his stance against the Democratic party and the press.
Following chants of “Build the wall” from the audience, he said, “Let’s hope by this time next year we can celebrate Halloween together with a big beautiful wall.”
During his speech, he told the crowd he was going to be educating them on the religious and cultural history of Halloween.
“I’m going to show you some fabulous Catholic Halloween history now,” he said. “It’s a multi-day celebration of the dead that evolved in Mexico and Latin America. So there — Mexico does have some pleasant exports.”
He referenced some of the controversy surrounding the cancellation of his speech at UC Berkeley which led to violent protests and a reported $100,000 worth of damage to the campus according to the university.
“A Berkeley professor invented that I was planning to out undocumented students during my talk, which I was really mad about, because I wish I’d thought of it,” he said.
Yiannopoulos joked about not being able to find a sexy Michelle Obama costume for Halloween, “maybe because nobody’s ever attracted to transsexuals,” he said.
“Alright — back to costumes,” he said. “How’s this one? A Dodge Challenger with an Antifa protestor still on the hood.”
Yiannopoulos then directed his humor toward college degrees that he felt were a waste.
“If you’re a gender studies major, you can hang your thesis around your neck, and when people ask you what you came as you can say, ‘a fucking idiot’,” he said.
Encouraging the audience to put political correctness aside, Yiannopoulos said, “Do the most triggering thing you can this Halloween.”
He also spoke out about society and Halloween in America.
“What the First Amendment means is, if you don’t like Halloween, if you’re offended by a costume, don’t participate,” he said. “The rest of us are going to spend the rest of the night being dangerous. We’re going to spend the rest of the night being offensive and not worrying about people who disagree with us, expressing ourselves however we feel appropriate.”
In reference to the eight people killed by a terrorist who drove a truck through a bike path in New York City this week, he expressed relief: “I’m glad it was mostly cyclists, not any actual human beings.”
Yiannopoulos closed his remarks with a message to those who oppose him and his followers viewpoints.
“For 30 years, progressives and social justice warriors have been able to terrorize and intimidate and bully us with this obsession about the right and wrong language we use in public, and that is changing with Trump’s election and the success of me,” he said. “If the last 30 years were about intimidation and bullying, the next 30 years are going to be about liberation, and it’s going to be a really, really miserable time to be a social justice warrior.”