On a rooftop in downtown Manhattan, a Hillary Clinton impersonator in an orange jumpsuit drinks Chardonnay inside a dunk-tank resembling a jail cell. A crowd of excited Trumpians wearing Make America Great Again hats cheer, “Lock her up! Lock her up!”
“You show me your health care system. I’ll show you mine,” quips faux Hillary. An event organizer wearing a white blazer with pink wisps throws a croquet ball and she tumbles into the water.
“Are you happy now, Bernie?” she cries as three little people wearing raggedy clothes and ‘Ben Shapiro’ name-tags scuttle by. The organizer hands me three crinkled dollar bills with a sticker of Donald Trump’s face covering Washington’s.
“You’re going to need these for the jihadi strippers,” he tells me.
This is what a Milo Yiannopoulos book party looks like. It’s outrageous and provocative, pumped with spectacle, raw hedonism, and a never-ending flow of top-shelf liquor. Guests include BuzzFeed journalists, Big League Politics’ Cassandra Fairbanks, café photographer Liam McMullan and Martin Shkreli, the notorious Turing pharmaceutical executive who skyrocketed the price of AIDS medication before buying the only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” D.C. lawyers, Internet trolls, and Trumpians; the most boisterous voices of the alt-right have all gathered to celebrate the release of Milo’s self-published autobiography, “Dangerous.”
Although the book was dropped by its original publisher Simon and Schuster after the author’s controversial statements many saw as encouraging pedophilia (which prompted his resignation from Breitbart), Milo has already sold out 100,000 copies. Tomorrow, he’s leading a rally against the publishing juggernaut at their Midtown headquarters. Tonight, his handlers toss out black T-shirts reading “F*** Simon and Schuster.”
To many, Milo is a polarizing figure. He is an openly gay Republican who thrives off shock value and chaos. He gives controversial talks attacking feminism, Islam and “safe spaces” meant to incite protests in progressive cities, most notably Berkley. He’s been labeled as misogynistic, Islamaphobic, and a bigot while also providing gay conservatives a voice.
“I like how mad he makes people. I also like that he’s a gay conservative. I’m a gay conservative. That hadn’t been embodied before,” says a Milo fan asking only to be identified by his first name Sean. “I’m sorry, I’ve been drinking.”
“Do you follow him around places?” a cyber-security salesman who produces music videos for 50 Cent and Afrojack asks a blonde twenty-something wearing a red MAGA hat.
“No, I’m VIP,” she says while wearing a general admission wristband.
Outside on the veranda overlooking LES, cigarettes are sparked. Conversations range from the recent CNN GIF to conspiracies about the media orchestrating a civil war. One partygoer rants about liberalism being “inherently self-destructive” to a captive listener wearing a black Info Wars t-shirt. In the main nightclub, a full-wall projector plays videos of Trump’s inauguration speech and Soviet propaganda.
“Who do you write for?” I’m asked numerous times throughout the night.
“The Daily Caller,” I say to welcoming nods having just passed some type of litmus test.
At quarter past eleven, we’re treated to a cabaret-style performance from the Siberian Sex Circus pitting a Milo lookalike against faux ISIS troops wearing pink kitten hats. Camera lights flash. The actor karate chops and brandishes a phallic sex toy. Suddenly, the real Milo emerges wearing a Balmain golden embroidered custom jacket.
“MILO! MILO! MILO!” the crowd chants.
The real Milo throws a fake plastic arm that hits me in the face.
“MILO! MILO! MILO!”
“We gather in these sexist and misogynistic groups with really hot girls to laugh at those who oppose us,” the provocateur roars to applause. “We’re here to celebrate the downfall of CNN.”
“F*** CNN! F*** CNN! F*** CNN!” the room screams.
“I didn’t send a copy [of my book] to Lena Dunham because there are no depictions of fiddling your own seven-year-old sister. I didn’t send one to Amy Schumer because I was afraid she’d eat it. I didn’t send one to Hillary Clinton because I was afraid she’d be dead by the time she received it.”
It’s a standup set meant to shock and appease a fan-base who relish in his antics. Given the reception, it does the job.
“I’m grateful for all of you for voting for daddy,” he finishes to chants of “USA!”
I leave the club physically and mentally exhausted, right as the jihadi strippers come out. Oh well. On the Metro North back to New Haven, a man in front of me reads yesterday’s edition of the New York Post. On the third page is an article from reporter Keith J. Kelly: “Milo Yiannopoulos’ book is already out of stock.”
“Milo…I can’t even start,” the passenger mutters to his partner.
I almost tell him about my evening, but decide against it.
Some things best exist within a safe space.
Davis Richardson is a fellow at America’s Future Foundation. His writing has appeared in VICE, Nylon Magazine, BULLETT Media, The Daily Caller, and WIRED. Follow him on Twitter