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This article has been updated to clarify the desription of Breitbart News Network.
West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee released a statement today that defended his decision to allow Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus while also condemning Yiannopoulos’ attack on a faculty member.
During a tour stop on Thursday, Dec. 2, at West Virginia University, Yiannopoulos – an editor for Breitbart News Network – praised WVU’s Mountaineer mascot, particularly for the fact that he fires a rifle during football games. Former executive chair Steve Bannon has described Breibart as “the platform for the alt-right,” a name that encompasses white nationalists and others embracing white identity politics, including white supremacy.
Then he added, “There’s one thing about this college however that I’ve got to tell you, I’m not fond of,” he said. A slide with a photo of Daniel Brewster, a sociology instructor who is openly gay, and a homophobic slur appeared on the screen.
Yiannopoulos is known nationally for his sexist and racist stances. The audience responded with laughter, and Yiannopoulos continued to make fun of Brewster’s weight and sexuality.
Gee issued a statement Friday defending the university’s decision to invite Yiannopoulos to speak, while condemning the speaker’s attack on Brewster.
“It is one thing to share differing opinions that others may find offensive,” Gee said in his statement. “It is another to be defamatory and target individuals. I personally condemn the tactic this speaker chose to vindictively attack one of our faculty members, Daniel Brewster.”
Yiannopoulos went after Brewster and accused Brewster, who is openly gay, of holding an event for World AIDS Day during Yiannopoulos’s talk to pull the audience from the speaker’s event.
But a university spokesperson said that Brewster’s event was scheduled in July by the College Republicans, months before Yiannopoulos was invited to speak..
Gee and WVU students also took to Twitter today to show support for Brewster, using the hashtag “#BecauseofBrewster” to publicly state the impact Brewster had on their lives.