- The Washington Times
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Breitbart News editor and right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has reportedly been tapped to deliver a keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week, fresh off a recent and heated appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

CPAC organizers are expected to confirm Mr. Yiannopoulos as one of this year’s keynoters in an announcement Saturday, according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR).

Others slated to speak at next week’s gathering include Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, and former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, in addition to Vice President Mike Pence and others, the website reported.

Mr. Yiannopoulos will reportedly be given more stage time than any of the 60 or so other guests scheduled to speak at CPAC next weekend in National Harbor, Md., however, according to THR.

His “wide-ranging” address will touch on topics including “third-wave feminism, the media, left-wing college professors, Black Lives Matter, violent ‘black bloc’ activists, and progressive elites in the entertainment industry,” according to a preview published by Breitbart on Saturday.

Mr. Yiannopoulos “is also expected to address the state of American conservatism, free speech, the Trump administration and how young conservatives and libertarians in America should focus their energies over the next ten years,” Breitbart said.

Indeed, Mr. Yiannopoulos’ opinions on those topics and others have transformed the 32-year-old writer into a divisive yet widely watched figure in recent years, evidenced by his headline-grabbing appearance on Friday’s episode of “Real Time” on HBO.

“All I care about is free speech and free expression,” Mr. Yiannopoulos said during Friday’s episode. “I want people to be able to be, do and say anything. These days, you’re right, that’s a conservative issue.”

Mr. Yiannopoulos earned President Trump’s attention earlier this month after a talk he had been scheduled to give at the University of California in Berkeley was canceled at the last minute after protesters started fires outside the venue.

“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS,” Mr. Trump tweeted Feb. 2.

According to CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp, organizers were motivated in part to book Mr. Yiannopoulos on account of his recent college appearance having caused controversy.

“An epidemic of speech suppression has taken over college campuses,” Mr. Schlapp told THR. “Milo has exposed their liberal thuggery and we think free speech includes hearing Milo’s important perspective.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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