Milo Yiannopoulos urged vigilantes to start 'gunning journalists down' just 2 days before the deadly Capital Gazette shooting
- Milo Yiannopoulos told an Observer journalist "I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight" two days before the fatal Capital Gazette shooting.
- Five people were killed and several more injured on Thursday at the Maryland newspaper.
- Yiannopoulos has since claimed that his message was a joke, defending his comment and criticizing the media.
Milo Yiannopoulos encouraged vigilantes to start "gunning journalists down" just two days before a Maryland newspaper was targeted in a mass shooting that killed five people.
Yiannopoulos, the prominent right-wing figure and former senior editor at conservative news website Breitbart, told US news website Observer over text message: "I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight."
He was responding to a request about a longer feature about a restaurant he is said to frequent, according to the outlet. When asked to elaborate by the Observer, Yiannopoulos said that the statement was his "standard response to a request for comment."
Five people were killed and several more "gravely injured" in a shooting on Thursday afternoon at the Capital Gazette's newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland.
These are the victims of the deadly shooting:
The acting police chief William Krampf said it was a "targeted attack." The suspected gunman had filed a defamation lawsuit against the newsroom in 2012, which he lost. Several of those killed had decades of experience in journalism.
Since the shooting, Yiannopoulos has criticized journalists for drawing a connection between his comments and the shooting. In a post on his Facebook page, he accused the media of trying to score "political points" and claimed that the message had been a "joke."
"I regret nothing I said, though of course like any normal person I am saddened to hear of needless death," he said.
"I sent a troll about 'vigilante death squads' as a *private* response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, 'Fuck off.' They then published it.
"Amazed they were pretending to take my joke as a 'threat,' I reposted these stories on Instagram to mock them — and to make it clear that I wasn’t being serious."
Yiannopoulos also claimed on Friday that thousands of tweets accused him "of being responsible for these deaths."
He suggested that the outlets that published his comments before the attack could be responsible for the shootings. He shared an article from Dangerous.com with the headline "Did the Daily Beast and New York Observer Just Get Journalists Killed?" and added the caption: "But will they take responsibility?"
In a post on his Instagram page, he suggested that he was going to sue Observer. In screenshots of messages sent to reporter Davis Richardson, he said: "Your life is over."
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