Milo Yiannopoulos keeps getting a question on his “Dangerous Faggot” tour of American university campuses: When is he going to debate his enemy and former Breitbart News colleague Ben Shapiro?
The debate idea originally surfaced in May, after the “alt-right” darling Yiannopoulos challenged Shapiro to an argument on his Facebook page. “I’ve challenged Ben Shapiro to a debate, with Dave Rubin as moderator,” he wrote, calling for the talk show host and comedian to lead the discussion. “I’ve suggested the motion: ‘Donald Trump is good for America.’”
Once coworkers, they had a falling out over Trump — Shapiro hates him, Yiannopolous loves him. Shapiro left Breitbart in March to start his own site, The Daily Wire. That came after an incident in which ex-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski assaulted Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, with Breitbart refusing to defend her because of its pro-Trump stance. Meanwhile, Yiannopoulos has celebrated the incoming leader, hosting a party for other “Queers for Trump” at the Republican National Convention and praising the president-elect as “Daddy.”
Shapiro initially agreed to the debate in the spring, but withdrew in July after Yiannopoulos failed to reply for a couple weeks, something that Shapiro asserted was a sign that Yiannopoulos was an “intellectual coward.” For his part, Yiannopoulos said, “I didn’t reply on time, because I was busy because I have better things to do, because I’m a lot more successful than he is.”
But Yiannopoulos now says the debate could still be on. “I’m still open to it. I’d like very much for it to happen on the Dave Rubin Show. He’s the fly in the ointment at the moment, I’m afraid,” he said in an appearance last year at Western Carolina University.
So will it happen? Shapiro has not commented on the matter since backing out of the forum after Yiannopoulos’ non-response. Stay tuned.
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.