Though emails sent by organizers as late as 7:30 p.m. warned registered attendees that Tuesday’s “WAKE UP! (the most fab party at the RNC)” event was “sold out” and that attendees were sure to be turned away at the door, stragglers were still being let in as late as 11:30. Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart provocateur who had been permanently banned by Twitter earlier in the day, was speaking to a half-filled ballroom on Cleveland State’s campus.
The event featured a DJ booth under a Gadsden flag and flanked by nude and semi-nude portraits of men wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. Few attendees danced, but many did did rush to the front of the room when Geert Wilders, founder of the Dutch Party of Freedom, began speaking. Wilders struck the night’s tone by offering a cautionary tale of “Eurabia”: Europe in the throes of unchecked Muslim migration. He was followed by Pamela Geller, an “anti-Jihadist” who claimed Islam was a second apartheid and that Islamophobia doesn’t exist.
But the star of the evening, undoubtedly, was Yiannopoulos. Wearing sunglasses, he entered to a rock star’s welcome. He addressed the Twitter ban, which was for spearheading a harassment campaign against Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones. Yiannopoulos referred to her as a “black Ghostbuster” and the “tertiary star of a feminist flop.” His attention soon turned to the supposed coddling of Islamic radicals, as he claimed the mainstream media “hectored over pronouns” instead of focusing on “leaders ushering in a religion that hated” gays.
Outside, after Yiannopoulos had made his case, a protest group held a banner reading “Queers Against Racism.” They danced and chanted, “We’re here / we’re queer / your politics are really weird,” while handing out fliers that read, “There’s nothing fabulous about racism.”