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Conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos comments on the graffiti wall controversy from earlier this year during his talk in Nelson Commons on December 2, 2016. (EMMA HOWELLS | PHOTO EDITOR)

Milo Yiannopoulos met with little direct opposition during campus visit

Clarification appended.

Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was met with little opposition Friday night when he spoke at Nelson Commons, blasting feminism, "limp-wristed" gender studies majors, Muslims and liberals in general.

In the past, Yiannopoulos' events have been plagued by bomb threats and protesters, but there were none at OU on Friday. The only interruptions during Yiannopoulos' speech came from his supporters. Yiannopoulos joked OU was "low-energy" due to the lack of protests.

"I don't endorse everything he said, there were definitely some things I disagree with," David Parkhill, the president of the College Republicans, who invited Yiannopoulos to campus, said.  "However I think the overall message was very good."

As opposition to the event, the Multicultural Action Coalition held a counter event called Pride Pachanga at the Living Learning Center.

The event included members of the LGBT Center, Women's Center and Black Student Union, among others, according to a previous Post report.

LGBT Center Director delfin bautista was one of the few attending both events.

"I'm curious as to what he has to say," bautista said. "There are other faculty members here, and we're interested in the conversation, even if we disagree with it."

Bautista was not the only one curious — the line to get in extended past Crawford, and nearly every seat in Nelson Commons, which holds 300, was filled. Yiannopoulos' fans had come from miles around to see the man in person.

"He talks about what's important and tells the truth," Katie Polling, a Logan resident, said.

Blaize Hart, a freshman studying film, arrived wearing the rainbow flag as a cape.

"I think he's outrageous," Hart said. "But he says things that need to be said."

Later during the event, Yiannopoulos touched on feminism, safe spaces and free speech on campus. Some comments were more controversial than others.

At one point, Yiannopoulos suggested Mecca should be bombed.

Yiannopoulos insisted he was joking.

"Nobody thinks I actually want to do that," he said after the event.

But Parkhill was concerned some people might not be able to determine the difference.

"There has to be a line drawn between what he's joking about and what he's dead serious about," Parkhill said. "People don't look at him as a comedian, and I think people have to look at him as a comedian."

Yiannopoulos said he was inspired to come to campus after concerns over Graffiti Wall earlier this year, when "Trump 2016" and "Build the Wall" were painted on the wall, drawing the criticism of some groups.

"It turned into a little sensation," Yiannopoulos told the Post. "It's a perfect example of the ill-liberalism and the intolerance and the lunacy of college administrators and campus politics." 

Yiannopoulos added that he was not a supporter of the religious right, but said he was a conservative because he believed liberals currently presented the biggest challenge to free speech. 

"I'm not a political figure, I'm a cultural figure," Yiannopoulos said. "Wherever the threats to culture are is where I go, which is why, in a sense, I'm more significant than Trump and will last longer. Because I'll be around in 30, 40 years talking about stuff that actually matters."

@torrantial

lt688112@ohio.edu 

This article has been updated with additional information for context.

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