Milo Yiannopoulos' Australian Tour Has Been Cancelled And Fans Want Refunds
Fans are angry after the Australian tour for controversial alt-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was cancelled, and their tickets transferred to the tour of an unrelated American "western chauvinist".
Yiannopoulos, formerly of Steve Bannon's news site Breitbart, was due to visit Australia for a five-date speaking tour with conservative voice Ann Coulter in December. Promoters said the pair would speak on the topic of "how to save Australia".
Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter for harassing actress Leslie Jones, lost a book deal after comments about paedophilia, and has been linked to neo-Nazis and white supremacists, including a video where he sang karaoke in front of people clearly performing Nazi salutes.
His 2017 tour of Australia saw large protests. He was feted by politicians such as Pauline Hanson and David Leyonhjelm, and interviewed repeatedly on mainstream TV. The tour was reportedly left with a $50,000 police bill for security, which as of July was still yet to be paid.
On Monday, the tour promoter AE Media emailed ticketholders to advise that "due to unforeseen circumstances" the new tour would be cancelled.
The email did not mention the possibility of ticket refunds -- instead, AE Media said tickets would be honoured for the tour of Gavin McInnes, the leader of the American group Proud Boys.
Proud Boys is an alt-right "western chauvinist" group that admits only men, and appears to glorify violence. The organisation has been classed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, and has been involved in several violent street brawls around political demonstrations.
"We will kill you. That's the Proud Boys in a nutshell," McInnes once said on his internet talk show.
"We look nice, we seem soft... but we will assassinate you."
He will appear alongside British conservative personality Tommy Robinson, who was recently jailed over contempt of court charges stemming from a controversial trial in Britain.
The tour has been named 'The Deplorables'.
There have been calls for McInnes to be barred from Australia, with Labor asking for McInnes to be denied a visa while a public petition to block the Proud Boys founder's visit has garnered 37,000 signatures.
Yiannopoulos appeared to be taken by surprise by the tour cancellation. On Instagram on Wednesday morning -- a day and a half after the promoter emailed ticketholders to advise of the tour cancellation -- he wrote:
"Yesterday, I woke up to the news that my Australian tour with Ann had been cancelled and the promoter was “transferring” tickets to another series of events."
"If you’re a ticket holder and want a refund, they are obliged to give you one and I will make sure that happens. (Of course, if you do want to attend the other tour -- go ahead! Two great speakers.)," he continued.
He said he was working with lawyers to make sure the promoters fulfill their obligations to ticket holders, and he said he will tour Australia in 2019 "with a more established promoter."
Fans replied to the post saying they had been "left in a state of confusion" and "want a full refund".
"It's like paying for a mystery flight and landing in f***ing Kalgoorlie," one fan responded.
Coulter has not commented on social media on the cancellation. The website for the tour, AnnAndMiloLive.com.au, has had its prior content removed and replaced with the text of the email from AE Media to ticketholders.
ten daily has contacted AE Media for comment, and for clarification on when fans can expect refunds.
In a brief follow-up email to ticketholders on Wednesday, fans were told refunds may "take some time" because promoters have to "recoup fees from suppliers etc."
"If you don't mind waiting please reply to this email with the following information by 5th of October 2018", the promoter wrote, asking ticket holders to supply details including bank account numbers.
Fans posted their complaints on Yiannopoulos' Facebook page in recent days, criticising the promoter's initial failure to mention refunds.
Ticket holder Ezequiel Trumper told ten daily he was disappointed the promoter did not offer refunds initially, and did not want to attend McInnes' tour.
"I don't even know who [McInnes and Robinson] are. I don't think that was the right thing to do," he said.
"If you book to see Elton John, you don't get that replaced with a ticket to see Phil Collins."
Trumper said he had emailed the promoter several times but was "ignored", and has lodged a complaint with NSW Fair Trading.