Donald Trump isn’t the only one profiting off his presidency. Mysterious hedge-funder Robert Mercer played his cards right when he bet on a lucrative combination of Donald Trump, Breitbart News, right-wing data firm Cambridge Analytica, and Milo Yiannopoulos. Leaked information suggests that the controversial former Breitbart tech editor weathered the recent rise and fall of his book deal with Simon & Schuster and departure from Breitbart due to financial and legal support from the Mercer family.
Yiannopoulos fell from conservative grace after controversial comments on pedophilia crossed the line even for free-speech advocates. However, he seems determined to make a comeback. For one, he recently sued his former publisher for harming his brand. For another, a recent press release from Milo Inc. described their current setup as a “fully tooled-up talent factory and management company dedicated to the destruction of political correctness and the progressive left.” Yiannopoulos still has friends in high places determined to see his brand succeed and despite some of the aspects of how Yiannopoulos’ brand and business are set up, including his reliance upon a large number of young, inexperienced staffers, although he’s said to have ensured that it’s ultimately his message that reaches the public.
That said, it’s a message that the Mercers reportedly approve of, and want to amplify despite Yiannopoulos’ recent PR setbacks. An anonymous source who spoke to Buzzfeed explained, “The Mercers want to do whatever they can to bring this new style of conservatism to a younger generation. Milo did that for Breitbart with their money and they see no reason to change that.” Indeed, the Mercers also have ties others with similar messages in the orbit of Breitbart and Trump, including Steve Bannon. In fact, Steve Bannon might have been similarly kept afloat by the Mercers’ encouragement and belief in his work. Additionally, it was revealed today that the Mercers have given roughly half a million dollars to Paul Ryan’s fundraising committee, and they recently purchased a considerable stake in Time Magazine.
It’s hard to tell from official financial records how legitimate these leaks are. Yiannopoulos has raised capital for his own media company, and the Mercers are set up to have multiple financial channels that could be used to discreetly fund Yiannopoulos’ media empire, if they chose. Public statements leave the final decisions of both parties ambiguous. Part of that could be because Yiannopoulos has been on sinking sand since he resigned from Breitbart. His immigration status came under immediate question — he’s a British citizen — and in March, Homeland Security sent him a letter discussing the possibility of revoking his visa.
However, emails he sent at the time suggested he was confident that if it came down to it, the Mercers would give him a nominal position in one of their businesses that would enable him to stay in the States. It makes sense both sides want to avoid calling attention to immigration and finance issues that could highlight their mutual aims.