Journalist Laurie Penny joins Yiannopoulos’s entourage at the Republican National Convention, the night he was banned from Twitter. “I’m a radical queer feminist leftist writer burdened with actual principles,” she says. “He thinks that’s funny and invites me to his parties.”
Penny describes the entourage:
There is Daryush Valizadeh, also known as Roosh V, self-styled leader in the “neo-masculinity” movement, author of a suspicious stack of sex travel guides and headline-hunting nano-celebrity in the world of ritualised internet misogyny. Roosh hates feminists for a living. He asks me what I’m doing here. I ask him the same question.
The interaction that follows is the most surreal episode in a deeply surreal evening. Roosh is tall and well-built and actually rather good-looking for, you know, a monster. I have opportunity to observe this because he puts himself right up in my personal space, blocking my view of the room with his T-shirt, and proceeds, messily and at length, to tell me what my problem is.
Number one: my haircut, and he’s telling me this as a man, makes my face look round. This is absolutely true. Number two: I seek to destroy the nuclear family, and disturb traditional relationships between men and women. This is also true, although I remind him that the nuclear family as it is currently conceived is actually a fairly recent social format. He insists that it’s thousands of years old, and asks me if I truly believe that it’s right for gay men to be able to adopt children. I tell him that I do. He appears as flummoxed by this as I do by his presence at what is supposed to be a party to celebrate Gay republicans. He’s here for the same reason I am: Milo invited him.
What surprises me about Roosh is that he seems to be a true believer. Unlike Milo, he appears to be—at least to some extent—convinced of the truth of what he’s saying. He is bitter and vindictive, convinced of his own victimhood as a self-made blogger who was never given his due by the mainstream media. He tells me that the reason I have a column is that I’m a useful idiot and all my readers have low IQs. I ask him if he’s negging me.