Milo Yiannopoulos said he was joking when he sent a text message to reporters, "I can't wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight."
The remark made the gay right-wing provocateur a trending topic on social media, following the Thursday shooting of the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md.
Later in the day, Yiannopoulos posted a statement to Facebook that said his message, reportedly sent this week to writers at The Daily Beast and The Observer, was a "joke" that was meant as a "troll" to the journalists.
"I sent a troll about 'vigilante death squads' as a *private* response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, 'Fuck off,'" Yiannopoulos wrote. "[The media] then published it. Amazed they were pretending to take my joke as a 'threat,' I reposted these stories on Instagram to mock them -- and to make it clear that I wasn't being serious."
Yiannopoulos, who is notoriously transphobic, also threw the trans community under the bus in his response. "I wouldn't be at all surprised if this shooter -- just like the last one at YouTube -- is another demented left-winger," he wrote. "Let's hope it's another transgender shooter, too, so the casualties are minimal."
At least five have been killed and several others have been injured in the Annapolis shooting, reports The New York Times. The suspect, described as a white adult male by the Times, is in custody.
Read Yiannopoulos's full statement below.
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