Milo Yianopoulos at Rutgers University
Milo Yianopoulos at Rutgers University Nadav Salomon

Last week, the Anti-Defamation League released its “Alt Right to Alt Lite: Naming the Hate” watch list of people it claimed are engaged in the promotion of bigotry and extremism.

The list, which was billed as a who’s who of white supremacists and fringe right-wing hate group leaders, included neo-Nazi activists like Andrew Anglin and Andrew Auernheimer of The Daily Stormer, Dillon Irizarry of the Vanguard America organization, Matthew Heimbach and Matthew Parrott of the Traditionalist Worker Party, and white separatist Richard Spencer.

Lumped in with these notorious promoters of racial animus on the ADL’s “Naming the Hate” list, however, were also members of what the report defines as “Alt Lite”: “right-wing activists who refused to publicly embrace white supremacist ideology,” but who the ADL claims hate “feminists and immigrants, among others”.

Among the 10 individuals listed as Alt Lite bigots are pundits, bloggers, amateur filmmakers, and activists with little to no connection to the kind of fringe ideas pushed by those listed in the first half of the ADL report.

Former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, for example, is included in the ADL hate list with prominent neo-Nazis because he, the ADL claims, “is actually an instigator who specializes in attacking groups he dislikes. He has launched vicious trolling attacks against women, Black Lives Matter activists, transgender people, and Muslims.”

While Yiannopoulos has made public attacks on individual women and Muslims and has criticized the progressive narrative on transgender identity, no evidence is provided by the ADL of bigotry or bigoted rhetoric by Yiannopoulos.

But the danger created by the ADL’s accusation is very real, Yiannopoulos claims.

“The ADL – Anti-Defamation League is trying to get me and others like Mike Cernovich hurt or killed by painting targets on our backs and including us in ‘hate lists’,” Yiannopoulos wrote via Facebook.

“It’s all very well laughing at how stupid they are for thinking (or pretending to think) that Mike and I are ‘purveyors of hate’, but this is why my annual private security bill is over $500,000. The Left wants my life to be dangerous and expensive so I shut up. Well. I will not shot up. But the next time a deranged Bernie fan opens fire on conservatives, remember where he got the idea that we are the same as Neo-Nazi death squads just because we like the Bible and guns and hate taxes and political correctness.”

In February, a planned speech by Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley was cancelled after demonstrations against the address turned violent.

Rebel Media commentator and former Fox News contributor Gavin McInnes was also included on the ADL list, largely because of his satiric “10 things I hate about Jews” video released at the end of a Rebel Media tour of Israel.

After the faux rant was lauded by white supremacists online, McInnes was quick to reject their support, writing via Twitter to David Duke “F*** you. You’re talking about a clip out of context that includes the words ‘Don’t take this out of context’.”

McInnes later said: “No offense, Nazis, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I don’t like you. I like Jews.”

Nevertheless, the ADL included McInnes, citing his endorsement of what he calls “Western chauvinism” and support for “Judeo-Christian values”.

In a video response released on Monday, McInnes blasted the comparison between himself and other alleged “alt liters” and neo-Nazis.

"You put us on a hit list. And I have been attacked [because of] these lists."

McInnes accused ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt of pushing the organization towards the left, and away from its original mission of combating anti-Semitism.

"These guys are conning Jews. I think they're going up to old, scared, rich Jews and getting their money. Their donors have cultural PTSD from World War II, and justifiably so, and they're paranoid."

"Greenblatt is an Obama guy, he's an Obama publicist."

"The ADL is just Obama's campaign; it's not really finding threats to Jews."

Real anti-Semites, added McInnes, were often ignored or whitewashed when they don’t fit the ADL’s preconceived narrative.

"I can find hundreds of examples of Jews being threatened, being attacked, being hurt, of needing armed bodyguards all around the Western world and in America. I can find an example of a woman who killed two Israelis being glorified by liberals and told she's going to lead the woman's march."