Taki Theodoracopulos

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Taki Theodoracopulos
Παναγιώτης Θεοδωρακόπουλος
Theodoracopulos on TV show After Dark in 1991
Panagiotis Theodoracopulos

(1936-08-11) 11 August 1936 (age 87)
Alma materUniversity of Virginia
Occupation(s)Journalist, publisher, writer

Panagiotis "Taki" Theodoracopulos (/ˌθədɔːrəˈkɒpələs/; Greek: Παναγιώτης "Τάκης" Θεοδωρακόπουλος [panaˈʝotis ˈtacis θeoðoraˈkopulos]; born 11 August 1936)[1] is a Greek writer and publisher who founded Taki's Magazine and co-founded The American Conservative. His column "High Life" appeared in British weekly The Spectator from 1977 to 2023. He has lived in New York City, London, and Gstaad.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

The son of a Greek shipping magnate,[3] Theodoracopulos was privately educated in the United States at Lawrenceville School and Blair Academy[4] before attending the University of Virginia.[5]

Theodoracopulos was a sportsman early in life. He represented Greece at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1962,[6] having been a tennis player beforehand, including playing at the 1961 French Championship.[7]


Theodoracopulos's column "High Life" has appeared in British weekly The Spectator since 1977, where he wrote a series of controversial articles, including one claiming that black people had lower IQs than other people, for which Boris Johnson, made editor in 1999, later apologised.[8][9] He has also written for other US and UK publications, including Esquire, Hamptons Magazine, Newsweek, the New York Press, The Sunday Times, and Vanity Fair.[10]

In 1984, he was arrested for the possession of cocaine, after attempting to board a plane at Heathrow Airport, and served three months in HMP Pentonville.[3][5] He documented his prison experiences in Nothing to Declare: Prison Memoirs (1991) and discussed them in an extended appearance on the British television programme After Dark.

In 2002, Theodoracopulos founded The American Conservative magazine with Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell.[11] He was also the publisher of the British magazine Right Now![citation needed] He currently publishes and writes for Taki's Magazine. In 2016, the organization Proud Boys was launched with an article in Taki's Magazine by Gavin McInnes.[12][13][14]

Theodoracopulos appeared in the 2013 James Toback film Seduced and Abandoned as himself.[15][16]

He received criticism for writing in support of Greek ultranationalist political party Golden Dawn, describing them as "good old-fashioned patriotic Greeks" in a 2013 editorial. The editor of The Spectator, Fraser Nelson, defended Theodoracopulos by tweeting that "Our readers like diversity and well-written pieces that they disagree with. We have no party line."[17][18] In a 2021 interview, months after many Golden Dawn leaders were convicted by Greek courts for heading a criminal organisation, the chairman of The Spectator, Andrew Neil, who does not have influence over the magazine editorially, condemned the column, stating it was "beyond the pale". He further added that he had requested the editor to inform Theodoracopulos that he should not return to that topic following its publication.[19]

His frequent criticism of Israel[20] led Conrad Black to accuse him of antisemitism.[21][third-party source needed] In 2018, he wrote an article commemorating D-Day in which he praised the Wehrmacht and asked readers to sympathize with them.[22][23][24]


Theodoracopulos has expressed racist views, directed against West Indians, Puerto Ricans, and Jews, among others.[25] He has been accused of using the racial epithets "nigger" and "Sambo" to describe black people[26] and he referred to Saudi royal family members as "ruling towelheads".[10]

In 2003, he and the then Spectator editor Boris Johnson were investigated by the Metropolitan Police in London after publishing an allegedly racist article attacking black lawyer and political activist Peter Herbert, which led to death threats being made against Herbert.[27] In the article he also expressed his fondness for anti-immigration politician Enoch Powell, criticising West Indian immigration to the UK and complaining "The rivers of blood speech by Enoch was prophetic as well as true and look what the bullshitters of the time did to the great man."[27]

Attempted rape conviction[edit]

On 5 October 2023, Theodoracopulos received a 12-month suspended sentence for an attempted rape that occurred in 2009 in his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. His lawyer indicated that he would appeal the verdict by a Swiss court.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Theodoracopulos has an interest in Asian martial arts, and holds a black belt in karate.[29] He owned a 37.5-metre yacht named Bushido that was put up for sale in 2012.[30]


  • Theodoracopulos, Taki, The Greek Upheaval: Kings, Demagogues and Bayonets. London: Stacey International, 1976.
  • Taki and Jeffrey Bernard, High Life, Low Life, introduction by Richard West, edited by Cosmo Landesman. London: Jay Landseman, 1981. ISBN 0-905150-27-9
  • Taki, Princes, Playboys & High-Class Tarts, foreword by Tom Wolfe, illustrations by Blair Drawson. Princeton: Karz-Cohl Publishers, 1984. ISBN 0-943828-61-9
  • Taki, High Life, selected by Andrew Cameron, illustrated by Michael Heath. London: Viking, 1989. ISBN 0-670-82956-0
  • Taki, Nothing to Declare: Prison Memoirs, London: Viking, 1991. ISBN 0-670-83276-6
  • Glass, Charles (ed.), Taki: The Spectator Columns, 2001–2009, London, Quartet, 2010. ISBN 978-0-7043-7192-7


  1. ^ "Taki". The Spectator.
  2. ^ Eaton, Phoebe (31 October 2014). "Gstaad: The Last Resort". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 7 January 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b Bell, Matthew (15 May 2010). "What's the point of Taki if he isn't offensive any more?". The Independent. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Taki Speaks at Skeptics". Blair Academy. 9 April 2008. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b Byrne, Ciar (12 June 2006). "The Indestructible Journos". The Independent. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Skiing for pleasure » 19 Mar 2005 » The Spectator Archive". The Spectator Archive.
  7. ^ "Taki: on the tennis circuit". AVS Allmedia.
  8. ^ Purnell, Sonia (2011). Just Boris: Boris Johnson: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity. London: Aurum Press Ltd. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-84513-665-9.
  9. ^ "Boris says sorry over 'blacks have lower IQs' article in the Spectator". Evening Standard. 2 April 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  10. ^ a b "To Slur, with Love: 'Ironic Racism' is More Than Just Taki". The New York Observer. 16 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Patrick J. Buchanan Papers, White House Special Files, 01/21/1969 - 12/31/1972", Online Archive of California, accessed 14 February 2023
  12. ^ "The rise of the Proud Boys in the US". 7 October 2020.
  13. ^ Coaston, Jane (15 October 2018). "The Proud Boys, the bizarre far-right street fighters behind violence in New York, explained". Vox. Archived from the original on 17 October 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2020. The Proud Boys were officially launched in September 2016, on the website of Taki's Magazine, a far-right publication for which white nationalist Richard Spencer once served as executive editor.
  14. ^ Martin, Nick R. (19 October 2018). "Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes has been using the same anti-gay slur hurled in the NYC attack for at least 15 years". Southern Poverty Law Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2021. Back in 2011, Gavin McInnes, the writer and talk show host who would later found the Proud Boys, published his thoughts about anti-gay and racial slurs on the paleoconservative website Taki's Magazine... McInnes even used the anti-gay epithet in the column that announced the formation of the Proud Boys. The group began, he wrote, by "laughing at the politically correct culture they insist we take seriously."
  15. ^ Theodoracopulos, Taki (25 May 2013). "What's Cannes all about? Seducing someone important". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  16. ^ Ross, Deborah (9 November 2013). "Ryan Gosling couldn't play Taki better than Taki". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  17. ^ York, Chris (23 July 2013). "Should The Spectator Have Published An Article Defending Golden Dawn?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  18. ^ Hollander, Gavriel (23 July 2013). "Spectator editor defends column supporting Greek far-right party Golden Dawn". Press Gazette. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  19. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Media Show, Andrew Neil: a 50-year media career". BBC.
  20. ^ "High seas and high horses – Opinion". The Jerusalem Post. 5 October 2018. Archived from the original on 5 October 2018.
  21. ^ Black, Conrad (3 March 2001). "MY FRIEND TAKI HAS GONE TOO FAR". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 31 July 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Respected British magazine publishes defense of Nazi German troops". The Times of Israel. Jewish Telegraph Agency. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  23. ^ Walker, James (5 April 2019). "Spectator editor Fraser Nelson claims power of editors 'comically overstated' in 500th issue under his editorship". Press Gazette. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  24. ^ Waterson, Jim (17 July 2018). "Spectator removes Harvey Weinstein quotes from interview". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Leader: Boris Johnson". TheGuardian.com. 21 October 2004.
  26. ^ Freeman, Alan (3 March 2001). "Black berates U.K. columnist". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  27. ^ a b "Spectator and its Tory MP editor may face charges over Taki race rant". The Guardian. 28 February 2003.
  28. ^ "Taki Theodoracopulos given 12-month suspended sentence for attempted rape". The Guardian. 5 October 2023. Retrieved 5 October 2023.
  29. ^ Theodoracopulos, Taki (19 July 2013). "Black Belts and Golden Dawn". Taki's Magazine. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  30. ^ Coletti, Paul (28 June 2012). "Taki's Yacht Bushido for Sale". Paul Coletti. Retrieved 8 November 2015.

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