A senior editor of Breitbart News, the alt-right website, has started accepting applications for a grant exclusively for white males.

Milo Yiannopoulos initially announced the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant in July and was widely criticised for fanning white nationalism.

Despite the uproar, Yiannopoulos announced on Tuesday (31 January) that he is now taking applications for the grant, which he admittedly started as a joke.

"My initiative to help white men further their education is now accepting applications. We've given it the brilliant name of the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant," he said.

"It started as a joke, but if you're a women, or you're black, if you're disabled, or you're Muslim, or a refugee, if you identify as an attack helicopter, you can get free money.

"But the facts say that actually it is young white boys who are educationally underprivileged – as educationally underprivileged as many other groups.

What is the alt-right?

The alt-right is a loose collection of people with far-right views that came into prominence during Donald Trump's election campaign. Many members operating online profess views related to white supremacism, nationalism, anti-feminism and Islamophobia, amongst others. There isn't a defined core ideology to the movement, aside from a rejection of America's mainstream conservatism. Alt-right members generally supported Donald Trump and hailed campaign promises to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and ban Muslims from entering the country.

With the rise of Stephen "Steve" Bannon, who was appointed as chief strategist and counselor to the president in Trump's White House team, there are fears that the alt-right now has a voice in the Oval Office. Bannon was previously executive chairman of the Breitbart News website, which he once called "a platform for the alt-right".

"So it did start as a joke, but nobody can resist the truth wrapped in a good joke, and there's nothing better than doing good while annoying the left. It is my favourite thing."

Yiannopoulos's comments drew renewed criticism from academics for mocking traditional forms of affirmative action.

UC Berkeley law professor Ian Haney Lopez told CNBC that affirmative action programs were undertaken "to welcome historically excluded and dehumanised groups into every school, neighbourhood and workplace."

"Affirmative action for white men is not social repair. Affirmative action for white men is a stunt to mock the moral and social importance of integration and to increase social strife," he said.

Princeton University professor Eddie S Glaude Jr said the program was part of "a white nationalist agenda clearly and unapologetically".

"We should all be deeply troubled by the connection between Steve Bannon in the White House and Milo Yiannopoulos at Breitbart," Glaude added.

 Milo Yiannopoulos
Milo Yiannopoulos holds a press conference near the Pulse Nightclub on 15 June 2016 in Orlando, Florida Getty Images/Drew Angerer