Political provocateur and professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos’s career is coming apart at the seams after a recording of him defending pedophilia surfaced recently. Here’s an excerpt from a longer piece I heartily recommend for a good laugh (“Discarded Troll Milo Yiannopoulos Is Now Useless to Conservatives,” Slate, 2/21/2017):
In quick succession, Yiannopoulos’ invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference was withdrawn, his $250,000 Simon and Schuster book contract was canceled, and on Tuesday afternoon, he resigned from Breitbart. Even Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who coined the term alt-right, now dismisses him.
But Yiannopoulos is (unsuccessfully) trying to play the “muh freeze peach” card that right-wingers love to use as a crutch for whatever stupid thing they most recently said:
“Go into any drag bar or gay club, and you will hear joke after joke about clerical sexual abuse,” he said. “I’m not afforded the same freedom to make those kind of jokes, because the media chooses to selectively define me as a political figure in some circumstances and a comedian in others.”
He’s right to an extent—being a public figure means what you do and say is under more scrutiny than it is for Joe Tuesday. But that’s the point. What Milo does and what regular people who are not famous in a club do are different. One is a public figure who has willingly put himself in the spotlight, and did so by being a gay Ann Coulter for millennials—meaning he purposely said outrageous and offensive things in order to get a rise out of people and continue to feed the right’s insatiable thirst for reasons to hate everyone. The others are normal people in a club having discussions that they can reasonably expect to remain private. And the media does not ‘selectively define’ Yiannopoulos; he was a writer for Breitbart and was invited to speak at CPAC. He’s a political figure.
Yiannopoulos—and by extension the right—has tried to turn this into a matter of free speech; “If I can’t say whatever I want without repercussions, I’m not free.” It’s been a tactic of the right to reframe conversations about free speech not around the legality of speech, but around the simple fact that they have grievances about there being real-world repercussions to publicly airing bigotry. When there’s a reaction such as a right-wing figure having a lecture at a university cancelled, they throw up their hands and claim the left is being intolerant of their intolerance and infringing upon their free speech. Donald Trump said as much when he cancelled his own rally.
But it’s not a free speech issue. You can defend someone’s right to say what they want while vehemently disagreeing with the content—as I do with Milo’s right to say he thinks boy fucking is cool, even though I think the idea and his endorsement of it are reprehensible. Milo’s merely upset that this particular snafu is the one that is currently tanking his career prospects. Personally, I think it’s high time he was shamed out of public life considering all the horrific things he’s said over the years.
Not to mention he wrote this:
Hypocritical piece of shit.