Milo Yiannopoulos Controversies

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Milo Yiannopoulos

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Milo Yiannopoulos

Amidst the scrutiny that journalism has been under as of late, free speech is more important than ever. The campaign that Donald Trump has launched against the media, under the pretense of fighting “fake news,” might suggest that proponents of free speech should use their power for more good than evil. However, there are some that decide to use their influence for more unsavory items on their agenda. Perhaps the one of the most notable of these few is actually a journalist himself, the infamous Milo Yiannopoulos.

Whether you know him by his distorted political views or just know him by name, Milo has definitely caused some disruptions on the social and political spectrum as of late. As far as Milo’s credentials go, Milo is perhaps most notably known for his work as former senior editor and tech writer with far right Breitbart News, a source of news that Donald Trump so elegantly declared “a very big thing.” Milo has written and helped write a number of books, with his own book Forbidden Thoughts and his help on such books like SJW’s Always Lie and No Campus for White Men. Among his other accomplishments are his appraisal by Steve Bannon, former senior editor of Breitbart and now current senior advisor to the president, and his standings in the Top 100 Most Influential People in the UK in 2011 and 2012. From just the looks of these qualifications that he certainly holds a great amount of influence over those who follow him.

So what makes Milo so controversial in the media? One of the first things you could comment on is his association with the dreaded alt-right. Milo has claimed in the past that he has no actual connection to the alt-right and that he denies their endorsement. However, this has not stopped him from commenting that the alt-right are “dangerously bright.” Despite his denial of his involvement with the bigot group, he certainly has quite a few of the same ideologies that the alt-right have. He has frequently discredited the feminism movement by calling it a “cancer” to society, and has said the same about other social movements like Black Lives Matter. This is where a large majority of his controversy comes into play.

Milo sees himself as, above all, a proponent of free speech. He enjoys tampering with his limits to see just how far his rhetoric can take him, and that’s where he finds himself in trouble. One of his largest social scandals he was involved in was his banning from Twitter in the summer of 2016 after he and many of his alt-right followers went on a racist tirade against African-American actress Leslie Jones. Because of the many tweets he made harassing her directly, Twitter initiated a permanent ban against Milo. Milo’s twitter account, named “Nero,” appropriately named, also went on several other attacks against celebrities and politicians, like attacking Mitt Romney’s adopted grandson, who Milo referred to as “his token.” Besides his racist remarks, he has made statements against the homosexual community, saying that being gay is “aberrant” and “a lifestyle choice guaranteed to bring unhappiness.” This comes as a surprise given that Milo himself is gay. His views on these matters have led to several violent protests and banning from college campuses like UC Berkeley and many others.

His most recent scandal was the very one that had him fired from Breitbart and cost him his book deal for his upcoming book Dangerous. About a year ago, Milo made several statements declaring that pedophilia was reasonable in some circumstances, using an anecdote from his childhood where he was supposedly abused by his church. One of his arguments was that “ pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who is sexually mature” but rather that “pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty.” These disgusting claims were even too much for the infamous Breitbart to endorse, and Milo resigned shortly after.

Many people defend Milo for some of his claims and that he should not have faced the absolute destruction of his career, saying his rhetoric is perfectly fine under free speech. That is something that is reasonable to defend in many cases. Under no circumstances should speech be censored, even hideously distorted speech like Milo’s. However, Milo did this to himself. He played his hand too hard, and pushed his limits far beyond that of those who want to be involved with him. The organizations that have dropped him are not doing it for the sake of censorship, but rather because they do not want to be associated with the credulous persona that is Milo. Why should he be surprised that nobody desires his presence. Milo’s fall just goes to show that promoting hate speech in the name of “free speech” will only get you so far.  

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