Update: This article was written shortly before Milo resigned from Breitbart.
I’ve made a habit of not mentioning Milo Yiannopoulos—the alt-right provocateur and (as of now) senior editor at Breitbart News. Not only do I not wish to give an attention whore more attention, I don’t find him particularly interesting (pro-tip: the key to maintaining an updated blog is to write about things you find interesting).
That is, until now. The current Milo news is interesting, because it reveals deep fractures within the conservative coalition—that motley crew of Tea Party leftovers, evangelicals, free-market fundamentalists, and Nazi frog trolls.
The latest is that Milo has been disinvited from this year’s CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) after a video surfaced where he defended pedophilia. In his place, sexual assault defender Donald Trump will be speaking. Word is that there is also a fierce debate within Breitbart whether Milo should be let go. Oh yeah, and Simon & Schuster canceled publication of his book.
The video in question resurfaced due to conservative blog Reagan Battalion:
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) February 20, 2017
Yiannopoulos expressed regret over the comments, and said he is disgusted by sexual abuse of minors. He’s also maintained that the video was edited deceptively. You can watch the entire linked interview and draw your own conclusion (he said “We are talking about 13-25, 13-28, these things do happen perfectly consensually,”—see if you can find the right context for that). Milo’s defense has been that he specifically said that “The law is probably about right (on consent laws),” but then he follows it with: “But there are certainly people capable giving consent at a younger age.”
There are a number of troubling byproducts of this. As some have pointed out, as a gay man himself, Milo is perpetrating the damaging idea that gay men are sexual deviants that approve of child sexual abuse. And no doubt part of Milo’s appeal to the right is that his persona plays into their worst stereotypes. While the Log Cabin Republicans struggled for a place within the conservative hierarchy, Milo almost made it to center-stage overnight.
Milo’s recent appearance on Bill Maher’s show may have been the peak of his 15 minutes of fame. When even the schlockmeisters at Breitbart are considering parting ways, you know he’s crossed the line. But the only shocking thing is that it took sinking this low for conservatives to send Milo packing, he’s had a long list of offenses to humanity. That conservatives should be surprised by what he said here is absurd, since Milo’s career has been built on bullying and attacking people—often the most vulnerable in society. Here are just 10 of his offenses CPAC seems to have dismissed:
- Gamergate: Milo’s career breakthrough in the U.S. came during the Gamergate controversy. A culture war brewed between mostly male gamers and the feminists/progressives who critiqued the video game industry. Severe harassment was directed towards video game developer Zoe Quinn and other women in the gaming industry. Milo stoked the fires with a story with the headline “Feminist bullies are tearing the videogame industry apart.” This expanded his audience, and contributed to the increasing harassment of women online.
- Smear campaign against Shaun King: Shaun King is a journalist and prominent member of the Black Lives Matter movement. Milo was responsible for a sickening series of articles claiming that King was lying about being black. The story was shamefully picked up by CNN, which led King to give painful details of his background. King never lied about his race—his father is a black man he had never met.
- Harassed a transgender student: While speaking at the University of Wisconsin, Milo mocked a transgender student and put her name and photo onscreen. “Have any of you come into contact with this person?” he asked. “This quote unquote nonbinary trans woman forced his way into the women’s locker rooms this year.” If you want to know why Milo was so unwelcome on campuses, there ya go.
- Harassment of Leslie Jones: After the release of the Ghostbusters movie featuring a female cast, Milo led his troll army to harass lead actress Leslie Jones. He began to tweet at Jones directly, and shared fake tweets pretending to be Jones. Jones was hit with vicious tweets with the typical alt-right racist drivel. Jones left Twitter temporarily, and Milo was permanently banned. Later, Jone’s personal website was hacked.
- Perpetrated the transgender predator myth: One could say it’s karma that Milo was busted for defending predatory behavior, considering a week earlier he unjustly accused an entire group of such behavior. In his recent appearance on Bill Maher’s show, he perpetuated the myth that allowing trans women into women’s bathrooms will put women in danger. Evidence shows this is not true, and often the opposite is the case.
- Threatened his unpaid writers: Milo was once the director of a blog in London called The Kernel. Former contributors said that Milo used their work without permission or payment, and a former editor won an unopposed claim for unpaid wages. When one of the writers tweeted about being unpaid, Milo emailed her: “You’ve already made yourself permanently unemployable in London with your hysterical, brainless tweeting, by behaving like a common prostitute and after starting a war with me,” He then threatened her with a salacious photo taken of her at a party.
- Called reporter a “thick-as-pig s**t media Jew”: While speaking at Minnesota State University, Milo called Buzzfeed writer Joe Bernstein “a typical example of a sort of thick-as-pig s**t media Jew, who has all these sort of right, P.C. politics.” What caused this vicious attack? Bernstein criticized Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace, the recently canceled Adult Swim show with an alt-right fan base.
- Playing footsie with white supremacy: Like many in the alt-right (which Milo insists he’s not a part of), Milo indulges in a sort of ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ relationship with ideological white supremacists. In his Guide to the Alt-Right, he name drops Richard Spencer, the white nationalist-publishing VDARE, and the ‘white advocacy’ magazine American Renaissance. He then comments “All of these websites have been accused of racism.” Like Trump, Milo is an opportunist who uses racism for his own ends—both are white supremacist ‘fellow travelers.’ But since Milo is gay, the feeling is not always mutual. Case in point: Richard Spencer has been throwing Milo under the bus ever since the current news broke, LULZ!
- The white guy scholarship fund: Milo collected between $100,000 and $250,000 for a proposed college scholarship for poor, young white men. The money was supposed to be awarded to “white men who wish to pursue their post-secondary education” by early summer 2016. But no scholarships were awarded. Months after collecting the money, it was still sitting in Milo’s bank account. Looking at the initial description for the fund, it’s no surprise the intent (besides profit) was typical goading of the left: “Milo Yiannopoulos has created the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant, a scholarship exclusively available to white men who wish [to be] on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates.”
- Mocked male computer gamers: I could have used many examples of the horrid things Milo has said about different groups. Most know that he’s said “feminism is cancer” and “Islam is cancer.” But I use Milo’s words about the group that was his earliest audience—male gamers—because this reveals what a scornful opportunist he really is. In 2013, he wrote: “there’s something a bit tragic, isn’t there, about men in their thirties hunched over a controller whacking a helmeted extraterrestrial? I’m in my late twenties, and even I find it sad. And yet there are so many of them – enough to support a multi-billion dollar video games industry. That’s an awful lot of unemployed saddos living in their parents’ basements.” It wasn’t long before he pandered to this same group. Which shows that—much like his “daddy” Trump—Milo is all about Milo, other people are only a means to an end. So now that he’s down, a Milo re-invention may be in the works. Who’s his next target?