Why The Right — And Everyone Else — Needs To Drop Milo Yiannopoulos
To call this time in political history polarizing would be an understatement. Just one month into the Trump administration and our President continues to light up the Twitterverse, Sean Spicer continues to lose it during his press briefings, the legitimacy of the press continues to be questioned at every anti-Trump turn, and people continue to protest what they see as being an unlawful regime.
There are many characters in what’s playing out as a sad comedy of errors that causes internal weeping almost daily. White House national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned after being on the job for less than a month amid allegations that his communication with Russian officials could have been compromising. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an Alabama senator, has been documented as calling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) “un-American” who “forced civil rights down the throats of people.” Sessions has had a history of voting against hate-crime laws, has possibly said questionable things about the Ku Klux Klan, has repeatedly been accused of using racial slurs in referencing black people, and when the controversy over the southern states flying the Confederate flag at government buildings arose last year, he was defiantly against removing them. Moving on, Betsy DeVos was recently confirmed as the Secretary of Education amidst backlash, only making the cut after Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie vote.
This isn’t even the meat and potatoes of it all, folks. This is just the beginning.
Then there’s Milo Yiannopoulos. So much of who he is and what he represents is a juxtaposition of sorts — an uncommon fusion that many don’t know what to do with. He’s openly gay; a starch supporter of President Donald Trump whose ideologies align with the alt-right movement; a senior editor at Breitbart, a far-right news publication known for its incendiary publications; and, last but certainly not least, unfiltered and controversial. Yiannopoulos isn’t one to mince words and has often found himself making headlines because his inflammatory comments. His Twitter was deleted following an exchange he had with comedic actress and “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones. She tried to ignore his words, but Yiannopoulos said she was “barely literate” and called her a “yet another black dude.” His contentious remarks about the Orlando nightclub shooting last year also placed him in the crosshairs of liberals and conservatives alike. He’s also said that gay people should get back in the closet.
Yet, he has still been celebrated and Simon & Schuster offered him a $250,000 deal for his upcoming book, Dangerous. As his popularity grew, so did his opportunities to speak in public. The American Conservative Union invited him to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He was supposed to speak at UC Berkeley but was met with rioters who didn’t want the hate speech on their campus, thus sparking a debate about the rights to free speech, even when you don’t agree with the message.
There was a strong adverse reaction to Yiannopoulos leading to objectors calling for boycotts of…well…everything he represented.
However, Simon & Schuster kept the deal. His appearance at CPAC was still on. The Yiannopoulos train left the station and was chugging along.
In a video that surfaced on Sunday, Yiannopoulos was caught talking about his approval and acceptance of sexual relationships between adult men and young boys. “We get hung up on this kind of child abuse stuff,” he said at one point.
“Some of those relationships between younger boys and older men,” Yiannopolous continued, “the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are, and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents.”
He then says that a 13-year-old boy is sexually mature and goes on to define pedophilia as having a sexual attraction to a child that has yet to reach puberty.
Yeah, that really happened. Listen to it below:
Yiannopoulos, who was also abused as a child, told The Daily Beast that he was no supporter of pedophiles. “I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by pedophilia and I have devoted large portions of my career as a journalist to exposing child abusers.” He went on to say that his sarcasm and humor could be misinterpreted as “flippancy,” an explanation that was insufficient for his publishers who, in turn, did in fact finally cancel his book deal.
The “entertainer” claimed that the video that surfaced was carefully edited so that his words would be taken out of context. He issued a statement via Facebook where he explained that he didn’t mean to use the word “boy” and meant to say “young man.” He misspoke repeatedly?
Still, people flocked to his social media to encourage him to stick it to the man and the “fake news” press that are obviously trying to bring him down because his message is so important.
In his recent interview with Bill Maher, Yiannopoulos said that he wouldn’t hire gay people because they don’t show up on time, although, they aren’t as bad as women. He calls himself a “virtuous troll” who uses his bigoted humor to build bridges, not break them. He says this as he stands on the rubble that his destructive words have caused.
Meanwhile, there are people who still go to bat for this guy and brush his antics off as being funny. A good friend of mine posted something on Facebook in support of him, and as soon as I slid in that comment section with my side eye and my lips pursed, there was immediately another person who attacked me, and any and every individual who spoke out against Yiannopoulos, as if he was his personal bodyguard. This stranger/mutual acquaintance told me, “You know nothing about Milo.” I thought, Well, that’s true. But what do you know that I don’t? I can read and none of it is particularly heartwarming so if you have some information that will help him out and make me feel as if I just finished watching a Hallmark holiday special and not need to cry in my shower, please drop that lifeline.
I know that my thoughts were with the others who knew Yiannopolous’ track record: what is it about this person that makes people stand on his side of the fence? When did so many people start drinking the laced Kool-Aid and abandoning blatant morality to support him? People have been so focused on party politics that we can’t see that even if you don’t think that Yiannopoulos even believes his hurtful statements and is just trolling , he’s still spreading hate and division. Who wants to defend that? How can you stand for unity but in the next breath attack someone with differing views from you as being a “snowflake”? How are we supposed to converse with one another, listen to one another, learn from one another, educate one another, if we can’t even agree that a grown man who speaks like this isn’t worthy of our support? A self-proclaimed Catholic who joked on-air that if it wasn’t for his Father he wouldn’t give such good oral sex.
And calls Trump “daddy.” Let’s just think about that for a moment. *shudders*
Let’s be honest: Yiannopoulos is going to go on to have people who stand with him, support him, and he will make a profit off of his racism, bigotry, and “humor” that he purposefully uses to trigger people. Nevertheless, it’s still important that we don’t fall for it and come together, left, right, liberal, conservative, moderate — whatever it is you call yourself — to promote decency, love, and hope. We can all get trapped in our own heads and tear ourselves down; we don’t need anyone else’s help.
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