To hear the mainstream media tell it, Milo Yiannopoulos is a neo-Nazi, white supremacist, misogynistic, racist, homophobe, and – since the moment its latest hit piece started making the rounds – an advocate for pedophilia. To his supporters, though, Milo is none of these things. In fact, he represents a central tenet of the American experiment, one that the establishment media fears the most: freedom of speech, no matter how far it strays from the narrative.
In a way, we live in an era where free speech should be in its healthiest state ever. Anybody with access to the internet can create a social media account, grow their sphere of influence, and broadcast any message they please without fearing reprisal from the government.
Free and flowing discourse is crucial to the well-being of any democracy, but it is also anathema to those who derive their profits from a monopoly on information. When the establishment media loses control of the news cycle, they lose subscriber counts, circulation numbers start plunging, and deep-pocketed financiers invest elsewhere.
Enter Milo, a figure who gleefully pranced his way into the limelight in late 2014 as a foundational part of the Gamergate movement by exposing unethical collusion by video game journalists and railing against the influx of social justice into the formerly apolitical world of gaming.
By 2015, Milo had landed a gig as a Breitbart News editor and was making headlines due to his Twitter antics, which effectively amounted to stress tests of the supposedly-unfiltered platform. For taking a swipe at Islam in the wake of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, his account was suspended, and for taking a swipe at “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones, his account was permabanned.
Twitter was exposed as an arm of the social justice censorship movement; Milo thanked Twitter for making him even more famous.
The latest kerfuffle surrounding Milo’s alleged support for pedophilia is nothing more than a way to place Milo’s head on a proverbial pike as a warning to any other conservative figures who would dare to question the social justice orthodoxy.
But like the mythical hydra, Milo – who was essentially forced to resign from his Breitbart post – will only come back stronger. He had outgrown the outlet, in any event. Milo’s brand of flamboyant provocativeness took on a life of its own and found purchase among an unlikely audience of staunch conservatives who grew tired of being told about how intrinsically everything-phobic they are by virtue of being straight, or white, or male.
Imagine going back ten years and telling a group of conservatives that a gay Jewish man with a propensity for feather boas and sparkly suits would be leading a political and social insurgency against leftism and you would have been thrown into the loony bin.
During his press conference, an unusually contrite Milo conceded that his “usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humor might have come across as flippancy, a lack of care for other victims, or, worse, ‘advocacy.’”
“I am certainly guilty of imprecise language, which I regret,” he added.
However, Milo quickly returned to form: “I will never stop making jokes about taboo subjects,” he vowed, announcing his future plans to create a “new, independently-funded media venture of my own and a live tour in the coming weeks.”
Here’s to hoping that he pulls through. At a time when First Amendment rights are under assault like never before, Milo may just be the sequined savior that we ALL need. While Milo is an unabashed conservative, censorship is a bipartisan plague – today, it might be your opponent whose voice gets stripped away, but tomorrow, it very well could be yours.