Bronze-level articleMilo Yiannopoulos

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Yiannopoulos in 2013, before his current Trump-hair phase.
I have come to believe, in the course of our bizarro unfriendship, that Milo believes in almost nothing concrete—not even in free speech. The same is reportedly true of Trump, of people like Ann Coulter, of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage: They are pure antagonists unencumbered by any conviction apart from their personal entitlement to raw power and stacks of cash.
—Laurie Penny[1]
One of the

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Milo Yiannopoulos (born 1983, sometimes known as Milo Wagner) is a conservative wingnut yellow journalist[wp] for the far-right tabloid Breitbart.com. Yiannopoulos is also a Gamergate figurehead, MRA, Jewish Roman Catholic, openly-gay homophobe (yes, really)[1], and an all-around terrible person. Yiannopoulos formerly fronted failed UK tech blog, The Kernel. As a "journalist" for Breitbart, his blog posts exclusively typically consist of self-aggrandizement, rank hypocrisy[2], straw-men and the regurgitation of dated anti-feminist 4chan/8chan memes. Surprising absolutely no one, Yiannopoulos endorsed Donald Trump (who he refers to as "Daddy,"[3][4] bringing up some disturbing implications) in the 2016 US presidential election.[5]

Yiannopoulos has a deep and abiding need to be smarter than his rubes audience; so he steadily chased downwards to find a demographic befitting his intellect, finally landing on the Gamergate manufactroversy, the racist alt-right movement and the populist, anti-intellectual Breitbart.com "news" website. Given Yiannopoulos's history of professional failure and general ignorance of technology and gaming culture[6] (along with Breitbart.com's own sterling reputation for ethical journalism[7][8]), he was clearly the right man to head Breitbart.com's technology and gaming culture section. Surely, journalism of only the highest intellectual caliber and ethical standards will come of such a pairing.

His greatest journalistic assets are probably his British accent and use of humour rather than humor, which his audience confuses with intelligence.

Contents

[edit] Early career (or, Why it pays to pay your employees)

After working as a tech writer for The Telegraph, Yiannopoulos left to launch his own techsite, The Kernel, in November 2011 to "fix European technology journalism." In 2012, Yiannopoulos decided that paying his contributors was unnecessary, resulting in former contributor Jason Hesse winning a summary judgement from an employment tribunal against parent company Sentinel Media.[9] The Kernel closed in March 2013, after Yiannopoulos admitted that the company could not cover the costs, mere days after claiming otherwise. Yiannopoulos also threatened another contributor seeking payment with releasing embarrassing details and photographs, while also accusing him of being behind the "majority of damage to The Kernel".[10] It took the purchasing of The Kernel's assets by venture capital group BERLIN42 in 2013 for Yiannopoulos to finally pay his debts.[11] The Kernel is now a subsite of the Daily Dot, and runs anti-Gamergate articles.[12]

[edit] Gamergate

Without Milo, it probably would have just fizzled out, in all honesty.
—Alex Baldwin, Gamergater and former moderator of KotakuInAction[13]

Seeing a new avenue of gullibility to exploit, Yiannopoulus was one the of the early supporters of Gamergate, criticizing what he saw as the politicization of video game culture by "an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers."[14] This was despite his previously held views on gamers as "pungent beta male bollock-scratchers and twelve-year-olds" and "a bit sad".[15][16] In addition (and again, prior to his transparently opportunistic involvement with Gamergate), Yiannopoulos appears to have placed some of the blame for the Isla Vista murder spree on video games and gaming culture.[17]

Despite his initial claims that Breitbart.com's tech vertical would be non-partisan (albeit pro-GamerGate),[18] Yiannopoulos dedicates the majority of the area's original content to his own inane banal uninformed ramblings on his three favorite topics: perceived leftist encroachment in popular media, why men are better than women, and himself.[19][20] The rest of the content primarily consists of YouTube trailers for upcoming video games and wire-service stories re-branded as "by Breitbart News".

[edit] Journalistic ethics

Yiannopoulos's journalistic ethics are what you'd expect from his publisher ethics. He is nearly unmatched in recklessness and his "sources" primarily consist of Twitter trolls and anonymously posted content from the Internet's sewer (and that sewer's runoff). He published an article pertaining to Gamergate (which, he openly admits, is culled from 8chan and /r/KotakuInAction[21]) that took seven edits by Breitbart's editorial and legal staff before it could be posted. Yiannopoulos further established a relationship with Joshua Goldberg, a Gamergater and white-nationalist troll (funny how often that combination seems to occur) who, in turn, fed Yiannopoulos the original claim that Shaun King was white.[22] After Goldberg was arrested on domestic terrorism charges, Yiannopoulos furiously attempted to scrub all evidence of his links to Goldberg,[23] then pretended to have no knowledge of him when called on it,[24] to the point of claiming that the FBI's arrest of Goldberg that day was part of a conspiracy to smear him, as payback for his releasing another hitpiece on a Gamergate victim target a few hours prior.[25] In actuality, Goldberg was arrested and charged several days before Yiannopoulos posted his article.

Yiannopoulos does not in fact write most of the words under his byline, said words being the output of forty-four interns, paid and unpaid ("A lot of these guys are young 4chan guys"), researching and drafting for him. He reassures us that "ghostwriting is too great a word" and that this practice is "completely standard." So that's all right, then.[26]

[edit] Shaun King

In 2015, following the rise of Black Lives Matter, Yiannopoulos published a hitpiece claiming BLM activist Shaun King was actually white and passing as black, akin to Rachel Dolezal.[27] This resulted in a wave of harassment and further defamation from the right wing websphere, resulting in King being forced to publicly reveal his family and personal history (short version: he was the product of an affair between his white mother and a black man other than her husband) in an attempt to quell the shit storm.[28] Yiannopoulos, of course, claimed that this vindicated his story,[29] and wrote another piece claiming that King did not know his biological father. A month later, Yiannopoulos wrote yet another story accusing King of embezzlement, citing several tweets as evidence.[30] Four of those tweets were from his own account.

[edit] Turning Tori's tunes into terrible poetry

In 2007, Yiannopoulos self-published a book of "poetry" called Eskimo Papoose. It became obviously clear that much of the content was lifted from various Tori Amos songs (with honourable mentions for whoever writes songs for Mariah Carey and Britney Spears, and the script of an episode of Buffy the Vampire slayer) with no attribution. When confronted with this clear plagiarism, he responded that the collection was made up of other people's words, and that it was an example of "sampling" like in music.[31] Right then, that explains it.

A more likely explanation might be found in Yiannopoulos's original poetry, which indicates he is perhaps not quite up to standard:[32]

Father

He told me to pray
That God would forgive

But would God forgive him
For what he did
In my mouth?

[edit] His own sexuality

Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart London has done more to put homosexual camp in the service of right-wing authoritarianism than any man has since the fellows at Hugo Boss sewed all those nifty SS uniforms.
—Kevin Williamson, "The Father-Führer", National Review, March 28, 2016

While Yiannopoulos is actually gay, it is tempting to dismiss some of his public pronouncements on the subject of his own sexuality as mere trolling; but no, he really seems to self-hate and thinks that other gay men should also.[33] Some of Yiannopoulos's pearls of wisdom on being gay:

  • "But the thought that I might influence my child towards a lifestyle choice guaranteed to bring them pain and unhappiness–however remote that chance may be–is horrifying to me. That’s why, quite simply, I wouldn’t bring a child up in a gay household."[34]
  • "But everything isn’t OK. And, ceteris paribus, no one would choose to have a gay child rather than a straight one. It would be like wishing that they were born disabled–not just because homosexuality is aberrant, but because that child will suffer unnecessarily. Again, you’d have to be mad. Or evil."[35]
  • "Most of the reason I went gay is so I didn’t have to deal with nutty broads. Imagine how much worse they’re going to get when the passive aggressive manipulation tactics stop working because the guy can get himself off with a thinner, hotter robot any time he wants to. They’re going to go mental."[36]
  • "I would love to be cured. Who wouldn't want to be cured? Of course I want to be cured. I've tried to pray the gay away... I think for a variety of reasons, most gay people, if they were honest, would not choose to have been born homosexual. I'd love to experiment with some of these therapies, not because I think they'll work."[37]
  • "Gays have been told for 30 years that they were 'born this way'. That's a lie. 'Born this way' was invented by the gay lobby as a run-around of the religious right. The religious right was saying that homosexuality was a sinful lifestyle choice, and then the gay lobby invented the 'gay gene'. They said "we're born this way"... it really has no basis in science at all. The most we can say is that it is a mixture of nature and nurture and it may have some epigenetic component. Nobody really knows."[38]

Yiannopoulos appears to believe that his own homosexuality (or at least his physical reciprocation of it) is a choice, and little more than a manifestation of adolescent rebellion and a general dislike of non-subservient women.[39][40] Perceiving the homosexual community as too in-bed with progressive politics and no longer part of the counter-culture (along with his continued belief that gays are morally debased and a detriment to society), Yiannopoulos decided to become heterosexual.[41] His tenure as heterosexual appears to have lasted approximately 6 seconds, after which he chose to be gay again.

[edit] Interview on The Joe Rogan Experience

In September 2015, Milo guest-starred on Joe Rogan's YouTube show. During the interview, he can be heard making a number of eyebrow-raising statements. At one point, Milo claims that ”I lost my virginity in an interracial fivesome with a drag queen." "How old were you?" asks Rogan. "Thirteen, maybe fourteen... it was great.”[42] Later on, Rogan touches upon child abuse amongst Catholic priests; this prompts Milo to discuss a priest from his childhood. "He made you suck his dick for real?" asks Rogan. "He didn't make me, I was enthusiastic about it."[43]

Milo goes on to state that "he was a great priest... he's going to get lynched now." "How old were you at the time?" asks Rogan. "I was in my teens," replies Milo, before going on to ask Rogan "You've never seen a fifteen-year-old girl—at any point in your life, however old you were—you've never seen a fifteen-year-old-girl you thought was hot? When you were twenty-five, when you were thirty, you will have seen girls at fifteen you thought were hot, of course you did."[44] Milo then clarifies his experiences: "I was a very mature fourteen-year-old. It wasn't molestation, it was perfectly consensual. When I was fourteen, trust me, I was the predator... I was aggressively seeking out the sexual company of adults."[45]

At another point in the interview, Milo claims that ”I lived in Hollywood a while ago, briefly, and I went to... boat parties, house parties and things, and some of the things I have seen beggered belief. I don't want to be indiscreet about specific people, because I think it's going to be dangerous, but I can tell you the truth without dropping anyone in it. Some of the boys there were very young."[46] He does not identify the criminals, however.

[edit] Wooing the Alt-Right

With Gamergate's popularity (and, presumably, his and Breitbarts' readership) declining, Yiannopoulos chose to find a new ass to kiss in an attempt to stay relevant, settling on the burgeoning Alt-Right movement. As such, he (and/or his interns) and colleague Allum Bokhari penned a 5,000 word love-letter primer for the movement.[47] The Daily Stormer responded by telling them to eff off, accusing them of completely misrepresenting the movement to better serve their own interests (The horror!), taking particular umbrage with their claims that the alt-right does what they do as a joke, and aren't really racist at all. (So, that's all right, then.) Why Yiannopoulos, who is both gay and ethnically Jewish, and Bokhari, who is part-Pakistani, both thought that trying to ally themselves with a bunch of Nazis (and tying Breitbart's already sketchy reputation to them) was a good idea in the first place is unclear.

[edit] #JeSuisMilo

Yiannopoulos' Twitter account has been suspended repeatedly in the past for TOS violations.[48] In January of 2016, in an unconscionable act of terrorism business as usual with users who harass and behave like incorrigible adolescents, Twitter removed the "verified" badge from Yiannopoulos' Twitter account, and sent him an email advising this had happened due to his “recent violations of the Twitter Rules.”[49]

Soon enough, Yiannopoulos—and all True Friends of Liberty™—began pushing the hashtag #JeSuisMilo, since it's totally not hyperbolic to compare a journalist losing his little blue tickmark to other journalists literally being murdered by terrorists. Because there is no benevolent deity who has a clue, soon it was (according to Breitbart) "the #1 top trending topic in the U.K, U.S, and Canada and it trended globally at the #3 spot for several hours."[50] In an inspiring display of civic virtue, U.S. Patriots immediately rallied and launched a petition at whitehouse.gov imploring that the Kenyan Marxist Muslim President Obama should declare his opposition to Twitter's "war on libertarian and millennial voices." The leader of the world's superpower must demand: "Give Milo back his badge!"[51]

Yiannopoulos warned that this gross violation of his human rights signals that Twitter "is gearing up to purge conservatives." His employer valiantly stood behind him, declaring the loss of Yiannopoulos' little blue tickmark a declaration of "war on conservative media."[52] Twitter's refusal to specify what got Yiannopoulos' badge taken away is troubling to some.[53] But, even given no solid information on this particular incident, it's unlikely that Yiannopoulos' heart-wrenching persecution is the consequence of merely expressing his generally noxious views rather than the harassment he and his followers engage in. Twitter now considers "indirect threats" as "hateful conduct", and considers inciting harassment (say, pointing followers at another user to harass them) a violation.[54] Given those changes, Yiannopoulos' decertification appears to be at least somewhat related to an exchange where he tweeted “You deserve to be harassed you social justice loser” following a users request that Yiannopoulos' Twitter followers cease a campaign of harassment. He was decertified soon after that tweet.[55]

Despite Breitbart.com's prognostication that Twitter would soon "purge" all traces of conservatism from the platform following Yiannopoulos' decertification [56], there is no indication that such a thing occurred. Yiannopoulos' decertification appears directly related to his behavior, and not his political beliefs.

Milo took the fight offline, surging forward in his war to regain his blue checkmark. His next target? The White House, crashing a press conference in an effort to get justice.[57] (Yes, that White House. No, we are not joking.) One might wonder why someone who is so offended that he takes his fight over a verified checkmark on Twitter to the White House thinks he has any right to laugh and jeer at so-called "SJW"'s for being outraged over pretty much anything else.

[edit] Dangerous Faggot Tour

During a series of speeches in front of (mostly Republican) student conventions, an event at DePaul university had to be cancelled due to violent student protests[58][59]. Likely a counterproductive approach since Milo will get only more media attention this way.

[edit] Orlando and #FreeMilo

This controversy peaked once more in June 15, 2016, when Milo's Twitter account was temporarily suspended following an announcement by Milo of a press conference with regards to Islam and homosexuality after the Orlando shooting incident.[60][61] His account was reinstated within an hour, but not before the hashtags #FreeMilo and #FreeNero (referring to his Twitter handle) trended globally, and conspiracy theories of censorship flooded the alt-right websphere, including Donald Trump subforums on Reddit.[62] As of writing, Twitter has not commented on the suspension.

[edit] Where is your checkmark now?

On July 18, 2016, Milo encouraged his followers to join in the harassment of actress/comedienne Leslie Jones[wp] in an attempt to drive her off Twitter. Jones was one of the stars in the recently released remake of the 1984 comedy film Ghostbusters, which had become a major source of contention in alt-right circles due to the fact that the remake meant the original was no longer available and every copy of it on whatever medium, wherever in the world it was, would be hunted down and destroyed and thus could never be viewed again changed the lead roles from four men to that of four women. Jones brought forth public attention to the abusive messages she was receiving, many of which included racist remarks or imagery such as repeatedly comparing the African-American Jones to gorillas and other apes. Ultimately, Jones decided to leave the service.[63]

In the wake of numerous complaints and the media attention that the harassment campaign was generating, Twitter finally decided on July 19, 2016, to permanently suspend Milo's account and released the following statement:

People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of Tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.

We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders. We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.[64]

Milo posted a response on Breitbart, calling the suspension “cowardly,” and stated "Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives." Only a few days earlier, Yiannopoulos called Twitter "cowards" for not banning him.[65] Yiannopoulos all-encompassing narcissism lead him to declare that this would "[net] me more adoring fans" and that "This is the end for Twitter."[66] His banning gained him the support of Louise Mensch,[wp] a woman who insisted that Twitter equally censor other users who had tweeted offensive things – such as users describing gamers as "subhuman filth" – though, of course, Mensch had previously described Milo as a "subhuman pig".[67]

But then, as noted technology journalist Milo Yiannopoulos said in 2012:[68]

We ban drunks from driving because they’re a danger to others. Isn’t it time we did the same to trolls?

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. See the Wikipedia article on Milo Yiannopoulos.
  2. In which Yiannapoulos accuses someone else of being an uninformed publicity whore
  3. Creepy Trump worship
  4. See poem, Father, below.
  5. Donald Trump... should be the internet's choice for president
  6. In which Yiannopoulos fails a test of technology acumen
  7. "Breitbart lied about Shirley Sherrod. Now he's lying about the NAACP"
  8. ‘Friends of Hamas’ mess: Not a crisis of conservative media
  9. The Kernel to close as debts stay unpaid, 05 March, 2013. Charles Arthur, The Guardian
  10. The Kernel could face £11,000 payout order, 08 January, 2013. Charles Arthur, The Guardian
  11. The Kernel's back to make new enemies
  12. About the Kernel
  13. Brown, Kristen V., "Whispering to the Right: The terrifying allure of Milo Yiannopoulos", Fusion.
  14. Feminist Bullies Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart
  15. Twitter post
  16. Twitter post
  17. "Gamergate’s fickle hero: The dark opportunism of Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos"
  18. I'm Milo Yiannopoulos, the new technology editor of Breitbart News. AMA., Reddit post by yiannopoulos_m
  19. "Star Wars is Garbage"
  20. The Princess Bride is Objectively Terrible
  21. [Happenings So, Milo from Breitbart posted this Journalist request over at Twitter about Sarah Nyberg o_O], Reddit post by yiannopoulos_m
  22. Twitter post
  23. A collection of archived things from Milo (for the inevitable mass deletion), Reddit
  24. Twitter post
  25. Twitter post
  26. Top Conservative Writer Is A Group Effort, Sources Say, Joseph Bernstein, BuzzFeed, 1 April 2016. Note that, despite the date, this is not an April Fool's joke.
  27. Shaun King And Why We’re So Quick To Believe White Folks, 19 August, 2015.
  28. Race, love, hate, and me: A distinctly American story
  29. Twitter posts screenshot
  30. Black Activists Turn on Shaun King for Collapse of ‘Justice Together’ Org, Financial Irregularities, 08 November, 2015. Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart.com (archived)
  31. #GamerGate Journalist Milo Yiannopoulos's Self-Published Poetry Book Contains Unattributed Tori Amos Lyrics
  32. Gamergate’s savage defender is a tortured soul who turns Tori Amos songs into terrible poetry
  33. Gay rights have made us dumber. It's time to get back in the closet
  34. Why I'll probably never be a parent
  35. Why I’ll probably never be a parent
  36. “I Went Gay So I Didn’t Have To Deal With Nutty Broads”
  37. Milo Yiannopoulos - PaulsEgo - TheAmazingAtheist - and More! DPP #193 @23m15s, 04 January, 2016, Drunken Peasants, YouTube
  38. Milo Yiannopoulos - PaulsEgo - TheAmazingAtheist - and More! DPP #193 @25m0s, 04 January, 2016, Drunken Peasants, YouTube
  39. "Sexbots: Why women should panic"
  40. “I Went Gay So I Didn’t Have To Deal With Nutty Broads”
  41. "I'm Soooo Bored of Being Gay"
  42. The Joe Rogan Experience
  43. The Joe Rogan Experience
  44. The Joe Rogan Experience
  45. The Joe Rogan Experience
  46. The Joe Rogan Experience
  47. We Hunted the Mammoth "Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos rejected by internet Nazis, who really do hate gay Jews "
  48. e.g., 2014, 2015
  49. Yiannopoulos' announcement tweet; archive
  50. Breitbart.com "Twitter Declares War On Conservative Media..."
  51. we petition the obama administration to: issue a statement demanding the restoration of Milo Yiannopoulos's Twitter verification badge., 11 January, 2016, We the People
  52. Breitbart.com"Twitter Declares War On Conservative Media..."
  53. CNN "Twitter crackdown on hate speech backfires"
  54. Arstechnica.com How Twitter quietly banned hate speech last year
  55. Salon.com "This isn’t about free speech: Internet “supervillain” isn’t being censored by Twitter’s lightweight rebuke"
  56. Breitbart.com "Twitter Declares War On Conservative Media..."
  57. Milo asks the White House press secretary about """freedom of speech""" (Did we use enough air quotes?) [1]
  58. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/university-admins-surrender-to-violent-protesters-shutter_us_57454738e4b00853ae7b5ae3#comments
  59. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IawEMxTroBk
  60. Hains, Tim. "Milo Yiannopoulos Finds Out He's Been Suspended From Twitter Live On Air," RealClearPolitics.
  61. Nolan, Lucas. "Twitter Bans Gay Conservative Milo After Anti-Islam Tweets.", Breitbart.
  62. "/r/The_Donald: Milo's twitter account has been suspended. Also, in news that is possibly related to his supension from Twitter, Milo's press conference about gays & Islam has been scheduled for 2PM EST. He will be joined by Gavin McInnes." Reddit
  63. https://www.buzzfeed.com/susancheng/love-for-leslie-jones?utm_term=.mdk1JWRJN#.doM63pP3q
  64. https://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/twitter-just-permanently-suspended-conservative-writer-milo?utm_term=.paejo4rom#.rtrm0kr0a
  65. https://twitter.com/Nero/status/754065421662203904
  66. http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2016/07/19/breaking-milo-suspended-twitter-20-minutes-party/
  67. McKernan, Bethan (July 20, 2016). "Louise Mensch tried to defend Milo Yiannopoulos, scored a glorious own goal instead". indy100. 
  68. http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/yiannopoulos/3359/the-internet-is-turning-us-all-into-sociopaths/
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