Linus Park, News Editor
On February 2, a large-scale protest broke out in spite of a planned speaker from Breitbart on UC Berkeley’s campus. The protest began with around 1,500 students at Sproul Plaza raising signs that went against the racist and sexist rhetoric of the (former) senior editor of Breitbart News and outspoken right-wing commentator by the name of Milo Yiannopoulos. The situation quickly spiraled out of control when 150 alleged “masked agitators,” unaffiliated with the student body, incited violent actions to disturb the peaceful protest ending with $100,000 in property damage from the fireworks, rocks, and molotov cocktails, and ultimately ending in their arrests by the UC Berkeley Police, along with 6 injured people.
Why exactly were the people strongly protesting against this individual in the first place?
Gaining popularity through incendiary remarks about many controversies that exist within this country, the self-proclaimed Catholic and homosexual (only one of many contradicting aspects to the individual’s disposition) British right-wing commentator feeds off of the popularity acquired from the indignation and resentment of a large populace. Often found provoking his audience in a facetious manner, Milo openly and cynically joked about women not being fit to work over homosexual workers on Bill Maher’s interview, as Milo jeered, “Oh, there we go, (laughter). Just kidding. You’re easy, very easy. Very easily triggered, it’s pathetic,” and further claims, “I like to view myself as a virtuous troll.”
As the controversy of free speech frequently accompanies Milo who feels no remorse to speaking about topics with any form of solemnity, the notable internet troll found himself in a precarious situation dealing with the topic of pedophilia. According to Milo Yiannopoulos in the twitter video released by The Reagan Battalion (conservative news outlet): “Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature, Pedophilia is [an] attraction to children who have not reached puberty.”
Furthermore, Yiannopoulos defended the intergenerational relationship by adding, “the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship […] in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents.”
Within hours of the conversation about his advocacy of sexual relationships between boys and men were released to the public, the Conservative Political Action Conference withdrew Milo’s invitation to speak at the aforementioned event, with American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp’s statement, “We continue to believe that CPAC is a constructive forum for controversies and disagreements among conservatives, however there is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children.”
Despite his efforts of clarification on the following day’s Facebook post, Milo claiming that the his words contained many “sloppy phrasing”, Yiannopoulos found himself resigning from Breitbart on the account of his ill-mannered speech through which he acquired much of his original popularity.
A board member of the ACU Ned Ryun also engaged his opinions on Twitter, “While I’m all for free speech, there is such a thing as vile, hateful speech that does not deserve a platform.”
On top of losing an opportunity to speak at a major platform of the CPAC, Yiannopoulos’ tongue-in-cheek remarks on the momentous topic were quickly ensued by more retributions.
The following is a statement released by Simon & Schuster on February 20, after a petition of 100 authors in the agency regarding the publication of Milo’s book Dangerous, originally planned to have published by June: “After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have canceled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos.”
After taking many shots at the patience and tolerance of the American people, these series of repercussions deal poetic justice with certain low blows to the internet troll’s road to success.