Recently the headlines have been dressed with the name Milo Yiannopoulos – the conservative provocateur that makes a living hurling incendiary remarks at apparent leftists and leftist movements like “Black Lives Matter” and third wave feminism.
He surprisingly had a Twitter account until two days ago when he was permanently banned for supposedly inciting hatred and violence. According to Twitter, Milo has run afoul of their user policy because he evidently encouraged trolls to insult African American actress Leslie Jones- one of the female leads for the recent adaptation of Ghostbusters.
Milo has been quite upfront about his dislike of the adaptation and what he feels is a meaningless effort to promote a feminist agenda via said adaptation; he isn’t too shy about saying so either. It appears that enough people agreed with him that they began hurling insults at Ms. Jones which may have been inspired by Milo’s position on the movie. In the today’s world, the notion of freedom of speech appears to be based on a subjective criteria established by the offended. Obviously, this means that there are no real objective parameters for what actually constitutes an “offence”; if someone feels offended then you have done something offensive. Therefore, Leslie Jones picked the one target that would make sense in today’s victim culture, a white male. It doesn’t matter if he is a homosexual, if he is white then he must be guilty of racism, being against women, and possessing an indefinable amount of “privilege”.
She tweeted “@Nero you have been reported I hope the lock your Acct “ in response to Milo saying “If at first you don’t succeed (because your work is terrible), play the victim. EVERYONE GETS HATE MAIL FFS”
The Twitterverse agreed with her claim and began tweeting the hashtag #BanNero. Twitter responded by ignoring all the other trolls shaming Ms. Jones and banned Milo for what appeared to be an innocuous jab regarding Jones’ sensitivity towards ridicule. The result has been an amount of press given to Milo Yiannopoulos that you would have to pay quite a bit to obtain.
As a provocateur, Milo thrives by having people decry his claims which provides him a free platform to share his views- free press. Society is then thrust into the position of deciding who is in the right – which plays right into Milo’s hand. It is obvious that Milo wasn’t attacking Jones for her race or gender, but he will be the necessary sacrifice for the supposed decency that Twitter theoretically enforces. The sort of decency that has permitted Leslie Jones to make racist remarks with abandoned like this: “Lord have mercy…white people shit”. Just imagine any white person saying the same thing but instead of “white people” they inserted “black people”, “Asian people”, or any other race.
People who even disagree with Milo’s positions are forced to come to his defense for this blatant censorship. Now, the libertarian position is to argue that Twitter is within its right to ban anyone for any reason they like. Nevertheless, it does create a cloud of suspicion regarding the nature of Twitters platform that is already losing users daily. Is Twitter a forum for expressing views that is protected by the principle of free speech or does Twitter have favored participates who can flout the rules as long as they do it in the name of “social justice”? If the latter is the case then it should be no surprise when Twitter begins to lose even more users because it is alienating anyone who isn’t part of its agenda. Seems like a win for Milo and Twitter might be the new Kanye #FAMOUS.
Gary St. Fleur
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