CONTENT NOTE: This post includes many quotes with slurs of all sorts. Please be advised.
Incredibly, there seems to be a debate among serious people about whether Milo Yiannopoulos is actually all that bad. It’s easy to forget that most folks aren’t spending that much time paying attention to online issues, so are unaware of how internet hate mobs, doxing, swating, rape and death threats, manifest. They don’t know what it means to target Milo at a fellow human.
As covered in Inside Higher Education, Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown has called on Milo and his followers as support in a debate about white supremacy. It is my belief that to do so is a solicitation for harassment, likely including violent threats. My belief is based on following Milo, 4chan, 8chan, and the harassment linked to that sub-culture of the internet, made most explicit during Gamergate.
In IHE, Fulton Brown said:
Fulton Brown, who is tenured, said she was confident in Yiannopoulos — whom she has said she considers a friend — and his supporters.
“They’re trying to write in a livelier style,” she said. “I trust Milo and his team, and I trust my Facebook followers.”
Let’s take a look at what a “livelier style” means with a few examples:
- Milo sends a neo-nazi message to a Jewish journalist. Consider this comparable to spraypainting a swastika on someone’s door.
- Milo says vigilantes should start killing journalists.
- Here is where Milo singled out a Jewish reporter and called him: “a typical example of a sort of thick-as-pig shit media Jew.”
- Here is where Milo defended the racist and sexist invective aimed at Leslie Jones:
Jones was subjected to incredibly vicious attacks on Twitter, full of racist and misogynistic slurs against the actress, with some comparing her to an ape while others calling her a man.
Many of the attacks, known as “trolling,” came from anonymous users, but not all. Milo Yiannopoulos, one of the most infamous trolls on the internet, was one of them. He is an editor at Breitbart, the conservative news website.
“Trolling is very important,” Yiannopoulos told “Nightline.” “I like to think of myself as a virtuous troll, you know? I’m doing God’s work.”
- Here is where Milo took the stage at UW Milwaulkee and put up a picture of a trans student. He later repeated the attacks on the student at a second event.
Yiannopoulos proceeded to attack the student’s physical appearance, using an anti-transgender slur and adding, “The way you know he’s failed is I can still bang him.”
- At West Virginia University, he referred to women as “cunts.”
- At West Virginia University, he referred to a professor as a “fat faggot.”
- He argues that trans folk are “disordered.”
- He says that grabbing women’s genitals is not sexual assault.
- He’s also a plagiarist.
- He coordinated some Gamergate activities via Breitbart, helping to lead to rape and death threats for numerous individuals, many of whom are still being harassed.
- He led a smear campaign against black journalist Shaun King, claiming he wasn’t black (King is black).
The thing about Milo is that he does not hide his racism, sexism, anti-semitism, incitement to harassment against trans and undocumented students, and other despicable actions. There’s no subtext here, just text.
I do not believe that this conduct is “a livelier style.” To endorse him is to endorse bigotry. To summon him into a dispute is to ask for escalation.
One can debate the extent to which medieval studies is implicated in white supremacy and what we should do about it. There’s lots of room for disagreement of opinion.
But can we agree that – cunt, faggot, media Jew, and tranny, harassing students and faculty from a stage before a large audience, using one’s followers to target black men and women with harassment, using one’s followers to target female game designers and journalists with rape and death threats – is not, in fact, livelier?