Is this most controversial man in the US, after Trump?
Right-wing blogger and journalist, Milo Yiannopoulos, has been called a sexist, a misogynist, an Islamophobe, a racist, a white supremacist and even a paedophile advocate, but who is this man America loves to hate?brunch Updated: Nov 11, 2017 22:01 IST
Controversy could be Milo Yiannopoulos’s middle name. Brutally outspoken with a camp-fired wit, the right-wing blogger and journalist has outraged many in the past with his controversial comments on feminism, Islam, being gay, being pro Trump etcetera. His Twitter account was even briefly suspended for encouraging trolling. As he says, “Social justice warriors, the conservative establishment, and mainstream media have thrown every label in the book at me: sexist, misogynist, self-hating homophobe, self-hating anti-Semite, Islamophobe, transphobe, racist, fascist, alt-right, white supremacist, Nazi, and, finally, paedophile advocate. The only thing left is to accuse me of torturing kittens.”
Sticks and stones
Sexual abuse and paedophilia of late have been firmly in the news, whether it’s accusations against Harvey Weinstein or actor Corey Feldman’s revelations of a paedophilia sex ring operating in Hollywood. It is a sensitive and hot-button topic that brings out a lot of emotions in people. Milo is no stranger to that and earlier found himself in the eye of a storm when his controversial comments on paedophilia in a podcast went viral – resulting in Simon & Schuster at the last minute dropping the publication of his memoir Dangerous and him having to resign as an editor at Breitbart News. “I will openly admit that I was inarticulate and imprecise with my language. My ego is massive but I am not so far gone that I can’t admit when I’ve said something stupid,” he says.
My ego is massive but I am not so far gone that I can’t admit when I’ve said something stupid
At a press conference that followed his resignation, Milo went on to talk openly about his own sexual abuse experiences by a priest at the age of 13. This once again outraged many, but Milo is very clear that he doesn’t want to be a “victim” or be defined by it. He doesn’t want to make light of the situation but his advice is: “Get over it. Getting over it doesn’t mean forgetting it ever happened. It means not being stuck in place by it.”
Having had to self-publish his memoir (that’s been a bestseller with all the controversy surrounding it), Milo sued Simon & Schuster for $10 million as breach of contract. “We filed our $10 million lawsuit, and Simon & Schuster has hired the lawyers that represented Rolling Stone magazine after they published the infamous rape hoax story from the University of Virginia. We believe we can handily prove breach of contract by Simon & Schuster, and they’ll be paying for folding to liberal outrage. They certainly hired the right law firm to manage their loss in court,” he says.
The media hates me because I’m effective. I reach young Americans with a message of free speech and discarding political correctness, and they listen.
Often seen as a provocateur or controversy baiter, Milo feels, “In Western cultures, and particularly at universities, telling the truth even if the truth is inconvenient is now called being a provocateur. Students are raised with such mental fragility that any opinion beyond what their professors stuff into their heads is simply not permissible in their view.”
One would think he’s the most hated man in America with the thousands of angry op-eds and articles written about him! “The media hates me and attacks me because I am effective. I reach young Americans with a message of free speech and discarding political correctness, and they listen,” he says. “If they didn’t listen, the media wouldn’t hate me, they’d promote me! The other side is that when gay men don’t do and say exactly what the left has determined gay men should do and say, we become public enemy #1. They really don’t believe in free expression.”
Indians will support Pakistani cricket teams before I make peace with Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer
Having recently married his long-time boyfriend John in Hawaii, ask him for his thoughts on countries like India where homosexuality is still criminalised and Milo shoots back, “Darling, homosexuality may be illegal there, but I promise you the gays have no trouble getting dates in Mumbai, or anywhere else in the country for that matter. Rape is illegal in India too, but you have a bit of a problem there – I’d suggest you focus on cleaning that up before you go after the homos.”
As for his ongoing slugfest with Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer, Milo is very clear: “Indians will support Pakistani cricket teams before I make peace with Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer. They represent everything that is wrong with the West – blaming white men for their failure, attempting to convince young women that obesity is a healthy lifestyle, and above all other crimes, they are both horribly unfunny.” Ouch!
From HT Brunch, November 12, 2017
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First Published: Nov 11, 2017 22:00 IST