Milo Yiannopoulos and his Miloettes
Facebook recently announced the banning of a number of far-right figures – including gay self-publicist Milo Yiannopoulos – for violating the company’s policies against promoting violence and hate speech.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said, “We’ve always banned individuals or organisations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.
Yiannopoulos, who is from Kent and the former technology editor of Breitbart News – before being fired for making comments that seemed to support paedophilia – had previously been banned from Twitter in 2016 for “inciting or
engaging in targeted abuse or harassment of others”.
Unless it is consistent hate speech, I am not usually supportive of banning voices nor do I necessarily feel that de-platforming of controversial voices works. I would rather hear a person speak to hear their point of view, prejudices and all, so I know what I am fighting against. We win by debate and considered argument. Also, silencing individuals and groups can sometimes offer them more importance where power and censorship is seen as winning over freedom of speech.
I have followed Yiannopoulos on his pages since his rise to fame. He is a narcissist actor with a huge ego who speaks and writes well and can be entertaining. As a journalist he is smart and observant and is able to write clearly and with wit and intelligence. It is easy to get taken by the showman despite him being a gay racist who uses self-deprecating homophobic language.
Yiannopoulos was banned as he was ‘dangerous’. Facebook clarified the factors that influence a decision to ban someone. These factors include, whether they use hate speech or slurs in their About section on their social media profiles, whether the person has been identified with a hateful ideology, whether the person or organisation has ever called for violence against individuals based on race, ethnicity, or national origin, and whether they have had pages or groups removed from Facebook for violating hate speech rules.
Yiannopoulos is, without doubt, Islamophobic – he often speaks of 1.3 billion Muslims as being one person. It is the equivalent of saying – All gays are… All trans are… All Indians are… All Hindus are… All Jews are… All Black people are… He is cunning though, and deviously blurs the lines between hate speech and freedom of speech. However, he is attracted to powerful, right-wing men such as Trump and Steve Bannon. Freud would have had a field day psychoanalysing his daddy issues – he claims to have had a bad relationship with his father as well as his step-father. In 2017, leaked emails showed that Yiannopoulos corresponded with neo-Nazis and white supremacists for story ideas.
I used to troll his Facebook page – which has 2.3 million likes – as an anthropologist studying his ‘Miloettes’. Amongst some sanity and much chilling normality, I discovered blatant bubbling hate speech bounced from one person to the other. Occasionally their god-guru would add a comment – to a great fanfare – to reinforce their prejudices and to give Yiannopoulos an ego bump.
On his now banned page, his ‘Miloettes’ provided many examples of hate speech – some of it disguised in coarse humour: “Who will fuck my favourite faggot now?” “You can look at their asses when they are all bent over praying!” “I hate fags normally but, Milo, we love you!” Others, openly racist: “Their religion makes them more likely to be terrorists!” and “ Milo, do you love riding your slave’s big black dick? Only joking!” People object, the comment maker apologises, and it is forgotten and then starts again.
Opinions mattered more than facts to his adoring fans – many whom are middle-aged females or young male Trump supporters, but there are many elderly people too, of all faiths and races. Most are white, and I am a little shocked at the number of Modi supporting Hindu Indians there are.
The conversation was banal locker room or bar stool bawdiness – it seemed like a lonely-hearts club sometimes. Casual homophobia was normalised. Names kept coming up – Trump, Modi, Netanyahu, Bolsonaro, all far-right world leaders. People of Colour became dehumanised, non individualised nor differentiated toys for them. “I’ve got nothing against Blacks/Asians/Mexicans but…” and “Build the Wall” was a mantra. The complexity of human rights struggles, fought according to local circumstances, were ignored or not understood. The conversation is black and white, this or that, us or them – the people are a mix of white and blue collar worker types.
Yiannopoulos has reminded us that white supremacist, racist gay men and women exist. Whilst most are horrified, they revel in stories of extreme Sharia law in Brunei, the Birmingham school LGBT relationships learning saga, the murder of gay men in Muslim countries – to justify their bigotry perhaps. At the same time, these very same people, stand up for the extreme human rights abuses by Western powers using the racist mantra “but you can’t be gay and Muslim” and “Muslims throw gay people off buildings” “If they were allowed to be American they would be okay but their religion doesn’t allow it” or “They are trying to ruin what we fought for.”
Much of this kind of language, I have seen on my personal Facebook feed. The right-wing sound exactly like some in the Queer centre-left: “You are incapable of seeing or hearing anything that does not fit into your agenda” or “You folks want to ban everyone – you can’t defend your opinion” or, the standard “Try being gay in Gaza!” which somehow justifies the imprisonment of 2.1 million people and their casual and normalised bombing and slaughter. What is scary is that some writers, journalists, artists, activists and chattering class Queers support such views.
Often in cyber and real life, hate speech has become confused with freedom of speech by some of the woke liberal left elite. This is true of how people think today, the insincere PC language often drowns free speech. Call me a Paki to my face so I know where I stand, rather than think it and gaslight me.
Yiannopoulos has created his own cult as a result of the ‘dangerous’ language he sanctions on a mass scale. His Facebook page allows people to find each other, they then enthuse each other and give themselves further courage. This is why he must be banned. His page was always un-moderated. From experience, when hate is so embedded, people do not know they are being abusive. The most worrying type are Yiannopoulos who knows exactly what he is doing and manipulates his language in order to spread hate whilst lying acting like an audiologist, offering the world to hear
it as it is. He may describe himself as a creative genius saying it is ‘them and not me’. He claims he is a truth-sayer. Everyone ends up hating upon each other. Of course a common game in abuse is that the abuser blames the abused for something they themselves are doing and they are fully aware of this.
Yiannopoulos has not been having a good time lately – he was banned from entering Australia for a planned tour, those who bought tickets were not refunded by the promoters. New York City’s mayor requested his NYU speech was postponed last year, and a tour of the American South was cancelled at the last moment as the promoters could not raise enough finance. His life has fallen spectacularly from his peak of good-looking acceptable homosexual, far-right hero, to somewhat of a joke – leaving him broke and humiliated. To his credit, he has made being camp, gay, and
occasionally dressing up in drag cooler to the homophobic, Trump-loving South.
We all need to educate ourselves on the murky boundaries but clear differentiation between hate speech and a right to speak. All we hear is they are the civilised ones and we are not, as if equal Queer rights always existed and came about by magic. Also, for the Queer far-right, it reinforces the idea that the White West is superior but the black man has a huge penis to satisfy me – a typical Milo illusion. What is forgotten is that many of us fought by your side over many years, yet you offer little true support in this fight now against our own.