The Milo debacle

So recently Milo Yiannopolous has been at the center of a real shitstorm that swept the Internet on Monday. I had intended to write about this on pretty much the night that it happened, seeing as I have spoken in support of Milo’s work here on the Heretical Domain since the summer of 2016 and I felt it would be appropriate to comment. But I had been kept busy by other matters the past two days, and I had been receiving some new information since Monday night.

Here’s the situation as I understand it: some time after Milo made his appearance on Late Night with Bill Maher last week (I’ve seen it, by the way, and it was disappointing on all fronts; all of the panelists could have performed far better than they did), a clip taken from Milo’s appearance in the Drunken Peasants podcast on YouTube from about a year ago, where they talk about a video where someone accuses Milo of defending pedophiles. In the video, Milo states that, apparently, he “gave head” to a Catholic priest when he was 13 years old and explained how he claimed to enjoy the experience and felt that not only can an adolescent consent to performing a sexual act with an adult, but also that sexual acts between 13-28 years was actually normal. I don’t know where he gets this view from, but it is my understanding that he was apparently sexually abused in his youth, and may have been distorted by this experience. Anyways, after the clip was “discovered”, Twitter exploded with tons of people claiming that he defended pedophilia or even that was actually a pedophile, and the mainstream media gobbled it up with many figures showing their virtue in true virtue signalling fashion. He also received backlash not just from the left, but also from the right. In fact, the story apparently “broke” via the Twitter account of a conservative political organization known as The Reagan Battalion – try to remember that little detail for later. Milo had released a statement on Facebook on Monday stressing that he does not support pedophilia, claiming that the clips have been selectively edited. On Tuesday Milo gave a press conference on the whole fiasco, which he also released on Facebook, and he explained it was announced that Milo had resigned from Breitbart News.

OK, now that that’s said, let me just say straight up: I can’t defend what Milo said, at all. I can defend his right to say it, but that’s about it. I think that Milo’s opinions on sexual consent, particularly within the context of homosexuality, is bizarre to say the least. He thinks that the current legal age of consent is OK, but at the same time he feels the general idea of consent is arbitrary and even “oppressive”. If I’m going to be honest, I have to say Milo, that last part sounds like something a Bizarro World gender students student might say. He apparently justified his position on the grounds that some people are more sexually active. But needless to say, it is understandable that the fact he would even have had questionable opinions on the subject of sexual relationships between teenagers and adults would be cause for concern, and it certainly gave me pause when I thought about it. He did release statements clarifying the matter, saying that he is against pedophilia, which I think is good, and on the press conference it seems he has reflected on the matter and it has been a great source of disturbance and regret for him. On that token at least, I think he shouldn’t be treated like some kind of monster to be run out of town with pitchforks, not least because he still isn’t actually a sexual predator – and if his story is to be believe he was arguably a victim. However, when he claims that the clips have been selectively edited, I think that’s open for questioning at least. I’ve seen the clips that got shared around and they definitely didn’t seem edited to me. I think that Milo honestly believes that he isn’t actually advocating for pedophilia, and probably didn’t intend to, but the position he took was simply too dangerous, and to be honest the lines between advocating for pedophilia and defending pederasty seem too thin. The most charitable interpretation of all this is that Milo is advocating for cross-generational relationships, something that one of the Drunken Peasants at least tried getting Milo to admit, but given the generations in question, coupled with his claims about pederasty in the gay world, this doesn’t seem like it’s enough to fit Milo for a halo so to speak. Then there’s the dubious comments about people in Hollywood he made on Joe Rogan’s podcast, where some people think that he was outright protecting the names of pedophiles in Hollywood. Since I don’t know any of the names in question, I unfortunately can’t comment.

So all-in-all, there’s nothing really to defend, so I don’t defend his position, but I’m not going to succumb to outrage either. There’s already too much outrage in the world these days, and no sense in me adding to it. I certainly won’t gain anything by doing so anyhow. Milo, anyways, is at least capable of defending himself. It’s just a shame he couldn’t do so on Twitter due to being permanently banned from the site.

All that said, however, I think there is so much wrong with all of this. For starters, , this is ultimately another case of outrage being whipped over something that, to me at least, was already out there for the public to see when it was new. The podcast was from about a year ago, so where were all the people outraged over this issue in 2016? Why now? Meanwhile, as cliche as this will sound, Lena Dunham talked about apparently inspecting her younger sister’s genitals in one of her books, and she didn’t get run out of town like Milo did – in fact she still got to keep her acting career and remained a prominent face of the Democratic Party in 2016 (which was probably one of the many reasons why the Democrats lost). Second of all, this all seems to coincidence with Milo being invited to speak at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend. The Reagan Battalion posted the clip on Monday, pretty much right after Milo was invited, and after all the Twitter drama and media hysteria, CPAC dropped Milo from their panel. Let me be clear: CPAC is completely within their rights to invite and dis-invite whoever they like from speaking at their conference, and I accept that they think Milo is unfit to represent their views over these comments. But I haven’t got a doubt in my mind that they might not have dis-invited him were it not for The Reagan Battalion spreading that Drunken Peasants clip. And let me tell you about The Reagan Battalion. From what I understand they are one of those conservative groups that really doesn’t like the populist, anti-establishment movement that still gathers around Trump, and they almost certainly detest Milo, and not just because of the Drunken Peasants clip either. They view the populist conservative moment as (that is when  When Milo claimed that the drama was an attack on him by establishment Republicans, I don’t think he was entirely wrong. Also, take a look at what they said on Monday as part of their statement in support of ACU disinviting Milo from CPAC for not only the DP thing but, of all things, they think he’s anti-Semitic:

Free speech is the cornerstone of our great democracy, but giving a platform for hate, racism and intolerance is fortunately not.

Yeah some conservative free speech advocates you are. If that’s the true conservative platform, I’m glad I don’t call myself a conservative no matter much further to the right I may have lurched in recent months. But more to the point, I’m fairly convinced that their motives are just as likely to be political as they are to be merely moral. They wanted Milo to be disinvited from CPAC 2017, and in the end they got what they wanted. Also, for an organization that claims to have no affiliation with the NeverTrump movement, their Facebook profile has a now-broken link to a “Stop Donald Trump” PAC, which is apparently a conservative PAC that opposes Trump on the grounds that they think he’s another liberal.

But there’s another dubious element to this story as well. Someone on 4chan claimed to be an insider on an operation to destroy Milo, in a post apparently published on Sunday night. Here’s the text of that post:

FYI the MSM has a huge fucking media onslaught that is set to go live Monday to scorch earth Milo and destroy him via the pedophile label.

I’m part of a mailing list (not giving my name for the sake of protecting my ass from retaliation) but they have been sitting on the story for a while, because they thought Milo was small fry and wanted to wait until he got big enough a thread to go nuclear on.

The journalists are pissed the fuck off Maher put him on the air and more so, pissed off that his book deal had not been revoked (and some are pissed that Milo got a book deal from the same publisher who dropped Zoe Quinn’s book, along with a larger signing bonus than most of the publisher’s social justice authors).

There are also those who want to hurt him simply as a proxy to hurt Steve Bannon/Breitbart, since their attempts to attack Bannon have largely failed. Not to mention people on the left being pissed off that most people sided with Milo over the rioters. Rioters that were paid for by Soros through a variety of fronts and laundered through companies that can’t be traced back to him.

Expect a steady drumbeat of “Milo is a pedophile” and “Milo must be dropped from CPAC”. The later is especially important, in terms of the divide and conquer long game the press is playing: the press wants a civil war with the McCain/Graham wing of the GOP and the Trump/Ryan wing so as to weaken the Republicans in 2018. The overall plan is to make the Republicans fear social shaming from the media and the left more than they already do their actual constituents who love Trump, in hopes of regaining the House and enough Senate seats to pull off an impeachment of Trump.

Believe it or not, I think it’s entirely possible. We already know that not only is the media generally extremely biased against Trump, but a lot of the media is generally against the GOP, usually out of a deep-seated ideological agenda. And they beat on the Democrats and lost, hard. I’m not surprised if they’d go to any lengths to bring the Democrats back to power, and at any rate I’m not foolish enough to believe that any of the parties in large part are interested in much more than money and power. In addition to this, we know that traditional media is failing in relevance and I think the media at large recognizes that more people trust Trump and his supporters over their word. Given that after The Reagan Battalion “broke” that story the media went into full attack mode it looks like they got what they wanted out of Milo – namely his fall from public esteem – it would seem like either there may be some truth to this or it might be a coincidence. I suspect that the media may have been waiting for the opportunity to take Milo down, given that he has always been such a thorn on their side leading people against the Democratic Party, but any real campaigning against Milo was most likely the work of The Reagan Battalion. That said, none of this changes what Milo said. By all accounts his position at large is still pretty awful by its own merits. The only difference is that there were people looking to use this for their own political advantage. And in the end, if there was a mission from the media to defame Milo and by extension Breitbart, I’d say the mission was very much accomplished. As to whether or not the Republicans will be shamed or pushed into a civil war (as if there wasn’t already conflict among the Republicans) in order to enable the Democrats to win the mid-terms, that remains to be seen.

One thing that is for certain is that the people who think this is the end of Milo’s career, while I’m guessing are somewhat hyperbolic, probably aren’t too far from the truth. His career has been tangibly damaged by this whole affair: not only has he had to resign from Breitbart, but apparently Simon and Schuster have cancelled the publishing deal for his new book Dangerous, and I see many people on the right, even people on the far-right like Richard Spencer, coming out and denouncing him.

Oh, and one last thing: it looks like Bill Maher, the man who put Milo on air, is revealing himself to be an opportunistic pile of scum. It certainly seems that way if Bills think he has any business taking credit for Milo’s downfall. In his half-hearted defense, he did give Milo a lot more exposure in the media, but honestly that’s about all he did, at least beyond incessantly talking over him throughout the show. But what alarms me more is that, if this is true, then guess what that means? During the show itself he claimed that he invited Milo to show that there can be a civilized discussion between opposite points of view (Maher being a New York liberal and Milo the right-wing populist), but after the whole drama Bill Maher went and said “sunlight is the best disinfectant”. If that’s true and he is to be credited with Milo’s downfall, then do you know what that means to me? It means that Bill Maher never cared about open discussion with the right despite his claims to the contrary. He brought Milo on the show so that he can become famous for it, only so he could be brought down by his bizarre opinions about sex from a year-old podcast being used against him. To Bill, this is just another . His talk about reforming liberalism thus now seems to be as utterly insincere unless it’s on his terms. He doesn’t care about freedom of speech and open exchange of ideas at all. He only cares about bringing Americans back to the fold of the Democratic Party, and no one can convince me otherwise. Fuck Bill Maher and the late night panel show he rode in on!

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8 responses to “The Milo debacle

  1. It is amazing that Milo has managed to climb to the position of influence and celebrity he has on the back of shock and worthless opinion, which reflects what an empty and pointless existence human society has become. Milo was destroyed by his own hubris, thinking his making light of the sexual abuse of children would have no comeback on him.

    • He made light of his own abuse more than anything else, as a teenager I might add. But what you said is probably true to some extent. I do believe that this whole scandal was partly the work of political intrigue from ideologically motivated organizations, and I think that it is somewhat accurate to refer to the whole thing as a smear job. But there is the case to be made that Milo made himself vulnerable to such a trap, and probably more likely to be a lethal combination of, as you said, his own hubris and a media class and political groups who are basically vultures playing for power.

      Oh, and don’t doubt me when I say that we are living in the times of smear jobs. Another online personality called Sargon of Akkad (not to be confused with the historical Akkadian ruler) had a direct message conversation faked to make it look like he was plotting to spread child porn just to trigger some people, but in reality no such things were ever typed by him. That happened some months ago, and for some reason people on Twitter are resurrecting it in order to smear him.

  2. I think he made light of his own abuse, which may have been his way of coping with it, and I accept that. His remarks about Hollywood were really disturbing though, if ambiguous, and just bring up the thing of what he did or didn’t witness and did or didn’t take action on. That I find extremely troubling. I don’t see how he could get around that, unless he was just bullshitting and exaggerating.

    His opinions on his capacity to give consent at the age of 14 or whatever are misguided to me, a minor cannot give meaningful consent as far as I am concerned, and it is the responsibility of any adult to recognise that. He may have chosen to interpret his own experience differently, and that may also have been part of his coping mechanism. But the principle remains clear for me, even if the line at which “adulthood” is drawn is at best a utilitarian approximation. Milo said in the same live stream that he thought the legal line in the UK was “about right”, so that suggests that he accepted the correctness of the legal age of consent. He seemed to be talking about what he considered exceptions, where a relationship might have been judged “positive” for the teenager according to the teenager (not the adult), but that obviously depends on whether the teenager has the maturity to make such a judgement, something which is highly questionable at best, and undoubtedly would be seen as rationalising abusive dysfunction. Whatever the perception of the minor, the adult should not have *themselves* consented to the relationship, in order to protect the minor. I think Milo’s thinking was confused, misguided and distasteful, and I suspect this is part of the convolution of his past history. I have no doubt that he is against child abuse, and is not a paedophile, but I don’t think he understands the scope and complexity of abuse of minors, which can often distort the judgements of the situation by the abused themselves. In fact, this may have been the case with himself.

    I think Milo has been a valuable and flawed performer, playing a unique part in a certain kind of political battle, which he has largely carried out with considerable skill. There’s no doubt in my mind that this has been an organised media hit piece to shut up someone that they so far couldn’t shut down, and has little genuinely to do with concern for minors. It seems telling to me that the one thing he has been “got” on is the very thing that he maybe still couldn’t process from his own past. That his determination to escape being a victim has put him in the position of not being able to see abuse as abuse, or at least be seen to be doing so.

    I saw glimpses of his vulnerability in his admission of the difficulties of being gay in some talks. It would just show through for a moment. He wasn’t someone who was trying to be dishonest, quite the opposite in fact. He was looking to state unfashionable truths as he saw and experienced them in general. I disagree with a lot of what he says, and he can reel off shallow bullshit like nobodies business, but he could also hit nails on heads without concern for the consequences. I think here he mistook a nail for his own wounds. The vultures were waiting, and they really didn’t have good intentions.

      • I should just add a point which Sargon made, with reference to the “Hollywood” parties thing, which was the main thing I found troubling. Sargon pointed out that Milo very probably was not in possession of any *evidence* against anyone at those parties. He wouldn’t have been able to name names on the Joe Rogan show, as he would have been sued, and lost, because he didn’t have evidence. Nothing achieved, apart from the individuals getting richer and feeling invulnerable. He would know how the law works, and things not looking right doesn’t make a legal case. I’d add that he would not have been able to go to the police with a report that he *thought* that some youngsters at the party *looked* like they could have been under 18, and *might* have been at risk, although he didn’t actually witness anything. What would the police have done? He wasn’t talking about children, he was talking about twinks, young gay men that try to look like teens even if they are not (much as some young women do). Can you honestly say with certainty if someone is 16, 17, 18, or a very youthful 20? I looked 16 when I was 20. I looked 13 when I was 16, I didn’t want to, I just couldn’t do anything about it. Arguably he could have contacted the police with a suspicion, but when you really don’t know, and haven’t seen any crime, and you have no evidence, what then?

      • I saw the video. It was very articulate in its description of smear campaigns.

        I hope you’re not getting the wrong idea here, I am fairly convinced that the outrage was started a smear campaign, and I’m suspicious that it may be part of something worse.

      • oh I get that Aleph, it’s frustrating that they pulled off such a cynical thing, and everyone knows it has nothing to do with child abuse, but simply to do with these people hating Milo and being determined to shut him up.

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