The infamous "dangerous faggot" has been permanently banned from Twitter. Milo Yiannopoulos is a British journalist infamous for his flamboyant public personality. He's found himself embroiled in Twitter flame wars with just about every public figure imaginable.
He's joked that YouTube personality Onision's parents should have abused him more:
And gone after fellow conservatives like Ben Shapiro for their personal failings:
@benshapiro and I have never had sex because you have to be at least 5-feet tall to ride
— Milo Yiannopoulos ✘ (@Nero) January 14, 2016
This kind of behaviour may seem harsh, but this is what Yiannopoulos does for a living. He has built a following on saying outlandish, offensive things, he says the things on our minds that we're too afraid to. He's hilarious, cheeky, and always keeps his Twitter battles humorous causing his "victims" to trip over themselves when they take his words too seriously.
He's been a potent force on Twitter for the past several years, and has maintained a large following ever since he broke the GamerGate scandal in 2014. Over that period, he's been suspended several times, but he's always been swiftly reinstated after the inevitable public outcry. According to Twitter, this time will be different.
After all Milo's said and done, what's finally gotten him banned for good?
A bad review of the new Ghostbusters movie. Normally, film criticism is well-tolerated, and no one would complain. But we're living in a brave new world. A brave new world where if you can muster enough checkbox diversity, your work is no longer allowed to be criticised. If you roasted Ghostbusters for being a boring reboot, having a terrible plot or featuring unfunny actresses, apparently you've just signed a warrant to be labelled a racist and be banned from every major social media platform.
Leslie Jones is beloved by the progressive movement for her token role in the "all-feminist Ghostbusters" as the film's sole black character. Her complaints about Yiannopoulos quickly reached the ears of Twitter's social justice loving CEO Jack Dorsey, and resulted in his immediate ban.
Jones' frustration was understandable. She was subject to abuse from countless trolls after she picked a fight with Yiannopoulos.
But none of Milo's tweets were particularly offensive. He ribbed her a little, sure. But his behaviour fell well short of any reasonable standard of harassment. Instead of being judged on the basis of his actions, Milo has been judged on the basis of the actions of a few of his Twitter followers.
In his review, he condemns the stereotypical role given to Leslie Jones. "Patty is a two dimensional racist stereotype by even the most forgiving measure....The actress is spectacularly unappealing, even relative to the rest of the odious cast. But it's her flat-as-a-pancake black stylings that ought to have irritated the SJWs [social justice warriors]. I don't get offended by such things, but they should."
His tweets are incomparable to something like this:
If you publish opinions that are controversial, you increase your chance of getting hate mail. If you get into an argument with another public figure, you increase your chance of getting hate mail. You should not only be prepared for it, but if you're a blockbuster actress like Leslie, you should be used to it. Apparently, Leslie wasn't, and announced she would be leaving Twitter.
No one is advocating at all for harassment or racist abuse. But Leslie Jones is a very prominent public figure who has been in show business for nearly three decades – a field much like politics, where a thick skin is required.
This whole thing seems like a classic case of manufactured outrage. It's brought a lot of press attention to Jones and her new film. It's also served as an excellent excuse to ban Milo, who has been a vocal critic of Twitter for years.
Twitter has claimed that Yiannopolous made a campaign of targeted harassment towards Jones, yet has not shown any evidence that Yiannopoulos has done any such thing. As he said on his CNBC interview today, "It's preposterous to suggest a public figure, actor, or journalist is responsible for what other people post on the Internet".
Twitter is a private company so it can do whatever it likes. But it should be honest, and so should the press. They can't keep portraying themselves as the good guys when they let leftwing figures get away with worse behaviour than Milo Yiannopoulos was ever responsible for.
A representative for Twitter offered the following statement to BuzzFeed on Monday: "While we don't comment on individual accounts, here's an explainer on our content boundaries here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311". And later that day told them: "This type of abusive behavior is not permitted on Twitter, and we've taken action on many of the accounts reported to us by both Leslie and others." On Tuesday they sent a further statement:
"People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others."
Curiously, there is evidence of Leslie Jones inciting the exact behaviour she's complained about, by encouraging her followers to attack a "bitch" she took issue with:
So why hasn't Jones been suspended? Why hasn't her Twitter account been pulled, given that she has a made a point of actively sending her followers to attack others?
Because despite Twitter and the mainstream media's denial, there is a campaign targeting conservatives and libertarians on social media. Milo's ban comes on the heels of Twitter's ban of the rapper and Trump supporter Azealia Banks, and the ban of conservative journalist Chuck C. Johnson.
Twitter is a private company so it can do whatever it likes. But it should be honest, and so should the press. They can't keep portraying themselves as the good guys when they let left-wing figures get away with worse behaviour than Milo Yiannopoulos was ever responsible for. As Yiannopoulos stated today on CNBC, what has Twitter become if "a journalist can't even tease a hollywood blockbuster actress?".
If Twitter continues down this path of censorship and appeasing the perpetually aggrieved, it's bound to become a very boring platform. A platform that is confined to the expression of uninteresting and conformative opinions. A platform that lacks healthy debate and honesty.
We'll see how long that platform will last. My guess is not very long.