Depending on your point of view, Milo Yiannopoulos is either a hero who stands up for your political views, or he’s an outspoken pest who won’t go away. Currently in the country on an almost sold-out speaking tour (featuring guest MCs including Ross Cameron, Mark Latham, and Andrew Bolt), the self-described provocateur has already drawn criticism for the sort wide variety of topic he’s here to speak of, and his recent appearance in Melbourne sparked riots between protesters and supporters. Needless to say, he’s quite a divisive figure.
But who is Milo Yiannopoulos and why is there so much controversy regarding his political views and his current trip to our country? Well, to help make sense of it all, we’ve put together a few points to help you understand the man who has been described as a saviour of the alt-right.
Milo Yiannopoulos first came widespread public attention thanks to his position at The Telegraph where he was a journalist focusing on technology. This gave Yiannopoulos prime position to comment on the Gamergate controversy, which started as a discussion of ethics and gender equality in video games, and soon became a campaign of harassment spearheaded by a depressingly large number of sexist gamers.
During this time, Yiannopoulos’ controversial comments and stance of anti-political correctness led to him being considered one of the most vocal figures at the centre of the debacle, leading to a number of death threats by those who opposed his viewpoints.
Following his time at the centre of the Gamergate controversy, Yiannopoulos joined the highly controversial Brietbart News website, becoming a senior editor. Breitbart’s conservative nature has long been a point of controversy, with numerous protestors claiming that their viewpoints are xenophobic, misogynistic, and highly racist. Yiannopoulos resigned from the website earlier this year, but his name is still considered synonymous with the organisation.
In October of this year, a number of emails associated with Yiannopoulos were leaked, and showed that Breitbart had been in frequent contact with a number of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Rather than shutting down their ideology and refusing to give them any sort of platform, it was revealed that these emails showed a rather concrete plan to help these people and their message be heard by the public. This bombshell revelation made it clear to the publication’s detractors just what Breitbart and its writers stood for, and painted a dim view of both the website and Yiannopoulos in the minds of a large majority of the general public.
One of the more famous points of view that Yiannopoulos is known to hold is his opposition of gay rights. Despite being openly gay himself, Yiannopoulos has frequently spoken of his hatred of homosexuals, and considers being gay “a lifestyle choice guaranteed to bring [gay people] pain and unhappiness.”
However, following the 2016 shooting at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the outspoken Yiannopoulos took to Twitter to denounce Islam, seemingly supporting the homosexual victims of the horrifying incident. For his comments about Islam though, he was served with a ban from Twitter, though after a series of Tweets which were seen as “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others”, Yiannopoulos was given the dubious honour of receiving a lifetime ban from the service.
Alleged Support Of Child Abuse
Most alarmingly, one of the topics that Yiannopoulos has become known for recently is his alleged support of child abuse. In 2016, he stated that relationships between children as young as 13 and an adult can happen “perfectly consensually”, before attempting to redefine pedophilia as an attraction to a child that has not reached puberty, as opposed to a child who has not reached sexual maturity. Other comments, including his views on the “arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent” have raised many eyebrows around the world, with many wondering why he has been given a platform to speak his mind.
Since then, Yiannopoulos has denied his support of child abuse, but rather stated that his comments were a way to cope with the abuse that he had also suffered when he was younger. While there’s no denying that some use an approach such as this to deal with trauma, it is a bit worrying when victims are able to so flippantly say things such as “I’m grateful for Father Michael, I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”