Milo Yiannopoulos is, essentially, a professional hate-tumor. He’s young, handsome, white and gay and says super outrageous hateful shit. And conservatives love him. College conservative groups love to invite him to come spew invective at their campuses across the country. He was slated to speak at UC Berkeley on Feb. 1 but protests, during which some protesters became violent, forced the school to cancel.
Now, if you’re a Republican, you’ll likely point to the violence and dismiss the reason for the protest altogether while also bemoaning the loss of respect for “free speech.”
But here’s the thing. “Free speech” doesn’t mean that organizations or institutions have to give you a platform to amplify your voice. Especially when you are basically a hateful dick sneeze.
You don’t have to do much digging to find racist and sexist shit Yiannopoulos has said. But a very good example is a speech he gave at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in December of 2016 where he showed the crowd the name and photo of a specific transgender student at the school and proceeded to mock her. “He got into the women’s room the way liberals always operate, using the government and the courts to weasel their way where they don’t belong,” Yiannopoulos said. He then declared that this student wasn’t succeeding in being a “passing tranny.”
“The way that you know he’s failing is I’d almost still bang him,” Yiannopoulos said, purposefully using the incorrect pronouns.
His argument, essentially, is that this student was a threat to women on campus because she was trans and used the same locker rooms. Not exactly a new argument from the right, but this time it was, literally, personal.
Free speech doesn’t mean that you get a free pass to terrorize a trans student on campus because you happen to have a “differing viewpoint” about whether her life is worth anything or not.
Free speech is a fundamental right, sure, but the fact that student conservative and Republican groups are paying Yiannopoulos to spew his fascist garbage says an awful lot about what it means to be a conservative Republican these days. And by the looks of the protests against not just Yiannopoulos but also against Donald Trump, Americans will choose equality and justice over those who speak out against them.