Milo Yiannopoulos has gotten national news coverage for his speaking tour amidst protestors who shut down his event at Berkeley, which ironically is known as the birth place of the free speech movement. Not anymore, apparently.
One student tweeted that the protests were “mostly peaceful” but the media was “only showing the violence”. That violence includes people being beaten down by angry mobs, hit with flag poles, left in pools of blood with potential life-ending brain injuries… it’s all very disturbing the lengths that they would go to just to stop somebody from speaking to them.
A common tactic that Universities have used to try to prevent Milo from speaking in the past is to drastically increase the security fees at the last minute. In this case, an anonymous donor paid the fee so that the event could continue, but rioters were able to use violence, fear, intimidation and chaos to stop it either way.
Milo is a provocateur and a free-speech advocate. As a homosexual ring-wing immigrant who mostly sleeps with black men, he’s able to push a lot of buttons. There’s a fine line between the trolling and when he’s being genuine, and there’s no group he isn’t willing to take on if he feels they’re wrong. It’s not hard to disagree with some of his stances, but the overall point always comes back to free speech, especially on University campuses, which makes these violent riots that much more ironic. It’s exactly what he spends his life warning people about, and now those rioters have given him a national stage to do so.
Free speech and trolling
When it comes to free speech and trolling, 4chan is Mecca. It’s a place where anything goes, unlike a lot of message boards or social media sites like reddit, who have come under file many times over the years for actively filtering out perfectly legal content that goes against the politics of the admins while pushing up things they agree with, having their CEO ghost-editing other people’s comments by hand with no trace, and more – which is all contrary to the founding principles of the site.
Milo was banned from Twitter recently after criticizing the new Ghostbusters movie and its cast, which resulted in a lot of people starting to cyber-bully a not-tech-savvy Leslie Jones. Milo has been at the forefront of the “new” free speech movement (Not the one that violently shut him down at a University), he’s been a strong voice in Gamergate, and he’s been protested by everyone from gay rights activists, to feminists, to BLM.
“As a free-speech fundamentalist and a student of Internet culture, I appreciate how fragile and precious the 4chan ecosystem is and how much it gives to the wider Internet — even if some corners of it, such as /pol/, don’t always approve of me very much,” Yiannopoulos said.
Now, it looks like Milo wants to buy 4chan. Seriously.
“I spoke to my lawyer this morning about purchasing the business,” said Yiannopoulos. “I intend to approach the current owners in the next few days with an offer. My philosophy as owner would be very simple: free-speech central, no ifs, no buts.”
Some people are worried that 4chan could get sold to a big corporate entity and no longer be a place for free speech, much like what happened with reddit. Milo taking the helm would set many of those concerns at ease.