Twitter permanently suspended Breitbart editor and all-around conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos after criticizing the ‘Ghostbusters’ remake and star Leslie Jones amidst accusations that he directed abusive comments to her online.
In a statement via email, the social media company told Yiannopoulos he’s been suspended for “participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals,” and that due to “repeated warnings” his account will not be restored.
Some suggest Jones had set out to stir up drama on Twitter, taunting critics for hours before Yiannopoulos even mentioned her, possibly to boost PR for the controversial remake.
Critics of Milo mention the fact that Twitter is a privately owned company and can suspend whomever it likes.
That’s true enough, but four years separates us from when Twitter was the “free speech wing of the free speech party” to Twitter as a platform which now sports an Orwellianly-named “Trust and Safety Council” and has now evidently decided to go to war with conservative and libertarian users while seemingly letting off the hook extremist figures with which the left sympathizes, courtesy of notoriously opaque and arbitrary execution of policy and procedure.
The double standards have not gone unnoticed:
— Kukuruyo (@kukuruyo) July 20, 2016
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) July 20, 2016
— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) July 20, 2016
— Heat Street (@heatstreet) July 20, 2016
Not just conservatives object to this
There’s a reason I’ve sourced Breitbart extensively – I used to hate it.
I won’t unpack them in this article, but for a number of reasons I feel compelled these days to defend people with whom I still disagree on a lot of issues, but to whom I would never have even given the time of day just two years ago.
I’ve never looked back, and I’ve never had as much fun intellectually as I’ve had talking to people with which I still disagree on occasion.
Again, I’m still not a conservative, but progressive media types have long since alienated me to the point where I’ve been forced to reevaluate everything I’ve ever believed in, and Milo is single-handedly responsible for bringing me into the fold as a Breitbart reader.
I started following Milo in late 2014 when he sat at “just” 40,000 followers. By the time he was booted for good, so it seems this time, he was more than 380,000 followers.
Needless to say this man’s influence and meaning to many cannot be underestimated.
Even those who may not be sympathetic to Milo caution Twitter on banning him, even as they miss the point by all but flatly accusing him of something he simply isn’t guilty of.
Only the beginning?
It’s not nice to say, more or less, “your movie is mediocre and we all get hate mail so grow a spine and grow up.”
It’s easy enough for people who don’t like him anyway to smear Milo as responsible for any abuse Jones received.
But whether you, I, or anyone else likes him, Milo dances fabulously on the lip of the Overton window, boldly expressing concerns (some of which which I think are perfectly reasonable) for which many people are scared – or forced – into silence over the danger of being smeared as bigots.
With him shut out, so will Twitter soon shut out everyone who doesn’t have the “correct” political viewpoint, whatever their demographic makeup might be.
If past is prelude, heaven help those non-white/male/straight/cis individuals who don’t subscribe to the opinions prescribed for them by the Regressive Left.
I defend Milo in the hopes of forestalling the day the Overton window is slammed shut entirely by the #RegressiveLeft, and I or anyone else I like or care about are made to disappear (whether it be from social media and the internet or into a gulag) for opinions we express which are tame by comparison.
Twitter may have ostensibly banned Milo over his brief tangle with Jones “as a last straw”, but I’m sure most of us who are sympathetic to what he’s done in the past couple of years understand that isn’t what this is about – they’ve wanted to get rid of him for a long time and this was simply an excuse.
I don’t know if one set point can be identified as either a beginning or end in a war for human liberty.
But this is still part of such a war, one which for now stays mostly online in this case.
It’s also a war between people on one side, we for whom words have no power which we don’t grant vs. the Regressive Left which equates words with physical violence and wants the state to criminally penalize those who express ideas and opinions they don’t agree with and who deliberately mischaracterizes, smears, and defames as “hate speech”.
I don’t know that Twitter banning Milo for good will do anything for them, nor any other Twitter users who would like to see conservatives, libertarians, or even anti-authoritarian, sympathetic liberals such as myself purged from the site.
I do however suggest anyone who celebrates this to look up the “Streisand Effect” and understand that this is just a beginning.