As you may or may not have heard, last week Milo Yiannopoulos, editor and columnist for Breitbart and gay conservative activist, has been permanently banned from Twitter after an online scuttle with Leslie Jones, star of a failed feminist propaganda, “Ghostbusters.” What brought on this permaban? Well Yiannopoulos has obtained a huge following amongst conservatives and libertarians-alike because of his unabashed, brutally frank and direct way of speaking. He has never pussyfooted around any subject and in fact, he likes to use rhetoric that he knows will piss people off. He calls himself the supervillain of the internet and a professional provocateur. Considering the reactions he has had across Twitter, I would say that self-declaration may be very accurate.
Earlier this year he caused waves on Twitter by publishing a polls such as, “Would you rather your child have feminism or cancer?” Needless to say, his rhetoric is direct, passionate, hyperbolic, and very calculated to elicit a response from those dumb enough to take it personally. To summarize: Milo Yiannopoulos has made a career out of being an online asshole. Sounds like a lot of comedians.
So what exactly did Yiannopoulos do? How did it all go down and did he deserve to be permabanned?
On July 18th, Yiannopoulos released a review of the new Ghostbusters movie produced by Sony. Unlike many of the other reviews sown across the internet over the last few weeks, he gave it a poor review, and in the way Yiannopoulos does, he made it funny. His rhetoric can be seen as mean by those who do not understand insult comedy, which is a real thing, mind you. After the review was posted, Jones received a few messages from random people on Twitter who were readers of Milo’s column. Milo then made a post on his twitter reading, “If at first you d on’t succeed (because your work is terrible), play the victim. EVERYONE GETS HATE MAIL FFS.”
Jones replied, “@Nero you have been reported I hope the lock your Acct,” and things just took off from there. More people criticized as Jones as her name showed up mentioning @Nero. She poked the bear and those who follow him responded to her. There were legit criticisms, people trying to help her, and also actual trolls all commenting to her. Meanwhile, everything that came out of her Twitter, regardless of whether it was directed at friend or foe, was hostile, racist, and vulgar.
For a second, consider the following: if you know anything about trolls, you’d know they are the Lokis of the internet. They don’t care about anyone’s feelings; they’re mischievous and playful in most cases. The only way to deal with a troll? Ignore them! When you respond, you give them something to interact with and they will keep coming at you until you crack. Most public figures who use social media realize this so when the trolls come, they choose not to engage. No problem. However, Jones refused to disengage the trolls, and in fact, fanned the flames to make the issue bigger and to create herself as a bigger victim on purpose.
After Jones threw inflammatory comment after inflammatory comment Jack Dorsey came to her asking for a DM, I assume to stack the situation. It was a PR stunt by her own admission and it doesn’t matter what the truth was or is because Dorsey and Twitter have made it abundantly clear that they hate gays by allowing MuslimTwitter to harass and threaten and continue to plot through their medium. Not to mention the fact the Prince of Saudi Arabia owns high stock in Twitter. Did I mention that in Saudi Arabia they encourage the murder of gays?
What should have happened was Leslie Jones muted the people she didn’t like.
“But she shouldn’t have to put up with this harassment! It’s against Twitter’s TOS!”
Sure, you can say this, but Dorsey himself said that hateful, threatening, or mean comments are allowed and it’s up to users to follow, block, or mute people they don’t want to hear from. He says it right in this video:
Additionally, Jones has said she goes out of her way to provoke people online:
So by Dorsey’s rules, shouldn’t she be banned?
The #FreeMilo hashtag and the fight against Twitter isn’t about letting one person back onto some random communication conduit online. It’s about what free speech means. If you haven’t noticed over the last few years, the things that transpire online have a way of making it out into the real world. If we allow these online nations to control free speech, free thought, and decide what its users are able to experience/read, then it is no better than any actual country that has censored the information its people get from the news. It’s not better than the countries who didn’t allow their citizens to learn to read because they wanted to be in control of the information. Twitter, and Facebook, are communist, tyrannical countries, but the left is okay with it because for now, it tells them what they want to hear.
If you read my blog post last week (or have even minimal experience on the internet), you would already know that the internet is a mean and hateful place. There will always be assholes, but it should be up to the users on whether or not they want to engage. Teach people personal responsibility. Teach people how to respond as adults. Teach people that freedom means the ability to annoy or piss people off. Teach people that disagreement doesn’t have to mean isolation from someone. Teach people that even if you don’t like what other’s have to say, you can deal with them not matching your opinion. That is true tolerance.
Not forced submission. Not eradication. Not isolation. Not censorship. Just the good, old-fashioned idea of agreeing to disagree and living with it. Anything else is tyranny.