Milo Yiannopoulos came this close to becoming a household name.
(Janet Van Ham/HBO via AP)
He came close, and for a time perhaps was, but for now even far-right publisher Breitbart News seems to have seen the light, as they say.
Breitbart, the “platform for the alt-right,” as President Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon put it, is where Milo published his many provocations. (Prior to joining Trump’s team, Bannon ran Breitbart.) The alt-right, for those who don’t know, is a political movement spearheaded by white supremacists, though its leaders deny the label.
Facing evident pressure, Milo resigned from his position as senior editor on Feb. 21. This happened after comments surfaced, from a podcast in 2016, in which Milo made some choice remarks about sexual consent with young boys.
To make a long story short, just about everyone dropped Milo like a hot potato. The only real marvel is why it took so long, and the only real question is whether there’s enough gas in Milo’s tank to rise again.
Milo built a career on terms like ‘slut’s remorse.’
The problem with Milo is he seems willing to say anything to achieve his goals of fame and stardom. Milo has described himself, after all, as a professional troll. As most anyone familiar with online culture knows, the Merriam-Webster definition fits the bill: “A person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content.”
Take this example of a typical Milo headline:
- ‘Slut’s Remorse’ Is Why Rape Suspects Should Be Anonymised
Published on Breitbart in 2014, Milo makes the case against false allegations brought against innocent partners following one-night stands, and conveniently ignores the elephant in the room, as though anyone victimized by rape or sexual assault is suffering from “slut’s remorse,” Milo’s clickbait diagnosis.
Other examples abound.
Milo, in other words, is a product of our divisive political culture.
Milo has proven quite popular on one side, quite unpopular on the other.
In a world where the “alt-right” can somehow gain even a shred of legitimacy, in the form of figureheads like Milo Yiannopoulos who nearly break into mainstream media, perhaps it’s still possible for someone like Milo to go too far and say or do something that repels conservatives, liberals, and business interests alike.
This is precisely what happened to Milo. In recent days, in addition to losing his Breitbart job, Milo’s speaking engagement at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference was canceled, as was his book deal with Simon and Schuster.
Now we’ll have to wait to see whether America is ready or willing to accept Milo Troll v2.