Disgraced blogger #milo yiannopoulos was a strange choice as symbol for the GOP, but his downfall shows that being pro #Donald Trump is not a reason to give anyone unconditional support. The last three weeks have shown the Party that #Freedom Of Speech is not open and that it must also come with responsibility..
For those who did not know the controversial blogger, the protests by those who opposed the right wing commentator’s racist and transphobic views on the Berkeley campus on February 2nd was the first sign that he was more than a simple online personality. Because of the protests the on campus event by the Berkeley College Republicans with Yiannopoulos was cancelled.
Other Republicans, including #President Trump condemned the protest as a denial of freedom of speech and the blogger became a symbol of the perceived persecution of right wing activists by alleged “liberal” extremists. As a result of this support Yiannopoulos was invited to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
The last few days events have shown that the protests against the blogger were more than a mere act of political opposition to a pro Trump journalist.
On Saturday a conservative blog Reagan Battalion put online a video of an interview with journalist Joe Rogan where the homosexual Yiannopoulos apparently, as reported by the Washington Post, “defend(ing) pedophilia and pedophiles”.
This video was followed by another on the same blog in which the then Breitbart editor made more controversial comments, including others on pedophilia.
With those videos began the downfall of Yiannopoulos. The first reaction was by CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp who rescinded the invitation to Wednesday’s event due to what he described as the “disturbing comments” by Yiannopoulos.
On Monday publisher Simon and Schuster, again referring to the controversy raised by the videos, cancelled a book contract with the blogger and finally on Tuesday Yiannopoulos announced that he had resigned his position on Breitbart news as an editor.
These last few days have shed light on the controversial nature of Yiannopoulos’ writings and even more on why the Republican Party had backed a personality that seemed so much in contrast to its traditional conservative values.
These events have highlighted that freedom of expression is not always black and white.
The protesters at Berkeley against the invitation by the local Republican group had a right to oppose the blogger’s controversial opinions, but this right does not condone or justify violence by the minority which caused considerable damage to the campus.
In addition, the Republican Party and its supporters should also look at their own behaviour over the last three weeks since the Berkeley protests.
GOP and Trump Tweet
The obvious delight and speed with which the GOP exploited the opportunity given by the violent minority meant that it did not address the reasons for the protests. In fact, the developments of the last four days have justified the opposition to the original invitation to Yiannopoulos based on the facile justification that he had been a victim of anti Trump prejudice by liberals.
To highlight this fact, it is sufficient to read President Trump’s tweet on February 2nd in which he stated “U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view”. It is interesting to note that the President has made no comment in relation to Yiannopoulos’ subsequent comments or dramatic fall this week.
The Yiannopoulos case should warn both parties that support or condemnation must not be granted simply because a person seems to be a supporter or an opponent. The right of freedom of speech which both parties defend is not a license to promote violence, or hatred of others such as homosexuals, other religions, or different life styles.
Naturally, this message applies not only to politicians but to all the population, beginning with the media. #milo yiannopoulos