The deplatforming of Milo Yiannopoulos—once one of the hottest names in far-right social media as the Breitbart-based leader of the Gamergate anti-feminist faction, now relegated to the dank corners of the Internet, thanks to his social-media ban—is following a somewhat predictable arc: He’s openly embracing the agenda of the radical right.Specifically, he’s now fomenting for a civil war. Over the weekend, he posted this on Gab:
I abhor political violence. Let me be clear about that. But when someone takes away your freedom, your speech and your ability to protect yourself and your family, there aren’t many options left. At least, that’s how citizens quickly come to feel.
It getting close to the time when, per America’s founding documents, citizens will start forming into well-regulated militias in preparation for the lawful defense of the Constitution. And maybe I’m the right person to sketch out how that should work.
You know, maximum cell size. Encrypted comms. Like I said, I abhor violence. But civil war is coming, and, if it does, well-meaning but poorly-informed and relentlessly deplatformed conservatives are going to need a handbook.
Yiannopoulos has had multiple dalliances with the violent wing of the radical right in the past couple of years. On Inauguration Day 2017, he gave a speech in Seattle that drew a large crowd of alt-righters and counterprotesters outside, where things became extremely violent. One of the Milo fans allegedly shot one of the counterprotesters that night, while Milo tried to blame the shooting on the victims.
In the intervening months, but well before his Instagram ban, he openly encouraged violence against journalists: “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” he responded to a writer for The New York Observer.
When Guardian reporter Will Sommer asked Yiannopoulos about his decision to join the UK Independent Party, he responded by email that he “can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight!”
Since then, he has doubled down on his call for violence against journalists. On Instagram, he responded to a similar query from Mediaite reporter Amy Russo with a post (since removed) saying: “If journalists keep lying, deceiving and manipulating the public, then they will reap the same hatred they are sowing against Trump and his voters. Truthfully I take no pleasure in the prospect; I’d rather beat you in a debate hall than a wrestling ring. But you did this to yourselves, and you deserve what’s coming.”
n a comment, he added: “Is it malevolence, or stupidity? Sometimes it can be hard to tell.”
Yiannopoulos’s career has been in precipitous decline since early 2017, following his sudden rise to media stardom as a leading figure in the alt-right, due largely to his influential role during the “Gamergate” controversy, then as an editor at Breitbart News. However, after an interview surfaced in February 2017 which he suggested sexual relations between adult men and young boys could be beneficial, he lost his sponsorship by the Mercer family, was dropped by his publisher, and resigned his position at Breitbart. Then in October, his close dalliances with white nationalists while at Breitbart (including an evening of karaoke with Richard Spencer) were exposed by Buzzfeed.
Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter in 2016. Earlier this month, he and a number of other far-right provocateurs and bigots were summarily removed from Instagram and Facebook, leaving them virtually nowhere to go. Yiannopoulos remains somewhat popular on Gab, but that particular platform continues to attract low numbers of participation.
However, fantasies about a civil war remain a highly popular target at far-right forums like Gab and 4chan. Apparently, Yiannopoulos is offering himself as their leading strategic thinker, since he apparently has more experience in insurgent strategies than anyone else in that corner of the Internet. Or so he would tell us.
Published with permission of Daily Kos