Illustration by Gauraang Biyani

The Fall of Milo Yiannopolous

The reaction to Milo’s potential comeback will certainly give a big picture of how rooted we are to our human morals.

Mar 5, 2017

I like to think that in every person’s soul lies an implicit set of sacred and traditional human values. I’m referring specifically to the values of respect and kindness. It is normal and reasonable to have different views on delicate topics, and by confronting ourselves with other people’s opinions, we can only grow as individuals. However, I believe that in every confrontation there should also be a limit based on these values. If an act passes this limit we must come together as humans, even alongside people who have different views from ours, and denounce the act as unworthy. A striking demonstration of this process occurred with Milo Yiannopoulos’s comments on pedophilia. Yiannopoulos is a 32 year-old British public speaker living in the United States. He came to fame as a provocateur of today’s political establishment. The mainstream media defines his views as Islamophobic, xenophobic and misogynist. He has in the past accused feminists of being sociopathic and stated that Muslims are allowed to get away with almost anything.
Although constantly making the headlines of newspapers with his unacceptable statements, he was able to form and guide a conservative movement outside of the U.S. Republican Party. An outspoken homosexual himself, Yiannopoulos often refers to the President of the United States as daddy. His career grew in parallel with Trump’s rise to the White House — Trump’s success landed Yiannopoulos with a place as senior editor of the infamous far-right news website, Breitbart. Although many have expressed their disdain towards Yiannopoulos, he was also incredibly popular until a January 2016 Youtube clip — no longer availble on the internet — surfaced, in which Milo appears to be encouraging pedophilia.
In the video, Yiannopoulos is heard saying that the age of consent was “not this black and white thing” and “older men can help younger boys discover who they are”. In another clip Yiannopoulos admits that he engaged in sexual exchanges with a priest when he was 14 and that helped him to discover he was gay.
Pedophilia is perceived as one of the most taboo topics in contemporary society. Yiannopoulos’s comments forced him to resign as Breitbart senior editor. As human beings, whether conservative or liberal, we all feel disgusted by these comments. Even Breitbart’s editor-in-chief, Alex Marlow, condemned Yiannopoulos’s actions, stating that Milo’s comments were not defensible.
Over the last year, the bar for previously indefensible comments has been lowered. Politicians, who should serve as role models for all of us, have lost respect and credibility due to comments they have made about women’s genitals and apparent sexual relationships with secretaries.
We were definitely shocked when we first heard such news, but somehow we ended up accepting it, in some cases even forgetting about it. Why is it then that we are not able to do that with Milo’s pedophilia comments? It all comes down to the values discussed at the beginning of this piece: respect and kindness, the pillars of our morality.
When values like respect and kindness are not taken into consideration, we feel offended. If, however, these values are trespassed with regard to children, we are not only offended but disgusted. Here, a line is drawn. Children symbolize our inner selves. As such, they are vulnerable to external attacks, both verbal and physical. Therefore, if these values are not upheld with regard to children we feel the need to reestablish normality by condemning the act. It’s a process that takes place in our minds subconsciously.
A striking example of this subconscious process occurred just after Trump’s presidency was announced. The President’s 10-year-old son, Barron Trump, was brutally attacked by Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich, who wrote in a tweet: “Barron Trump will be this country’s first homeschool shooter.” Rich was forced to publicly excuse herself for her insensitive comments via Twitter and was suspended from her position at SNL. Rich was condemned by the general public and her employer for directing her comments to a child. This demonstrates that there exists no justification for moral trespassing with children.
Yiannopoulos definitely crossed the line with his pedophilia comments and it will be long before he makes a comeback. Since the incident, Yiannopoulos has publicly apologized. It is now up to the general public to decide if Yiannopoulos can be excused or not. The reaction to Yiannopoulos’s potential comeback will certainly send a strong message about how rooted we are to our morals.
Andrea Arletti is a staff writer. Email him at
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