Milo Yiannopoulos is an awful person. From encouraging trolls to single out and attack women online, dismissing Black Lives Matter activists as terrorists, and humiliating transgender people by name in front of audiences, the (now former) Breitbart editor has made a name for himself not through any profound ideas or political savvy, but by a willingness to demean and denigrate.
Just this past week, CPAC – the massive annual gathering of conservatives that kicks off today – invited Milo to speak at its convention despite his alt-right ties and demonstrated bigotry. Considering that Republicans view themselves as the flag-bearers of moral rectitude, the deification of such an abhorrent figure (and the adoption of Trump, himself no better than Milo) exposes the GOP as an incubator for hate.
But everyone has a line, and it turns out that for Republicans that line is sex with minors. Video surfaced of Milo defending same-sex intercourse between adults and boys. People can be forgiven if they weren’t entirely shocked; taken together with all the other controversies that the British far-right commentator has sparked, there is very little remarkable to find in the revelation.
For CPAC, however, statutory rape was too much. It rescinded the invitation. Shortly thereafter, Simon & Schuster dropped his book deal, and he resigned (re: was fired) as Breitbart’s technology editor.
In a way, his downfall stems from the use of a similiar tactic he has used to publicly ostracize those he considers his enemies. A conservative blog whose writers were discontent over the inclusion of an alt-right figure like Milo at CPAC repeatedly Tweeted the videos in question in a campaign to create noise over his controversial stances. Much as the lives of his trolling victims were laid bare in a barrage of social media activity, Milo similarly couldn’t withstand the growing chorus of disapproval brought about but this public shaming.
Could he rebound? Public figures have certainly survived worse. But for the time-being at least it will be much more difficult for conservatives to mainstream his vile views on sex and race. For that, we’re all thankful.