Updated: CPAC has disinvited Milo Yiannapoulos.
GOODBYE MILO. We’ll see you again on VH1’s ‘I Love the 10s’ in 2030!
On Friday night, Larry Wilmore told Milo Yiannopoulos to go f*ck himself twice on the Real Time with Bill Maher after show, but it did not erase what Bill Maher had done. By having him on his HBO show, Maher pushed Yiannopoulos from fringe “free speech” advocate familiar to folks mostly in political and media circles and into the “mainstream.”
Here’s the thing about the mainstream, though: Either you bend it, or it bends you. Either the “mainstream” expands to accommodate your voice — in the case of Yiannopoulos, that would mean normalizing his brand of transphobia, gay self hatred, violent antifeminism, and ugly racism under the banner of “free speech” — or the mainstream breaks you because a line was crossed that no one in the mainstream will accept.
The other thing about the mainstream is that being accepted into it means more scrutiny, and it means that sh*tty horrible thing you said in the past comes rushing back. Because you know what the world loves to do to a success: Destroy it by digging into its past.
In the case of Yiannopoulos — who was tapped by the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend to be its keynote speaker — the destruction may come in the form of an old video in which Yiannopoulos basically endorsed pedophilia and offered praise to Catholic priests who molest young boys. In the video, Yiannopoulos describes an incident in which he was molested by a Catholic priest, and then says he’s glad it happened. “But you know what? I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”
And if that sounds like the sort of politically incorrect “joke” one might expect from Yiannopoulos, it turned into something else when Milo essentially endorsed the behavior:
“We get hung up on this sort of child abuse stuff to the point where we are heavily policing consensual adults … In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men — the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship — those relationships in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents.”
Yikes. That is not a joke.
The video sparked such outrage online that Yiannopoulos actually issued a note for idiots, blaming the confusion on “sloppy phrasing” along with “deceptive editing.” Meanwhile, CPAC — who invited Yiannopoulos to be its keynote speaker to highlight the “epidemic of speech suppression around college campuses” — is now in a position where it’s also highlighting a man who encourages pederasty.
The comments from Yiannopoulos are not likely to hurt him in the 4Chan world, but it’ll be a different story with mainstream Republicans. I mean, they glommed onto Yiannopoulos because he was saying things about women, transgender people, and people of color that they agreed with, and the fact that Yiannopoulos was a gay may who dated black Muslims gave them cover. Yiannopoulos “can’t be homophobic, racist, or Islamophobic,” they would say! “He’s gay and dates a black Muslim!” And then they patted themselves on the back for supporting a gay man. But wait and see what happens when Fox News starts reporting that Yiannopoulos advocated pedophilia, something that the GOP does not endorse, either openly or secretly.
Let’s just hope that Yiannopoulos’ time in the “mainstream” is short lived. I can’t imagine CPAC not pulling its invitation to Yiannopoulos, because if it doesn’t, it will be put in a position of defending a man who endorses pederasty.