Over the weekend, an unsettling interview in which known “provocateur” (read: unapologetically misogynistic bigot) Milo Yiannopoulos advocated for pedophilia began circulating the inter webs, conveniently just after it was announced that he would be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference. And for all conservatives’ bluster about the evils of “political correctness,” or, you know, basic human decency and respect, apparently defending pedophilia was just too damn provocative although sure, calling black people “apes” and encouraging mass internet sexual harassment movements is all in good fun!
At any rate, his invitation to CPAC isn’t even the only thing the unearthed interview has cost Yiannopoulos: Simon & Schuster just cancelled the book deal it had with the Breitbart editor in response to Yiannoppoulos’ comments on pedophilia and child molestation, which is all well and good, although why Simon & Schuster offered him the deal in the first place is questionable.
The deal was established in December, and “Dangerous,” as Yiannopoulos’ would-be book was titled, earned him a $250,000 advance from the company.
“They said banning me from Twitter would finish me off,” Yiannopoulos boasted at the time. “Just as I predicted, the opposite has happened.” Oh, hubris. Sweet, sweet hubris.
As of Monday, the deal has been terminated “after careful consideration,” Simon & Schuster told Publishers Weekly.
Simon & Schuster is canceling the publication of 'Dangerous' by Milo Yiannopoulos "After careful consideration." Full story coming soon.— Publishers Weekly (@PublishersWkly) February 20, 2017
Yiannopoulos’ justification of pedophilia is nothing short of disgusting, but the fact that anyone would offer an unapologetic white supremacist a platform in the first place, only to take it away now as if we’re only just recognizing how awful he is, is pretty disgusting too. Free speech is a constitutional right, but that alone doesn’t make hate speech, or speech inciting the removal of marginalized groups’ human rights, morally justifiable.
And simultaneously, the fact that free speech is a constitutional right doesn’t mean anyone is obligated to give bigots a platform. Anyone who calls out Simon & Schuster for “censoring” Milo and infringing on his first amendment rights should seriously study up on what the first amendment actually guarantees.
At any rate, these are the comments from the interview, first posted in January, that have even the most anti-“PC” conservatives riled up:
“We’re talking about 13 [year-olds], 25 [year-olds]; 13 [year olds], 28 [year-olds], these things do happen, perfectly consensually. We get hung up on this child abuse stuff; this arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent, which totally destroys the complexities and subtleties and complicated nature of many relationships. You know, people are messy and complex, and in the homosexual world particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men help the young boys to discover who they are, and to give them security and safety and provide them with love and a rock where they can’t speak to their parents.”
As of Monday, a senior editor at Breitbart told reporters “at least half a dozen” of Yiannopoulos’ colleagues are prepared to resign if the website doesn’t terminate him. As unsettling as all of this is, let’s be honest, it’s also pretty fun to watch.