The fall of Milo Yiannopoulos

Samantha Woolford, Contributing Writer

Milo Yiannopoulos, former senior tech editor for Breitbart News, resigned on Feb. 21 due to the resurfacing of unsavory comments regarding what many interpreted as pedophilia. Yiannopoulos was also scheduled as the keynote speaker for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which withdrew their invitation after his comments came to light.

Yiannopoulos is known for being a provocateur—he wants to start a discussion, and he does this through presenting his ideas in ways that seem inflammatory. It is important to note that Yiannopoulos does not typically apologize for his comments. He wholeheartedly believes in free speech and does not think people should have to apologize for what they believe. After many years of being vilified, his opponents finally found something that he said is very hard to defend—his alleged support for pedophilia.

It is important to understand that Yiannopoulos has been public about being abused when he was younger. He was trying to make light of his own situation in one of his relationships, which does not seem to be as bad of a relationship as most in a similar situation. Men who are victims of sexual assault sometimes question their sexuality because their bodies react in a way that they cannot control. I do not agree that it makes people homosexual, but I have read and learned about individuals who feel this way.

Not only that, but men are constantly told that they are the strong ones and the ones in power and that men cannot be raped. I believe that it can be incredibly traumatizing for that to happen to anyone, and while Yiannopoulos was careless with his words, and his experience was not horrible in his opinion, he should have been more cognizant of those who did have horrid experiences.

People are now claiming that Yiannopoulos is also a pedophile. There are two important things to understand: 1) Pedophilia is a psychological disorder and a serious problem; pedophiles don’t just wake up and decide that they are going to be attracted to children. 2) His opponents keep saying that people who are victims grow up and become the victimizers. We are not living in the world of “Criminal Minds” or “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”

In a statistics class my first year at the University, my professor debunked this claim. He said that it is a common misconception and it is easy for a show to rationalize this relationship between victim and victimizer. People that are victimizers were most likely abused as children, but most children who were abused do not grow up to become victimizers. There is a small percentage of those people who actually go on to abuse others. I believe that Yiannopoulos’ opponents finally won in being able to latch onto his rash statements. They need not revert back to name-calling, slander, libel, and defamation of character.

The integrity of the videos released was also called into question; many (including Yiannopoulos) believe the videos that were released were not the full footage and some were spliced together, even though the title suggested otherwise. The fact that Yiannopoulos made the comments themselves is not disputed, but some of the videos—which Yiannopoulos has on his YouTube channel—were allegedly edited to distort their meaning.

I have younger siblings, and while I typically support Yiannopoulos, I do not believe pedophilia should have ever been brought up. He talks about a lot of different issues that conservatives and liberals typically disagree upon, though I believe most people would agree that pedophilia is deplorable and absolutely disgusting. Pedophilia should not be a joke.

People who oppose Yiannopoulos are always asking for him to apologize for what he says, and he finally has. Those people now think that is not enough and anxiously await his deportation; however, even though Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart, he said that he has another sponsor lined up so he will not be leaving America any time soon.

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