He Said, She Said: MILO’s Livelier Style in Review

Now that we’ve celebrated the birth of Our Lord, it is time to review the lies that have been told about his servants this past year. One servant in particular. You know whom I mean. My colleagues in medieval studies can’t stop talking about him!


The above Facebook post links to an article published back in September 2017 by another of my medievalist colleagues arguing that “to target Milo at a fellow human being”—which he implies I did by writing about the things others have been saying about me on social media and tagging Milo on my Facebook share—is “a solicitation for harassment, including likely violent threats.” His proof? A list of things that he says Milo has said, with helpful links to his (my colleague’s) sources.

This same colleague has recently challenged me on Twitter—where I cannot respond, he has me (the “Famous Medievalist”) blocked!—with a link to his original article (see below for the full piece, along with the beginning of the Twitter thread):


Okay, then. Let’s read what Milo has said and done, according to Perry’s list. You have most certainly heard Milo say many of these things. But have you heard them in context? I give Perry’s account of what he says Milo has said in italics. My comments follow.

1. Perry says Milo “singled out a Jewish reporter and called him: ‘a typical example of a sort of thick-as-pig-shit media Jew,’” linking to an article written by Daniel J. Solomon for Forward.

Here Milo was talking about Joe Bernstein—you remember Joe Bernstein! You know, the writer for Buzzfeed who published the exposé about Milo in October 2017 where he tried to prove Milo is sympathetic to the white nationalists. Back in January 2017, Milo had this to say about Bernstein (as reported in full by Solomon):
Yiannopoulos told fans at Minnesota State University that Joe Bernstein...represents “a typical example of a sort of thick-as-pig shit media Jew, who has all these sort of right, P.C. politics.” Bernstein and his ilk, Yiannopoulos continued, have “Totally predictable opinions on absolutely everything. But really stupid. And seems to be driven by social acceptance and political correctness, rather than actually telling an interesting story or doing anything worthwhile.”
Perry wants you to believe that Milo’s comments about Bernstein make him anti-Semitic. What Milo actually was saying is somewhat more complicated: that there are Jews like Bernstein who side with P.C. politics rather than, as does Milo, support for Jewish causes like the defense of Israel.

2. Perry says Milo “defended the racist and sexist invective aimed at Leslie Jones,” linking to an article written by Terry Moran, Emily Taguchi, and Claire Pedersen for ABC News.

This is one of the stories that the media loves to tell, but—as Milo’s followers know—is a confection of lies. Yes, Milo told Nightline, that he thinks “trolling is very important... I like to think of myself as a virtuous troll, you know? I’m doing God’s work.” But as Milo explains at length in his book Dangerouspublished in July 2017 and therefore available to Perry in September 2017 when he compiled his list of Milo’s sayings—it was Jones, not Milo, who started the argument on Twitter about why Ghostbusters was doing so badly at the box office.

To reiterate: Milo had written a review of the movie on its release, in which he argued that the scriptwriters had done Jones a disservice by casting her in such a stereotypical role—in his words, “worthy of a minstrel show.” According to Milo, not only was the film insulting to Jones, its “petty two-dimensional feminist posturing” demeaned the entire female cast.

No wonder it tanked at the box office, as Milo predicted it would.

It was in this context that Jones began tweeting and the twitterers responded in swarms. As Milo tells the story in Dangerous:
Media reports say I was the one who led these swarms. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Jones was engaging in running battles with her detractors on Twitter for hours before I got involved, actively trading insults with them and provoking them. 
I criticized Jones, tossing a few jabs her way. The reason lefties in the media saw me as ringleader of the trolls is that it’s hard for them to imagine people moving collectively without a leader. It’s their authoritarianism showing: for them, a herd must have a shepherd. The idea of people thinking and acting independently frightens them. 
My only crime was daring to criticize a black woman, itself seemingly proof of racism today. I tweeted that Jones was playing the victim, that her character in Ghostbusters was an unfunny racial stereotype, and that her tweets were barely literate. All are true. (Despite calling people “bitches” all evening, she had the audacity to report me for that last one.)
Even if Perry had not read Dangerous by September, I had written in detail about this exchange back in February 2017:
Full transcript for those who missed the spat: Jones had been Tweeting about the bad reviews Ghostbusters was getting, one of which Milo wrote, “Teenage Boys with Tits: Here's My Problem with Ghostbusters.” Milo jumped into the Twitter fray with: “If at first you don't succeed (because your work is terrible), play the victim. EVERYONE GETS HATE MAIL FFS.” Jones reported Milo to Twitter and called one of his fans a “racist b*tch” for saying “how sad that a comedian would want to limit free speech. Lenny Bruce is rolling over in his grave.” Milo responded to Jones: “Ghostbusters is doing so badly they've deployed @Lesdoggg to play the victim on Twitter. Very sad!” “Barely literate. America needs better schools.” At which point, he was blocked from linking to her account. To which Milo replied: “Rejected by yet another black dude.” And that was it.
If Milo is to be blamed for everything that people on Twitter said about Jones, then I wonder what that says about Perry encouraging my colleagues to believe that “To endorse [Milo] is to endorse bigotry. To summon him into a dispute is to ask for escalation”?

3. Perry says Milo “took the stage at UW [Milwaukee] and put up a picture of a trans student. He later repeated the attacks on the student at a second event. Yiannopoulos proceeded to attack the student’s physical appearance, using an anti-transgender slur and adding, ‘The way you know he’s failed is I can still bang him,’ linking to a blogpost at MediaMatters written by its staff.

The MediaMatters blogpost gives Milo’s comments at the second event in full:
I’ve become a feminist icon. Do you want to know why? So at my previous date at UW Wisconsin, I happen to put on the screen, the image, a picture of a nice young man who think he’s a lady and used the law—because of course progressives always when they don’t get what they want or want to get in somewhere that they don’t belong, invoke the great patriarchal force known as the government—to try to get into the women’s locker rooms. This young man was desperate for a bit of tit and minge. 
So he tried, via the government, to get himself into the women’s locker rooms at UW Milwaukee. Now he created a terrible fuss, an awful fuss, when I put his name up there and so did the president of that university. But it turns out, he’s going to quit the university. So I have become a sort of second wave feminist icon, protecting women from men in their locker rooms. Well, you’re welcome, feminism. 
Now, this young person—sometimes they think, sometimes they say I’m mean, sometimes they say it’s too much. Sometimes they say you’re too vindictive, it’s too cruel. But the point of doing this, is that, you know, they invoke the government, they use the government to get a variety of things through that ordinary, normal people would not permit. And then this person, Justine or Adelaide, or whatever he calls himself this week—
[audience laughter] 
It’s Christmas, I don’t care anymore! 
Adelaide, good lord, went to the press and said I had used violent words as though violent words were a thing. What the fuck is a violent word? If you can’t take a joke, how are you going to deal with having your dick cut off?
Of all the insults thrown at him, this is the one that Milo has said he will own: “transphobe.”

Milo has spoken out regularly against the use of gender reassignment surgery as a treatment for gender dysphoria, but in this context he is supported by Dr. Paul McHugh, the inventor of the surgical treatment—meaning that if Milo is a “transphobe,” so is the inventor of transpeople. In a report published in The New Atlantis in September 2016, Dr. McHugh and his co-author Lawrence Mayer concluded that the procedure has not had the beneficial effect that McHugh himself had originally hoped it would and that he could therefore no longer recommend it as a treatment:
The scientific evidence summarized suggests we take a skeptical view toward the claim that sex-reassignment procedures provide the hoped-for benefits or resolve the underlying issues that contribute to elevated mental health risks among the transgender population. While we work to stop maltreatment and misunderstanding, we should also work to study and understand whatever factors may contribute to the high rates of suicide and other psychological and behavioral health problems among the transgender population, and to think more clearly about the treatment options that are available.
Milo has been particularly vocal about using such treatments on children, but in the case at Milwaukee, he was also speaking out against the claim that allowing individuals who are biologically male to use women’s dressing rooms is without risk to the women involved. In this particular case, at the time he made the application to use the women’s dressing room in January 2017, Justin/Justine Kramer still had male genitalia—and the legal name “Justin”—thus the complaints when he tried to use the women’s sauna. Kramer went on to sue the school, thus Milo’s comments about Kramer’s use of the government to force his way into the women’s locker room.

4. Perry says Milo “referred to women as ‘cunts’” in a talk at West Virginia University. Here Perry’s source is an article by Erin Beck for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In her account, Beck refers at this point only in paraphrase to the things Milo said in his talk:
Mr. Yiannopoulos made a variety of sexist and other comments rooted in bigotry during the speech, which mostly celebrated Donald Trump winning the presidential election, according to prepared remarks published on Breitbart. Among them: calling women “c----” and suggesting that people who call out racism and sexism are actually targeting “political preferences.”
The remarks published by Breitbart are somewhat fuller. In Milo’s own words, commenting on the responses to the election:
Others have felt a negative effect, like Matt Harrigan, who lost his job as CEO of a company called PacketSled after threatening to assassinate Trump with a sniper rifle. He claims it was a joke. Maybe he should write for Amy Schumer — it seems they’re both fans of being unfunny, unoriginal and total cunts. The thing about Daddy is, positively or negatively, you’re gonna feel him!
In other words, it wasn’t “women” whom Milo called “cunts,” it was one woman—Amy Schumer—along with a man, Matt Harrigan, specifically for their remarks about President-elect Donald Trump. Biting my tongue here on how to parse this one!

5. Perry says Milo “referred to a professor as a ‘fat faggot’in the same talk at West Virginia University. Again, his source here is the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by Erin Beck.

According to Beck:
Mr. Yiannopoulos, whose supporters often heap hatred on his targets, slipped in his remarks that Daniel Brewster, who is gay, is “still on Twitter” after showing a slide that called Brewster a “fat f------.”
By now, you should be getting fairly suspicious. Why did Milo call Professor Brewster a “fat faggot”? Because Brewster had scheduled a seminar at the same time as Milo’s talk specifically in order to discourage his own students from listening to Milo.

In Milo’s words, again from the Breitbart transcript on which Beck relied:
There is one thing I don’t like about this college though. Professor Daniel Brewster. Now, Professor Brewster teaches sociology, which comes in just above gender studies in my rankings of “burger flipping majors” — but not very far above. I hear he’s fond of bullying conservative students, who often find themselves compelled to leave his class mid-lecture. I hear he’s hosting a, and I quote, “multicultural LGBTQ event” at this very second. 
What’s more, I heard he informed students this week that if they attended his event — which just so happens — just so happens! — to overlap directly with mine – they would get extra credit! In other words, students who opt for my event over his will get a lower grade. Students told me he specifically did this to deter people from my event, and when we emailed him for his side of the story, he didn’t deny it. 
Professor Fatass’s Twitter profile contains this quote: “I welcome the fact that students feel safer knowing that I will be an advocate for them and that I am willing to fight for their rights and their inclusion.” Well that’s not true, is it Professor Stuff-Your-Face-With-Froot-Loops? In fact, the opposite is true. If student testimony is correct, he actively works to exclude students – conservative and libertarian students – from his class, and clearly has no respect for the right to consider and discuss different, dangerous points of view. 
He is the personification of the cancer eating away at universities: preaching tolerance in public and practicing censorship in private. But Mr. Brewster aside, I’m impressed with West Virginia. If I do eventually found a department of men’s studies, this might just be the place to do it. In the meantime, let’s get down to business.
Let us recall Milo’s own name for himself, emblazoned on the bus that he used for the tour: “Dangerous Faggot.” “Faggot” is not an insult for Milo in the way that “fatass” is. Is it bigotry for one gay man to call out another gay man for being fat? You decide.

6. Perry says Milo “argues that trans folk are ‘disordered.’’ Here Perry’s source is an article published by German Lopez at Vox about Milo’s appearance on the Bill Maher show in February 2017.

Lopez summarizes the exchange that Milo had with comedian Larry Wilmore, ending with Wilmore’s injunction to Milo to “Go fuck yourself”:
The exchange began when Yiannopoulos made some anti-transgender remarks—by misgendering a trans activist, perpetuating a myth that allowing trans women into women’s bathrooms will put women at danger, and arguing that trans people have a mental disorder. 
Wilmore responded: “I just think it’s sad, because the same arguments that were used against gay people—treating them like aliens who just wanted to fuck anything that moved and that’s why we should avoid them at all costs—[are] being used [against trans people].”
Here, as noted above, Milo is dependent upon the research published by Dr. McHugh for his understanding of transgenderism as a “disorder”; the “trans activist” in question is Justin/Justine Kramer. Lopez sides in his analysis with Wilmore, claiming that Milo was simply playing the troll to no purpose, thus Wilmore’s response:
Yiannopoulos, however, didn’t seem too interested in Wilmore’s points. As he usually does, he quickly reverted to trolling by the end of the segment—arguing that gay people may be disordered because he, as a gay man, feels “really disordered,” before calling the other guests on Maher’s show stupid. Wilmore, in the face of this trolling, replied, “You can go fuck yourself.”
What Lopez does not describe, however, is what happened afterward. From my own account of the episode, back in February 2017:
Do you think it was an accident that Milo suggested in the midst of the give-and-take with comedian Larry Wilmore over Milo’s opinions on transgenderism and gays that Maher should invite guests with higher IQs on his show? To which Wilmore replied, right on cue: “First of all, you can go f*ck yourself alright... If your argument is that these people are stupid, you didn't hear a word that this man said earlier in this segment because he can talk circles around your pathetic, douchey little ass.” The audience loved that! But so did Milo, as you can see from his grin. 
Maher is right. Milo is an imp—and he relishes it. He is an imp, a clown, a fool. Or, as I prefer to call him, a holy fool. He is dangerous not because he incites violence (again, he never does, except against Dylann Roof), but because in being willing to make himself a fool, he forces others to recognize their own foolishness. Who really came off better in the exchange between Milo and Wilmore? Wilmore, who lost his cool and started cursing Milo? Or Milo, who thereafter happily egged all the other panelists on? Particularly after Wilmore responded to Milo’s description of how everyone both on the far Left and on the far Right hates him (no offense, but it’s true!): “I think you’re leaving out a lot of people.” “You see,” Milo said after everyone laughed, including himself, “this is the perfect example of how humor can bring people together.”
As Milo likes to say, “Nobody can resist the truth wrapped in a good joke”—including the jokes that he makes about himself.

 7. Perry says Milo “says that grabbing women’s genitals is not sexual assault.” His source here is a tweet by The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) with a link to Milo’s appearance on the Joe Rogan Show.


The Reagan Battalion, if you don’t know the story, was directly responsible for Milo’s losing his invitation to speak at CPAC, his job at Breitbart, and his contract with Simon & Schuster in February 2017. What Milo actually says in this clip is, of course, rather different from what the tweet wants you to believe:
Milo: This sexual harassment craze right now, it’s really just a way for women to tell you they’ve been hit on, isn’t it? 
Joe Rogan: It’s a way to get money. 
Milo: It’s not just that, [it’s a way to say] somebody was expressing sexual interest in me. All of these quote unquote rape stories from campuses that don’t actually involve any sex. Um. Of course the ones that do involve sex-rape stories are all frauds and hoaxes. Um. The ones that don’t involve sex or [are all] O, hideous! Someone touched my breast, how awful!—what’s the woman really telling you there? She’s telling you that someone was sexually interested in her. It’s a sort of bragging, isn’t it? 
Rogan: Well, it is unless someone does really touch your breast in an unwanted way.
Milo: How are you supposed to know now? 
Rogan: But if some guy comes up and grabs your tit, that is actual sexual assault. 
Milo: Our parents generation would have turned around and said, “Keep your fucking hands to yourself,” and moved on with their lives. They wouldn’t have gone into university administrators and tried to destroy the guy’s reputation and life over it. It’s not that big of a deal. If someone touched your tit, get over it. 
Rogan: That’s a really big deal. That’s a rude person who doesn’t have any respect for anybody else’s body. 
Milo: It’s rude, but when you enlarge...
Rogan: You should take those people out of campus, you shouldn’t be allowed to do that. 
Milo: That’s ridiculous. 
Rogan: You shouldn’t be allowed to grab someone’s pussy.
Note what happened in this conversation. Milo brought up the question of the sexual harassment craze, and Rogan egged him on. It was Rogan, not Milo, who talks about pussy-grabbing. All Milo mentioned was having someone touch your breast—to which, if the attention is unwanted, he suggests the response, “Keep your fucking hands to yourself.” As a woman of his parents’ generation who has had her breasts grabbed more than once by men in whom I was not sexually interested, I agree. Having your breast grabbed is not the moral—or criminal—equivalent of rape. I reserve the right to slap any man’s face who presumes to touch me without my consent.

8. Perry says Milo is “also a plagiarist.” Perry’s source here is an article published in January 2015 by Jef Rouner at the HoustonPress in the midst of the #GamerGate controversy.

Rouner’s reference is a collection of poetry entitled Eskimo Papoose that Milo self-published in 2007 under the pen name Milo Andreas Wagner (—which should already give you a clue; everyone knows Milo loves Wagner’s operas). The poems are a pastiche of references to some of Milo’s favorite singers and characters including Tori Amos, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Far from pretending that the lyrics are all his own compositions, Milo has openly acknowledged that he was quoting from other authors, as Rauner notes:
When confronted with accusations of plagiarism on Twitter Yiannopoulos freely admitted that the collection was made up of other people’s words, and that it was an example of “sampling” like in music. 
“There isn’t a line in the whole thing that isn’t from somewhere else. That’s obviously the point,” said Yiannopoulos. “You actually, really believe that it could possibly be anything but a giant pisstake? That it could be ‘deception’? Really?”
Milo won’t tell you how old he is, but these poems were published over ten years ago—about the time he would have been, say, twenty-two or twenty-three. They are, if you will excuse the term, juvenilia. They are also no longer for sale, suggesting rather that Milo has not attempted to make any money off of them. The worst that can be said is that they are somewhat pretentious, like much poetry written by young men and women before they have found their own voice. If he did not write the poems, he almost certainly wrote the description of the book that appears now on Google books:
Milo Andreas Wagner's second volume of poetry. Milo Andreas Wagner was born Milos Yiannoppoulos [sic] in Athens in 1983. His family settled in Britain while he was still a child, and it is here that he attended schools in Canterbury and Knightsbridge. He is an accomplished musician, listing among his greatest passions Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer. He has also travelled extensively, and is currently reading philosophy. His literary and philosophical areas of interest include eschatology, repetition, semiotics and confession.
I had thought that I had photographs of the poems sent to me by one of Milo’s fans, but I can’t find them. Rauner quotes lines from several of the poems, but as best I can tell, none of them in full. One poem, entitled “Confession,” contains the following lines:
How do we learn / But by theft?
Nothing in this book is true / I made it all up.
 My suspicion is that Milo had been reading a little too much James Joyce. Or maybe the Psalms.

9. Perry says Milo “coordinated some Gamergate activities via Breitbart, helping to lead to rape and death threats for numerous individuals, many of whom are still being harassed.” Perry’s source here is an article by Kristen V. Brown published at Splinter in October 2015.

Like the accusation that Milo’s tweeting about Leslie Jones was the immediate cause of the Twitter storm that her own tweeting occasioned, the claim that Milo was the leader of—rather than the first major reporter on—#GamerGate is one of the media’s favorites. Unusually, Brown (no relation) gives Milo a comparatively fair hearing. In her own words:
Perhaps the most shocking thing about Milo Yiannopoulos is that he is utterly charming...  After all, you don't amass 85,000 Twitter followers, become the conservative torch-bearer in a gaming industry civil war, attract a cult following among young, Internet-savvy men, and become a figurehead of the Men’s Rights movement without knowing a little something about exploiting the human psyche.... 
“People have this idea that I’m a misogynistic monster,” Yiannopoulos tells me, “But as soon as they meet me they say, ‘Oh, you’re so nice in person!’”
 Brown even gives his views on feminism a fair hearing:
“Women’s rights is one of the great successes of our society. But it seemed like we were taking a retrograde step,” he told me. “We were going backwards. We were giving people like feminists podiums to bully people. A lot of what I have done since is purposely ridiculing that, getting under the skin of people I have decided are bigots.”
What she does not mention are the rape and death threats that Perry (following the usual narrative) claims Milo’s journalism about #GamerGate provoked. For these, Perry would have had to go elsewhere, for example, the Wikipedia entry on the controversy. But as everyone on reddit knows, the Wikipedia entry on Gamergate is famously biased:
I don't think it’s exactly a secret that the Wikipedia article about GamerGate is biased. What’s strange is how, when I searched through a great many other articles and studied the language used on each topic, what I’ve discovered is that GG’s article on Wikipedia is UNIQUELY biased in that the tone of the article is completely, utterly in disregard for Wikipedia’s policy of Neutral POV, and in such a way that I could not find any other article on Wikipedia that is biased in this particular way.
Milo talks in detail about his experiences with #GamerGate in chapter 10 of his book: “Why Gamers Don’t Hate Me.” He credits #GamerGate with his rise not just as a journalist, but as a supervillain:
My supervillain origin was GamerGate, a bitter war between gamers, anonymous internet trolls, hectoring feminist scolds, and left-wing journalists. If you only follow mainstream media, you probably only know GamerGate as grown men playing video games all day and harassing women on the internet. In reality, it was the first battle in an anti-leftist, culturally libertarian, free speech movement that led directly to Trump’s election. 
tl;dr: The rape and death threats were hoaxes; the GamerGaters included women; and gaming journalism was just as corrupt as the gamers said. But you don’t have to take my word for it. If you want the full story, read Milo’s book.

10. Perry says Milo “led a smear campaign against black journalist Shaun King, claiming he wasn’t black (King is black).” Perry’s source here is an article by Jack Mirkinson published in August 2015 at Salon.

Mirkinson was writing in response to an article published by Milo at Breitbart, itself responding to accounts published by Vicki Pate on her blog. For Mirkinson, the only explanation for Milo’s, Breitbart’s, and Pate’s interest in the story is that “white people” are crazy:
Let’s be very clear about why Breitbart decided this was a worthy story to pursue. It’s the same reason that Fox News was so reluctant to call Charleston shooter Dylann Roof a racist. Some people in America find the idea that there is such a thing as white supremacy—or that white people are in any way to blame for the racism in our society—so terrifying that they would rather concoct a huge racial conspiracy theory wherein ghoulish black activists run roughshod over a cowed white populace. To Breitbart, the Shaun Kings of the world are the ones with all the power, exploiting a weak and politically correct society for their own personal gain.
It is all self-evidently insane, of course, but white people have been deluding themselves about the racial state of play in America for centuries, so why stop now?
Why should Milo, a white man who has just married his black husband John, be so interested in a story about a Black Lives Matter activist who may not, in fact, be black? Perhaps because, in his own words, Milo cares more about black people than he does about being politically correct about Shaun King. From chapter 5 in his book, “Why Black Lives Matter Hates Me”:
Many of the most cherished people in my life are black men. Because I love and respect them, I believe they deserve truth, not lies, in the face of the harsh reality of black America today. It’s a reality that includes problems created and sustained by the Left, and by the black community itself—as well as real problems of enduring racism. The Left, by contrast, seeks to patronize minorities by preventing them from coming into contact with anything that might offend them....
Black Lives Matter hates me, and I hate them. But I don’t hate them because they pose a threat to white people. I hate them because they do precisely the opposite of what they claim to do. They cause more black lives to be lost, not less. And they do so by attacking the one group of people trying to help their communities [the police]. The people who really ought to hate Black Lives Matter are black people.
And you wonder that I say I love him? It must be wonderful to be John.

In Perry’s words:
The thing about Milo is that he does not hide his racism, sexism, anti-semitism, incitement to harassment against trans and undocumented students [not referenced by Perry], and other despicable actions. There’s no subtext here, just text.
You don’t say.

How can Famous Medievalist support someone like Milo? Because I read the primary sources, Milo’s own words, rather than relying on media hearsay. Funny that I have such a different impression of him, don’t you think? 


*

References: Perry’s original blogpost of September 19, 2017, and his Twitter thread of December 22, 2017, challenging the Famous Medievalist.




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