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By Aidan Mattis
“Milo is here under an O-1 visa for ‘aliens of extraordinary ability’ — his being journalism, we’re guessing — but without a U.S. employer to sponsor him, he’d be deported in 60 days. Sources in Milo’s camp tell us he’s not sweating deportation, because he’s already lined up a new sponsor.
We’re told that the people behind a secret new media venture who will be working with Milo, have agreed in principle to file the necessary paperwork. It’s not a done deal yet, but as usual … Milo’s cocky and confident that he’ll close the deal.”This is the vague statement released by TMZ regarding Milo’s intention not to run back to Britain, after his proverbial fall from grace.
Milo Yiannopoulos came under fire from all sides following the release of tapes in which he appears to be somewhat soft on pedophilia. Paraphrased, Milo suggested that some individuals may be capable of giving consent as early as thirteen years of age, using himself as the example. He then went on to say that he believes the current age of consent, sixteen in Britain and varying between sixteen and seventeen in the United States, is “about right”.
His comments, which he claims are edited to be more damning than they appear in full context, lost him not only his speaking slot at CPAC, but also cost Yiannopoulos his book deal with Simon & Schuster. The immediate reaction of the media – within hours – was to declare the fall of Milo. At the Huffington Post, an article by Lawrence Rosenthal can be found entitled “Milo Yiannopoulos: A Post Mortem”. Riddled with factual errors, conjecture, and a complete misunderstanding of millennial internet culture (he thinks “Pepe The Frog” is a hate symbol, rather than simply a cartoon frog with a funny look on his face). Rosenthal’s article claims Milo is, in terms of being a prolific media and cultural icon, dead. However, based on Milo’s history, it may be very, very wrong.
It is important, at this point, to express the gravity of who Milo is. To his supporters, he is not a small voice going around college campuses and spouting off propagandist nonsense. He is an icon of free speech with nearly 2 million followers on Facebook alone, and that’s the current number following the exposure of his comments on pedophilia. That makes him 1.5 times more popular than his right wing nemesis, Ben Shapiro, and only slightly less popular than conservative comedian and blogger Steven Crowder. He even surpasses the much more visible and well known Stephen Colbert. He is not the most well known man in the world, but he is not insignificant. Should Milo’s fall from grace have occurred solely as the result of a journalistic revelation, it might have been catastrophic for him. However, given the timing and a prophetic post from the now infamous internet message board 4chan, Milo is being seen not as a villain, but as a martyr.
It is no secret that the left as a whole and the right wing establishment were rattled by Milo’s then forthcoming appearance at CPAC, with people as prominent as Jonah Goldberg, editor of The National Review, expressing their displeasure at the decision. For this brief moment, the left and a large portion of the right found themselves unified. If there was ever a time to strike Milo down, this would surely be it.
According to an anonymous source on 4chan, this is exactly what Milo’s enemies had been waiting for.
“FYI the MSM has a huge [explitive] media onslaught that is set to go live Monday to scorch earth Milo and destroy him via the pedophile label” the post, titled “Operation Destroy Milo Yiannopoulos” begins. The poster explains that he is on a mailing list, but does not reveal his name to avoid retaliation. According to him, the media has been sitting on the story for a long time, waiting for an opportune moment to strike. Citing a wide variety of reasons the mainstream media might want to take Milo down, he explains that Yiannopoulos’ appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher“ and his keynote speech at CPAC were the final straw. Should the post be believed, the implication is that this was not a breaking news story, but rather a coordinated and premeditated character assassination attempt on Milo Yiannopoulos. As things go with assassination attempts, their failures often have the opposite of the intended effect.
Milo’s followers and supporters are now invigorated, energized, and angry. Milo, once a name occasionally heard on Fox News or as an aside on CNN, suddenly hit the front page of every mainstream source. The day the news was dropped, Google searches for “Milo Yiannopoulos” spiked by 91%. The attempt to destroy Milo was in full swing, and it seemed to be working. His book deal was cancelled, his speech was cancelled, longtime supporters denounced him on Facebook, and he resigned from Breitbart News. His opponents had won.
For a day or two.
Unwilling to give in, Yiannopoulos prepared a press briefing and apologized profusely for his inappropriate comments. For many, this was enough. Then, suddenly, he announced that he had received interest for his book deal, which had been sitting atop Amazon’s best seller list for pre orders several times. He announced a new media venture, and a new tour. Rapidly, it became clear Milo was not going away. And now, he’s better known than ever before. The establishment tried to kill Milo, and yet it seems very much like they may have made him stronger than they’d ever imagined he could be. The rest, of course, is yet to be seen.
EDITOR’s NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, they are not representative of The Libertarian Republic or its sponsors.
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