Milo Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter for hate speech. But that hasn’t stopped the media from interviewing him.
If anything, Yiannopoulos is getting more press than ever.
The gay conservative tech editor from Breitbart was banned after he directed a racist Twitter swarm toward Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. Yiannopoulos kicked things off with his review of the movie, calling Jones “a black character worthy of a minstrel show.” He responded to one of her tweets, calling the actress and comedian “barely literate.” He called her a man, thinking it funny. What he said was already racist and sexist, and then his Twitter followers attacked, comparing her to an ape, among other racist epithets.
For that and a long history of bullying online, Yiannopoulos was “permanently suspended” from Twitter — a rare punishment.
That hasn’t stopped him from appearing in media, though. He’s been interviewed since by CNN, CNBC, The Hollywood Reporter, Business Insider, Vice, and more. A reporter for New York magazine apparently followed his every move during what Breitbart described later as a “madcap flurry of interviews.”
The New York story directly addresses the question of whether Yiannopoulos was rightfully banned for racism. An aggressive interview by CNN confronts him with what he said.
CNBC started with some questions about being "mean" on Twitter. But some interviews focus only on the big picture of whether anyone should be banned from Twitter, largely ignoring what was said. He went largely unchallenged on CNBC when claiming, "There’s certainly no suggestion whatsoever that I was involved in any kind of racist or sexist harassment of Leslie Jones — what I did was dislike her movie."
Vice published an article Tuesday called “I Tried to Get Milo Yiannopoulos to Convert Me to a Gay Trump Supporter.” The agitator had joined a rally outside the Republican National Convention in favor of Trump, which got him some attention. Vice took a photo of a too-cool-looking Yiannopoulos wearing shades and ran a question-and-answer interview, which it conducted after the Twitter suspension. The interview doesn't mention Twitter or racism. And the reporter says there was no debate with editors about whether to scuttle the piece in light of Yiannopoulos’s ban.
Journalist Allie Conti, who is out, didn't clarify whether she'd edited the interview, so it's possible Vice didn’t give Yiannopoulos a platform to say just any hateful thing?
But he did get a platform to say things like “It's become dangerous to be gay in America for one simple reason, and that reason is Islam.” The site had to interrupt the Q&A with an editor’s note about a Pew survey to counter that xenophobic whopper. Yiannopoulos regularly makes anti-Muslim comments. Now Breitbart announced it's canceling Yiannopoulos's so-called gay pride parade through a Muslim neighborhood in Sweden over security concerns.
In the Vice interview, Yiannopoulos also complained about a “pivot to transgender pronouns,” whatever that means. He argues the T should be dropped from “LGBT.” And yes, he defended Trump’s pick for vice president. “Mike Pence doesn't hate gay people,” he said. “He's a family values and states' rights guy, and I am fine with that."
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the article reported that part of the Vice interview was with a man Conti said had "stunned" her with a "very laudatory rant" about Mike Pence "that I would rather not reprint." That part of the interview was not with Yiannopoulos.