The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) invited Milo Yiannopoulos to speak Feb. 18. Yiannopoulos was uninvited after an offensive video of him surfaced defending pedophilia two days later.

Over the weekend, CPAC realized Milo’s volatile statements were not worth defending. American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman Matt Schlapp wrote in a statement that Yiannopoulos endorsed the “evils of sexual abuse of children.” This was a step too far for CPAC, but for many paying attention to Yiannopoulos’  career, he has crossed the line many times before.

Yiannopoulos is currently touring universities across the country, which initially prompted CPAC to invite Milo as a speaker because he was addressing the issue of free speech on college campuses. Last December, he was invited to speak at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

In that speech, he openly mocked a former UW-Milwaukee student, a transwoman, and displayed her photo and name on-screen. Yiannopoulos said, “I have known some passing trannies in my life. Trannies you’re not allowed to say that … Well, no, the way that you know he’s failing is I’d almost still bang him.”

That is not only transphobic, but also a targeted offense towards an individual in a public forum. This particular comment, insulting someone based on their gender, is only a few steps from hate speech. This is where CPAC should have drawn their “line.”

With a platform as large as Yiannopoulos’ , his words have substantial consequences. There is no reason to attack vulnerable individuals. The student Yiannopoulos attacked was in the room and their pained response speaks much louder than mine: “Do you know what it’s like to be in a room full of people who are laughing at you as if you’re some sort of perverted freak[?]”

Earlier last year, Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter for another harassment situation.

Leslie Jones deleted her Twitter account after she was harassed for her appearance in the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters in the summer. This crusade was fueled by Yiannopoulos (@Nero) and his 300,000 followers. Tweets comparing Jones to an ape, a racist caricature, were not personally sent by Yiannopoulos, but he further mocked Jones when she expressed her discontent with the comments. He contributed to the hate by calling her “barely literate,” another racially-charged insult.

One of Yiannopoulos’ headlines is “The Solution to Online ‘Harassment’ is Simple: Women Should Log Off;” this argument falls apart when considering the real-world repercussions of online harassment.

Yiannopoulos demonstrated more than once that he does not understand how his platform can be used for abuse and if he does know, he seems not to care. As a conservative provocateur, his job is to make charged statements that anger the progressive left, but when those statements cause extreme offense, society should reject his voice and ignore his defense of free speech. Today, Yiannopoulos retired as editor from Breitbart News – a reassuring sign that societal rejection is finally getting to him.


Boris Niyonzima is a College freshman from Kigali, Rwanda.

+ posts | Boris Niyonzima (20C) is from New Milford, N.J., majoring in political science and minoring in media studies. On campus, he is involved with Volunteer Emory and the Wheel, two clubs that encompass his biggest interests: community service and journalism.