Milo Yiannopoulos is in Australia. Specifically, he arrived in Sydney on November 29. And, boy, people are not happy about it. The controversial Right-wing provocateur is in Australia on a speaking tour, and it’s surprising he was actually allowed into the country at all. A lot of controversial figures—including far-Right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, musician and alleged domestic abuser Chris Brown, pathetic pick-up artist Julien Blanc—have all had problems entering the Land Down Under, but Yiannopoulos has arrived in Sydney without a hitch, and with a bunch of controversial talking points to his name already.
When it was first announced Yiannopoulos would be coming to Australia, it would be obvious this was no simple visit. Yiannopoulos is a provocateur, after all. His job description—since he was fired by Right-wing news site Breitbart due to some distasteful comments on pedophilia—is about courting controversy. And court controversy he has. Despite branding himself with such ridiculous titles as “Internet Supervillain” and other absurdities, a lot of Australian figures don’t seem to realize that by giving him attention, they are giving him exactly what he wants.
Take Australia’s Jessica Valenti, Van Badham. Van Badham is a columnist for The Guardian Australia, and is known for an interview where she and ex-Labor leader Mark Latham verbally insult each other on air. You thought Clementine Ford, the far-Left feminist provocateur, was angered that Yiannopoulos is in the country? Well, she has nothing on Badham. Badham penned a recent article for The Guardian, in which she calls feminist men in Australia to oppose Yiannopoulos, and that we should vehemently oppose the arrival of this Literal Nazi into the country. Badham tells us that, despite his controversies, how does Milo Yiannopoulos still have the gall to be breathing? That sounds awfully like a death threat:
She’s not the only one. The Greens are basically Australia’s equivalent of America’s Green Party, thank you very much, Captain Obvious. Their leader, Richard Di Natale, penned a letter to the Australian senate asking them to reconsider Yiannopoulos’s invitation by David Leyonhjelm to speak at Parliament House:
Fellow Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young believes that by inviting Yiannopoulos to speak at Parliament House, it will violate politicians’ safe spaces. Is she kidding? Parliament House has been full of the vitriol and hatred of politicians for years. Is some random English attention-seeker really anything new? You only have to watch a couple of minutes of Question Time to know that there is hate and vitriol in Parliament House every day. Go watch it! Question Time is far more dramatic and engaging than an episode of Home and Away, and you don’t even have to see *insert tragic event* happening at The Diner come December every year for it be entertaining.
Clementine Ford herself has even been causing a ruckus, as usual. Clementine Ford was contacted by a journalist from The Australian in regards to Yiannopoulos’s recent claims that he wanted to debate Ford, and her response was as classy as ever:
Sigh. It’s amazing how many of these critics will criticize parts of Milo Yiannoplous’s behavior that have been taken out of context, yet they will ignore the actual terrible things he has said. For one, Milo Yiannopoulos claims he was sexually assaulted by a pedophile priest as a child, and the “informative experience” part was a misunderstanding of something he said in one of his many previous speaking engagements. The claims for Yiannopoulos being a Nazi or Nazi sympathizer is ludicrous, and mainly based off a Buzzfeed report over stolen emails. While his reasoning for hanging out with white supremacists in a karaoke bar is pretty absurd—he blames bad eyesight—it is really quite ridiculous for people to ignore him because they believe he may be sympathetic to Nazi. He was at a karaoke bar where Nazis sometimes go. The rest of the time, he stays the hell away from them. Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer loathes Yiannopoulos, since he is a gay man married to a black man. Why would a neo-Nazi wish to identify with an openly gay man? Remember: the original Nazis were against anyone that wasn’t the Aryan ideal of German, white, generally blonde and straight.
But I digress. Milo Yiannopoulos’s crtitics are giving him exactly what he wants: exposure. Some of them, like Benjamin Law, realize this, but still entertain Yiannopoulos with a response. If you don’t care about Milo Yiannopoulos, why do you keep talking about him? I know, I know, pot calling the kettle black. But I’m not the one who is overly obsessed with telling the world how much Milo Yiannopoulos deserves to be banned from Australia. It provides entertainment watching Yiannopoulos’s critics claim to not care about him, and then launch into multiple-part Tweets and lengthy opinion pieces about how we shouldn’t care about him. As someone who doesn’t really agree with Yiannopoulos’s politics, he is incredibly successful with his method for publicity and popularity. He knows exactly the right things to say to anger his opponents, and you’re never really sure if he actually believes what he says.
We know for a fact that Milo Yiannopoulos exaggerates his beliefs so he can gain himself more fame. For once, he was an avid anti-gamer until Gamergate, where he inserted himself as a supporter of gamers and pro-Gamergate figures. This is what ultimately lead to his success as an “Alt-right commentator”, as his comments during Gamergate wouldn’t have netted him attention in any other situation. Who knows if Yiannopoulos truly believes what he says?
He’s a lot like Andrew Bolt in that respect, who projects himself as an Aussie Battler and a fairly conservative and controversial opinion writer for News Corp’s Herald Sun. However, in real life, Bolt is anything but. He is an aficionado of Dutch culture and classical music, and lives in a wealthy suburb of Melbourne, never having to interact with any of his loyal readers. “Andrew Bolt” is a persona, and it works. “Milo Yiannopoulos” is a performance in the same way.
However, many of Bolt and Yiannopoulos’s more radical detractors on the Left—Clementine Ford and Van Badham being the more popular—are not personas. These are real people with some pretty radical, horrifying opinions. For all the problems with Milo Yiannopoulos, most can tell that he does not truly believe half the shit he says. This doesn’t excuse some of his horrible behaviors, as there are many who still believe his performance.
The best way to make those avid followers of Milo Yiannopoulos realize he’s a fraud: stop giving him the attention he so thrives. I know, easier said than done. But it’ll help his avid followers realize there’s a lot of better Right-wing commentators to follow, and some of those Right-wing figures are actually trying to do good in the world instead of needlessly stirring up controversy for funsies.