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Sunday, Feb. 25
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

COLUMN: Hatred doesn't deserve a platform

On Monday, the moment we all should have been waiting for arrived. Simon & Schuster announced it would cancel its publication of Milo Yiannopoulos’ forthcoming book, “Dangerous.”

Yiannopoulos’ hateful, “alt-right” beliefs, often attributed to the white nationalist movement, are in fact dangerous. They don’t deserve to be published. Simon & Schuster is not, however, the only organization poised to harm his career.

On top of the rescinded book deal, the Conservative Political Action Conference uninvited Yiannopoulos from its events this week.

Even Breitbart News is reconsidering its affiliation with Yiannopoulos, who remains a senior editor of the publication as of Monday. According to an anonymous Breitbart journalist interviewed by the New York Times, the far-right media source is considering parting ways with its most irreverent provocateur.

Maybe people are realizing that the man whose racist harassment of Leslie Jones got him permanently banned from Twitter might not deserve their support.

Perhaps they recognized his extremism misrepresented their ideological standings and, through this extremism’s encouragement of discriminatory behavior, posed a threat to all non-white, non-male human 
beings.

Although the above reasons should have been sufficient to undermine Yiannopoulos’ success, his downfall required the resurfacing of a YouTube video from last year in which he condones pedophilia and describes contemporary definitions of consent as “arbitrary and 
oppressive.”

For a while now, I have been wondering when and where we would draw the line for Yiannopoulos. Apparently racism, sexism and hate speech were not enough. We required evidence that he condoned sexual encounters with underage boys and disregarded the prevalence of their prevalence among Catholic priests.

I find it deeply satisfying that Yiannopoulos, a man who once attended a rape culture protest known as a SlutWalk with a sign saying “Rape Culture and Harry Potter: Both Fantasy,” is now facing sweeping disavowal for his gross insensitivity to sexual assault.

To those who defended this flagrantly bigoted man in the name of free speech, and to those who may still defend him as a victim of censorship, I have to ask whether or not it’s our responsibility to respond to those who abuse their freedoms.

I’m sure that much of the upcoming discussion of Simon & Schuster and CPAC’s decisions will invoke the first amendment. While Yiannopoulos is protected by the Constitution from any attempt by congress to abridge “the freedom of speech, or of the press,” he does not have the right to have his written work published by a private company simply because it expresses his opinion.

It is in no way disputable that women and people of color deserve equality, that rape culture is a tragically problematic condition of our lives, or that consent for sexual activity is vital. Much of what Milo Yiannopoulos writes and speaks, then, is not opinion but hatred.

It’s abhorrent for him to suggest that feminism is cancer or that he loves the “populist, nationalist, antiglobalist rebellion happening all over the West,” as he declares in Business Insider. Besides these, any point that “Dangerous” proposed about freedom of speech or conservative ideology could just as easily be made by more intelligent and agreeable political representatives.

We know this, and we must act on that knowledge. Though I will hardly forgive it for their initial transgression, Simon & Schuster was correct in its decision to revoke a platform for hate speech.

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