Breitbart editor M1l0 Y, whose name I'm misspelling and truncating so it won't appear in searches, has a gross history of bigotry and abuse. A darling of the "alt-right," he has targeted and harassed Black women in particular, quite famously Leslie Jones, for which he was thrown off Twitter. I won't recount his entire Greatest Hits of Reprehensible Behavior here; it's easy enough to find if you're so inclined.
He was in the news again this weekend, first because he appeared on Bill Maher's show, where Maher predictably failed to deliver on the ostensible reason for booking M1l0, i.e. vigorous exposure of his despicable views. Instead, "the two got along famously, bonding over their shared love of free speech and the unifying power of humor in a one-on-one conversation."
Then, M1l0 made the news again, after it was announced he'd be a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), as would Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and others from the administration. That was quickly followed by the circulation of video from a radio show appearance during which M1l0 defends the sexual abuse of boys (using an argument that sounds very much like one used by the Vatican).
At that point, M1l0 was dropped from CPAC, and Simon & Schuster pulled his book contract—the same one over which Roxane Gay pulled her book in protest.
I am hardly the first person to observe that, in drawing the line only now, conservatives who have long defended and championed M1l0 are clearly communicating they were fine with his racism, misogyny, transphobia, nativism, anti-feminism, harassment, doxxing, and various other forms of vile abuse.
The conservatives who supported him through all of that deplorable garbage are a lost cause, as far as I'm concerned. They will always enable people like him, because they are shameless bigots themselves.
But let's talk about the alleged progressives who defended M1l0, who turned on progressive critics who have, for years, been pushing back on him and any institution that wanted to give him a platform to air his harmful trash.
Let's talk about the privileged men (primarily) who shouted at those of us who prioritized human beings' safety over M1l0's transparently horseshit claims of "free speech," because they have the luxury to support the principle of "free speech" without personal concern for what that speech might incite against them. Because it was not their identities that were being scapegoated; not them being harassed by legions of M1l0's minions; not their naked photos being published on the internet.
The men who accused us of being censors and hysterics and intolerant scum.
They were wrong. Again.
See, the thing about M*l0 is that it's never been about "free speech." It's always been about using "free speech" as a cover for abuse.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 20, 2017
And people who pushed back against him weren't "censors" or "snowflakes" or "politically correct." We refused to pretend he wasn't abusive.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 20, 2017
And now y'all are SHOCKED that it turns out he explicitly advocated for abuse? Welp.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 20, 2017
Maybe if you'd been paying attention to what he was really about instead of yelling at us, you wouldn't be taking to your fainting couches.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 20, 2017
We go thru this over & over: Abuse survivors are dismissed & scolded for being "oversensitive." No. The scolders are *not sensitive enough*.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 20, 2017
The most privileged folks on left need to reckon w/ the reality that shitting on survivors is silencing the people who best recognize abuse.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 20, 2017
And failing to listen to survivors of systemic and interpersonal abuse will leave you looking like stupid dicks time after time.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 20, 2017
How many times must we be obliged to replicate this same detestable dynamic? Every time, its cost is to the people who were right in the first place, who saw a gross abuser for what he was at the start, not to the people who decided to scold us in order to defend whatever shitlord is harming us.
Privileged men (primarily, though not exclusively) on the left are refusing to learn this lesson at our expense, not their own.
Yes, they look colossally stupid and insensitive, but it's the rest of us who continue to be harmed by their stubbornness, by their unethical and callous unwillingness to stop being so fucking stupid and insensitive.
They continue to believe that defending vomitous swine like M1l0 is a more principled position than listening to survivors of the institutional and interpersonal abuse that they supposedly want to dismantle.
That is a loathsome posture. And it is frankly unforgivable that they refuse to abandon it, despite the clear evidence that they are dangerously wrong.