To the Editor,
Regarding Phillip Stephens’s latest column, the “conservative message,” Mr. Stephens, the chairman of the county Republican Party, claims that Milo Yianopoulos espouses includes extreme racism, sexism, violence, and profanity. Yianopoulos has been banned from most social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter because he posts graphic racial slurs, profane language, and threats of sexual assault and violence. Yianopoulos first became famous as an employee of Steve Bannon at Breithbart, where he was paid to torment targeted people on social media and harass them on their personal and professional email accounts. His victims included journalists, writers, celebrities and others that were deemed enemies of the “conservative message.”
Milo Yianopoulos was invited by a small conservative group to spread his hate speech on the Berkley campus. The majority of students and faculty on the campus opposed his appearance, just as the conservative group who invited him planned. Protests were organized, and they turned violent when a group of masked “anarchists” showed up to attack the protesters. These people were not students at the university, they came to the campus specifically to do what they did — disrupt the campus protests and generate publicity for Yianopoulos and his upcoming book. Conservatives seized on this to make misleading statements like “left tries to stifle free speech.”
Meanwhile, Yianopoulos was invited to be a featured speaker along with Donald Trump at the biggest conservative conference in America, and his multimillion dollar book deal was proceeding. Then a video surfaced showing Yianopoulos giving a speech in which he advocated for decriminalizing sex between adult men and children and bragged about his own experiences. The conservative group immediately canceled his appearance, and the publishing company canceled the book deal. Did the right “stifle free speech”?
Conservatives were happy to overlook Yianopoulos’s profanity, racist insults, and violent, sexual threats as long as he successfully targeted liberals and extolled the right wing agenda. After his latest column, Mr. Stephens needs to take a long look in the mirror before he accuses the other side of hypocrisy.