Believe it or not, I derive no pleasure from Alt Right provocateur Milo Yiannopolous’s spectacular fall from grace and his subsequent dramatic meltdown on Facebook this past weekend. In fact, I actually feel sorry for him.
It was genuinely a sad sight to see the former Steve Bannon protégé attacking what is left of his fanbase on social media, accusing them of abandoning him in his hour of need, and refusing to recognize his contributions to the Alt Right movement and “getting Donald Trump elected”. Why, you might ask, would I have any sympathy for a pedophile condoning, Trump supporting bigot who rose to fame on a wave of hate, misogyny, and xenophobia? Let me explain.
The Fall Of Milo
The Milo who erupted on Facebook this past weekend was not the flamboyant loudmouth who took great delight in trolling liberals and bragging about “sucking black dick”. It was a desperate, broken man who knows his career is finished, and knows he will likely never work again.
“My events almost never happen,” Yiannopolous said in comments section of a now deleted post. “It’s protests, or sabotage from Republican competitors or social media outcries. Every time, it costs me tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. And when I get dumped from conferences, BARELY ANYONE makes a sound about it — not my fellow conservative media figures and not even, in many cases, you guys.”
Yiannopolous evidently hasn’t been doing well financially either and accused his Facebook fans of not lifting a finger to help him. “I have been betrayed and abandoned by everyone who ever called themselves my friend, with a small handful of notable exceptions,” he said.
“For my trouble, I have lost everything standing up for the truth in America, spent all my savings, destroyed all my friendships, and ruined my whole life.”
“You guys have no idea what I have sacrificed for you,” he went on. “I don’t advertise my selflessness, because I’m not a victim. But for the love of God show some recognition of what your front-line warriors have accomplished on your behalf, you entitled fucking babies.”
The bitter, tragic, rant was a remarkable insight into the actual life of Yiannopolous, who rose to fame by presenting a ostentatious, outrageous image of himself whenever the cameras were on. He would do media events wearing ludicrous outfits, flutter his eyelids at male hosts, insult feminists, vilify immigrants and call Donald Trump “daddy” — all to let you know he really didn’t give a fuck what you thought.
For a time this ruse worked, but when a video of him endorsing pedophilia emerged, his army of trolls, conservative allies, TV booking agents, publisher, and Alt Right employer Breitbart dropped him so quickly he didn’t know what had hit him.
Yiannopolous was the White House equivalent of Anthony Scaramucci — a loudmouthed braggart who rose to fame spectacularly quickly, and disintegrated into nothingness even faster. Unlike Scaramucci though, Yiannopolous has no Wall Street career to fall back on. He is and always has been a writer, and now no editor who wants their publication to succeed commercially will go anywhere near him. Endorsing pedophilia is the kiss of death in pretty much any industry, particularly a high profile one like the media.
Yiannopolous thought he could charm and manipulate his way out of the scandal, but over a year later, no one in the mainstream is paying him the slightest bit of attention — a fact he is clearly acutely aware of. His Facebook rant was the cry of a desperate man lashing out at anyone and anything to stop the pain he is in.
The Art of Self Reflection
While Yiannopolous now appears to now understand that he has in fact, ruined his entire life, he still doesn’t understand why. Ironically, Yiannopolous isn’t necessarily wrong about his fans — they did abandon him and they have shown no gratitude for his devotion to Donald Trump and his ethno-nationalist agenda. But the situation he finds himself in is entirely of his own doing, and he has no one else to blame other than himself.
It has not occurred to Milo that the crowd he appealed to are largely racist misogynists who live to troll liberals and bring down what is left of American civil society. The Alt Right project he helped create aimed to disrupt America by unleashing the hatred of the forgotten masses of sexually frustrated white men hiding in the comments section of 4Chan and Youtube. He gave them a voice, and fed them as much venom, controversy, and intellectual firepower as he could.
While Milo likes to tell himself that he is a “front-line warrior” who put himself in great danger for the good of America and white Christianity, in reality he was just a hyped up internet troll who found a good way to make some money and get some media attention. The money has now dried up, and Yiannopolous now has to contend with the bleak reality that he is a nobody.
The Ending He Deserves
My empathy for Yiannopolous does not stem from any love for the provocateur. I do not like him or wish to see him in the limelight again — he had his day in the sun, and he abused it like a junkie. Milo has reaped the rewards of his disgusting behavior, and it is clear he is in a great deal of anguish because of it. This may delight liberals, and understandably so. My first reaction to the story was one of glee, but after reading his pained diatribe, I could not help but feel sorry for him. Losing one’s livelihood is no laughing matter, and the pain of never being able to work again in the industry you love must be crushing beyond belief. He penned an upbeat update to his outburst recently, but if you read between the lines, it is clear he doesn’t believe what he is saying:
SO GUYS. I kinda casually snapped at someone in the comments the other day. Didn’t realize it was going to become a “thing” in the media and on Twitter. Apparently I’m so rarely a real human being that it’s big news. So, apologies for being a bit too “real” in the last day or two, if you were distressed! I’ll save the honesty and vulnerability for home, because I realize most people don’t want that from me especially and can’t handle seeing public figures display any humanity. Hate to break it to you, but even superheroes have off days once every few years. Not to worry — resuming normal service now. Since the best form of revenge is to stick around to make their lives hell, my critics have done me a favor — again — by reminding me that what they really want is to shame and humiliate me into silence. THAT WILL NEVER FUCKING HAPPEN. Here’s to another 40 years of making authoritarian bullies shriek in terror
Unfortunately for Milo, he is not a superhero anyone is interested in hearing from anymore, particularly not the mainstream audience he so desperately wants to be accepted by.
This is the ending Milo deserves, but it is not one to celebrate. It is a cautionary tale about a man who authored his own demise by flying too close to the sun. He was a vicious internet troll who surrounded himself with even more vicious internet trolls, and while they took him to the heights of power, they abandoned him when he fell. When you lie with dogs, it should come as no surprise that you get up with fleas — a basic fact of life that Milo, for all his precociousness, has yet to learn.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.