At long last, Breitbart writer and professional harasser Milo Yiannopoulos has been permanently banned from Twitter, following yet another one of his organised hate campaigns, this time against Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones.
Leslie found herself the target of a storm of Twitter harassment on Monday, as users flocked to her mentions to send her racist slurs, misogynistic insults, and disturbing images.
The mob finally got to her and she decided to leave Twitter, after calling on the site to take stronger action to protect their users from this kind of hate speech and abuse.
Milo, meanwhile, openly egged this mob on, publicly insulting Leslie, as well as creating and circulating fake tweets in which she looks like she’s being homophobic towards him.
This isn’t the first time Twitter has had to take action against Milo. Twitter unverified him in January, (removing his blue tick - something he has never fully recovered from – he even went to the White House to try to get the government to force Twitter to give his tick back) and he’s been temporarily suspended more than once before.
Each time, instead of learning something about following the Terms and Conditions he agreed to, Milo has complained loudly that his free speech is being violated, as if being banned from using a service is in any way comparable to the government putting you in jail.
Of course, now that he’s being forced to finally face the consequences of repeatedly violating Twitter’s TOS, he’s preaching the same narrative again.
In this fantasy Milo has constructed, Twitter is against conservatives and free speech. In reality, Milo has been using his position and the various platforms given to him (Twitter included) to organise a mob of followers that include GamerGaters, MRAs, open Nazis, and other reactionary, alt-right groups into targeted hate campaigns against anybody he wants to silence.
He especially loves to attack black women, and it was no accident that Leslie Jones, in particular, was chosen as the target when he decided to lash out against the new Ghostbusters.
Let’s be clear here: Milo is not some troll looking for a rise or having a laugh. He sees himself as a general in an army that is fighting a culture war. If you think I'm being dramatic, you need to see his own thoughts on this, not to mention the literal propaganda his followers love to create and circulate among themselves.
And while it’s fine to be political, to have a political agenda even, Milo is an example of someone who has harnessed an internet hate machine to push his political views by intimidating and causing mental distress to anyone who he perceives as a political enemy.
Twitter banning a known hate-monger like Milo is a decent first step, but if we want to see a future where freedom of speech and expression is truly safe, where you can be who you are on Twitter without fearing becoming a mob’s next big target, it’s going to have to do a lot more.
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