Who is claiming credit for the breezy downswing of Milo Yiannoupoulos’ career? Bill Maher, of course. In the space of a few days, Milo — white supremacist, transphobe, and and right-wing “provocateur” — went from being a senior editor at Breitbart to losing his Simon & Schuster contract and his CPAC keynote gig. He also decided to resign from Breitbart following the giant wave of disgust that overtook the Internet when newly surfaced audio revealed him advocating for pedophilia.
Maher became the target of criticism when he hosted Yiannopoulos on last week’s episode of Real Time. The former Breitbart editor embraced his troll reputation while making false claims about transgender people and downplaying his role in the targeted harassment of Leslie Jones. While Larry Wilmore didn’t hide his disgust (“you can f*ck off”), Maher didn’t challenge Milo and mostly let his statements stand. In essence, Maher was handing a glorious platform to Milo and normalizing his controversial stances, which wasn’t a good look. However, Maher now claims that everything worked out great, and he deserves a big trophy:
“Well, let’s recap. About a week ago, I went on Van Jones’ show, and somebody asked me about the booking. I hadn’t really gotten into the details of Milo yet. He was just getting on my radar. I said, specifically, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Then we had Milo on, despite the fact that many people said, ‘Oh, how dare you give a platform to this man.’ What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe, trying to make a buck off of the left’s propensity for outrage. And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.”
Is Maher really trying to claim that he barely knew why Milo was controversial before he appeared on Real Time? He almost definitely knew. Maher’s also claiming that he single-handedly took Milo out by purposefully doing nothing. If this was true (and it isn’t), Maher’s boast would disqualify the Breitbart editor-in-chief’s “coordinated hit” theory, which was also a flawed argument. In the end, Milo caused his own downfall.
Meanwhile, this is how Maher responded when the New York Times asked why he gave Milo free reign on his show:
“It’s not my job to hold him accountable to everything he’s ever said or done. I had eight minutes with him, on the show itself. Sorry I don’t have time to go over everything everybody else would want to do. We just had time to, sort of, start a discussion of the broad view of who he is. I don’t think he frankly knows what he’s going to say half the time, or knows what his philosophy is. But to see him as this monster is a little crazy. You know what he is? He’s the little impish, bratty kid brother. And the liberals are his older teenager sisters who are having a sleepover and he puts a spider in their sleeping bag so he can watch them scream.”
All of this post-Milo celebration is entertaining at best. Yes, he was pushed out of a number of lucrative endeavors, but his defiant press conference shows that Milo is going nowhere. He’s simply switching gears and will open his own media venture soon while being “provocative” and gleefully upsetting as many people as possible — all under the guise of being “a warrior for free speech.” If the Bill Mahers of the world continue to rely on “sunlight” to stop their Milo counterparts, they’re in for a looooong wait.
(Via New York Times)