Sure, you have Freedom of Speech but that doesn’t mean you should always publicly exercise it. The most recent election has inspired a broader controversy between people that lean left or right: Freedom of Speech. Suddenly, opinion leaders are saying controversial and highly offensive things to get their points across. While most of these statements are offensive, they’re not illegal. Freedom of Speech is important and it’s not illegal to say anything that comes to mind, but that doesn’t make it okay. Compassion, respect and tolerance are attributes that we need as citizens more than ever, no matter which way we lean.
Recently, Milo Yiannopoulos, a writer known for his controversial opinions and aggressively offensive behavior, resigned for the Breitbart News organization. He submitted his resignation, publicly, loudly and aggressively, on the heels of //www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/40f7573e-f874-11e6-aa1e-5f735ee31334“>a video
surfacing from his past, where he crudely discusses the definition of pedophilia.
Alexander Marlow, editor of Breitbart, once called Yiannopoulos “the No. 1 free speech warrior of his generation in America, at the moment.” While he does openly joke about the definition of pedophilia heartlessly in the video, I wouldn’t call him a “warrior.” He continually makes provocative and condemning statements, and he also admits after his resignation that he will continue to joke about controversial matters this way. All of this is legal.
But just because something is legal, doesn’t make it okay.
Yiannopoulos has been publicly shamed since his pedophilia statements have surfaced: first the American Conservative Union withdrew their invitation to have him as a conference speaker; second, Simon & Schuster canceled their publication agreement for Yiannopoulos’ upcoming book, Dangerous.
Of course Yiannopoulos defended himself aggressively on his personal social media accounts. His public recognition should stop there, though. Freedom of Speech is something that is preciously and highly debated right now, but Yiannopoulos’ exercise of this write is appalling and unacceptable.
Yiannopoulos has made other outrageous things while expressing his freedom of speech. Those statements include: “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy;” those of the LGBTQ community “are deeply mentally damaged;” and that women should “go back to bridge tournaments” instead of using the internet.
Our country as prided itself on the acceptance and appreciation for everyone. “The melting pot” is what our country is referred too- at least it used to. Yet, statements like Yiannopoulos’ are receiving media attention daily. These statements shouldn’t see they light of day. Every person has the right to their own opinion, but that doesn’t mean every
person should have a microphone. Giving opinion leaders like Yiannopoulos is doing more harm than good.
Since the most recent wave of disgusting comments, a reporter at Breitbart, Lee Stranahan said to the Washington Post, “I don’t wish anybody badly, but do I kind of hope Milo goes away? I think I do. I think that would be best for everybody… because he’s not adding to the brand.”
Is he adding anything positive to anything at all, though? Let’s just take his mic’ now and not even bother finding out.