More about Milo and his Twitter ban: he was worse than I thought

I don’t want this to become a “drama site,” so I won’t post more than this on the Ghostbusters/Leslie Jones/Milo kerfuffle. Besides, I want to write about honeyguides. But I want to note that, in view of new information, I’ve changed my mind about the injustice of giving Milo Yiannopoulos a life sentence in Twitter Jail.

I still decry the double standards that Twitter (and Facebook) apparently have when it comes to banning people, but more on that in a second. Yesterday I discussed the opprobrium, racism, and sexism heaped on actor Leslie Jones by many people on Twitter, including Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo was subsequently banned for life by Twitter. My opinion was that while his tweets were reprehensible—and surely violated the poorly enforced standards of Twitter (they really need to give more concrete explanations for banning)—he should not have been banned.

I agree, of course, that Twitter has the right to set its own standards. That was not the issue. The issue was what sort of standards should they have, given that they have in effect a monopoly on global Internet conversation. I suggested that Twitter should abide by the U.S.’s free-speech standards, whereby only speech that poses a threat of immediate violence (or legally constitutes slander or libel) should be banned. If it’s a problem that other countries have “hate speech” laws, like Germany and Canada, then headquarter Twitter in the U.S. After all, I’m not subject to other countries’ speech laws on this website, as I write form America.

Many readers agreed with me; others didn’t. Nearly all agreed, though, that Milo is not just a provocateur, but a troll, and that his politics are reprehensible. But of course free speech is in the Constitution precisely to prevent the censorship of those whose speech is deemed reprehensible.

Now, however, information has come to my attention suggesting that Yiannopoulos committed a more serious misstep. (Others suggested this in the comments yesterday, but I had to verify it.) In a piece at, “The trouble with Milo,” Cathy Young, once an ally of Milo in conservative activism, says he’s “crossed the line” by tweeting bogus tweets that came from Jones, and did so knowingly. First, here are the two counterfeit tweets from Jones passed along by Yiannopoulos, and then retweeted by others 600 times (click to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 9.25.28 AM

That these were bogus tweets from Jones should have been obvious by the absence of the “verification” checkmark issued by Twitter. Indeed, they are so far out of character for Jones—especially the “goddam kikes” tweet—that they’re clearly fake. And, indeed, Yiannopoulos wryly suggested he knew that:

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 9.29.10 AM

And Breibart tried to make light of this; as Young writes:

Breitbart has attempted to excuse this by claiming there was no attempt to pass the screenshots off as real tweets from Jones, since their fakeness was “made clear with the lack of a verification check mark.” Yet some people who responded to Milo thought the tweets were real. So did someone who tweeted at me after Milo’s ban.

Sorry, but game over. By knowingly disseminating fake tweets, and tweets that were made to look horrible, Yiannopolous was guilty of impersonating another user. So yes, he should have been banned for that.

Should the ban be permanent? I say “no.” Give him another chance, and if he continues to do stuff like this, ban him for good. Free speech is one thing, this form of slander is another.

But, as Young emphasizes, the bigger problem remains: what kind of speech should  be banned on Twitter? And my opinion, given above and yesterday, remains. Like me, Young has valid concerns that Twitter bans only those holding certain political views:

Even if Milo fully deserved to get banned, there is little doubt that Twitter’s management has double standards favoring “marginalized people” and the Social Justice left.

For instance: while I hold Breitbart in pretty low regard, this account of a black Breitbart reporter being repeatedly attacked as a “coon” on Twitter at the instigation of rapper Talib Kweli (who has over a million Twitter followers, more than three times Milo’s follower count at the time of his ban) certainly seems to meet Twitter’s criteria for “targeted abuse.” Will Twitter take action? I’m not holding my breath. Likewise, Breitbart seems to have a pretty good case with regard to Twitter ignoring calls for deadly violence against cops from Black Twitter, even though Twitter rules clearly prohibit promoting violence.

Or take another example. A number of people have said that Twitter’s intervention to help Leslie Jones makes good practical sense, since many Twitter users are interested in interacting with celebrities and having celebrities driven off Twitter by hate is bad for business. Fine. But where was the concern when filmmaker Joss Whedon quit Twitter after a deluge of hate over alleged misogyny in Avengers: Age of Ultron, or when British comedian Stephen Fry deleted his account after being bashed for jokes some saw as offensive to women and transgender people? (Trans activists on Twitter are notorious for ripping people to shreds for the pettiest transgressions; a few months before his departure from Twitter, Whedon was savaged for a “transphobic” joke which suggested that requirements for a female character include not having male genitalia.)

Nor one did anyone lament the “silencing” when technology entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa announced his decision to step away from advocacy for women in tech because of social media attacks from feminists who accused him of using women for self-promotion. In fact, one of the people who led the charge against Wadhwa, programmer and women-in-tech advocate Randi Harper, is an “anti-harassment advocate” who has the ear of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Harper, who has a habit of telling people to “set themselves on fire” if they cross her, has been accused of being a social media bully herself; two mainstream liberal journalists have told me that they agree with this characterization but would not go on the record to criticize Harper.

Harper’s cozy relationship with Twitter management points to another problem. Twitter’s (and, generally, the social media’s) anti-harassment initiatives have a close relationship with “social justice” activists who act as partners and consultants on these efforts. The problem is not just that this compromises the appearance of neutrality. It’s that, as I pointed out in the New York Observer earlier this year, these activists are anti-neutrality in principle: they not only tend to equate “safety” with protection from “oppressive” speech but openly support double standards that favor the “marginalized” over the “privileged.”

I won’t belabor you with lots of examples; you can read Young’s piece yourself. But here’s one final example I found of people spewing hate on Twitter who aren’t banned at all. Those are the people celebrating the honor killing of Pakistani actor/singer/activist Qandeel Baloch. Have a look at what some people said, as sussed out and passed along by Rita Panahi, an Iranian-Australian columnist:

There’s more. Let me enlarge them for you:

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 1.48.05 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 1.48.16 PM

In case you think I’m asking for these shameful creatures to be banned, I’m not. Their sentiments are beyond civilized discourse, but they should still be able to say what they want. That way, at least, we can see them for the jerks they are.


  1. Somite
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    To the point of being given another chance; he had been banned and allowed back on twitter at least twice.

    • Anshul
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      This is the key. Milo has been warned multiple times so it’s not like he wasn’t given chances before. Also all those tweets celebrating the Pakistani Model’s death are minor accounts. Twitter can’t possibly find them without them being reported. It’a not like Twitter actively looks for people to be banned, people need to be reported first. Also Milo has 1/3 of a million followers so he’s a much bigger target when it comes to libel

    • Tankapotty
      Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      What was he banned for? The same exact thing radical feminist and BLM does! Let’s be honest, all he was voice an opinion and make a few distasteful remarks. What about feminist celebration of male suicides, or calling for the death of all white men, how about sending all of their follower to attack someone that “offended them”. Twitter has been so hypothetical with who they chose to ban it’s ludicrous! Let’s get one thing straight, they said his free speech wasn’t a problem, until he sent a mass attack. Well why wasn’t Leslie Jones banned for sending her followers after someone who offended her? Why is one attack allowed, but the other banned? Straight up hypocritical.

  2. Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    This post is rational and models how to update thinking as new information arrives. I love it.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink


  3. Eric Grobler
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    That way, at least, we can see them for the jerks they are.

    I am starting to think Milo and Jones are both jerks.

    I am not sure about the context but she apparently asked her followers to go after someone:
    bitch I want to tell you about your self but I’m gonna let everybody else do it I’m gonna retweet your hate!! Get her!!

    I think the tenor of both her and Milo’s tweets are deplorable.

    Again some of Leslie’s tweets: (or is this humor?)

    Why is the goofy white boy coming thru!! The announcers won’t even call him lebron. The jamesing like a Muthafucka! Wake up James!!

    get the fuck outta here a white boy is best dj wtf?

    ok you white girls are starting to look alike like a mutherfucka.I swear i went to high school with them two girls

    • Luis Servín
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      That is indeed humor. Are you aware that she is a comedían?

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        That’s joking?
        A guy called Tim Hunt tried a joke once. A joke that was much less offensive (not offensive at all in context) than this yet he was brought down, by the very people defending this type of joke.

        There are double standards.

  4. $G
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Love this post, Prof. CC. Not only because it revisits an issue with a new take (which is far, far too rare on the internet) but also because it calls out Milo for being the troll that he is.

    What bothers me about Milo is how undeniably charming he is. Watch him on the Rubin or Rogan shows and it’s hard to not kind of like him (despite some wild things he says). He seems to be a genuinely smart guy, but some of his opinions seem so far off base that it’s hard not to see him as a “hook, line, and sinker” type. That is, lure in fans with some reasonable opinions, and then see what else you can get people to go along with. Unlike other entertainers, his fanbase doesn’t transcend politics (like a musician’s fanbase, for example). His following is almost certainly of a certain partisanship, and once they begin to see him as their “representative” he can basically twirl them along on every whim he can get away with.

    • Cindy
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink


      When I see him on Dave Rubin’s show, I think “how reasonable” he is, his detractors must surely exaggerate!

      But as Milo himself has stated, he is outrageous for its own sake. I think that often he goes too far with this sort of behaviour, however. He is correct that “offense is taken never given” however he seems to think that because *nothing” could ever offend him, that no one else should ever suffer hurt feelings which is ridiculous.

      Oh, and his outrageous behaviour = branding = fame. Without behaving like such a “bad boy”, he would br just another conservative pundit. This is what he does to stay relevant and in the news. All smoke and mirrors as they say.

      • $G
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        It’s his fanbase that I’ve become tired of. I didn’t know a whole lot about him before the Rubin interview, but under every video I’ve seen of him since his supporters have basically hijacked the comments. They claim to supporting some sort of irreverent intellectual revolution against “SJWs” but I’ve always suspected they’re just gullible egotists being taken for a ride.

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink


      Milo can be charming (and handsome). Have you seen the video of him and
      Christian Hoff Sommers on feminism?

      His provocateuring pushes some boundaries that are well worth pushing, but his conduct also models bad behavior. He surfaces the closed-mindedness of authoritarian leftists (AL), but also teaches those who admire him to act out.

      I’d venture to guess that many AL’s skipped over a period of intellectual adolescence, merging with progressive values without experiencing the need to be critical of how they arrived at them or whether there is nuance beyond the received understanding of what’s just.

      The problem with Milo is that we also need brave adolescents to grow up, and from a place of wisdom, model an integrated and new set of behaviors, ones that help followers become better themselves.

      But that’s a lot to hoist onto one person, especially one channeling adolescent defiance. Still, there is a responsibility that comes with being in the public eye. He drove off the rails and down a cliff impersonating another Twitter user.

      I suppose this case also brings up the need for “parental” boundaries. The call for Twitter standards reflects that. The not impersonating is a good one.

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Christina (not Christian).

      • Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Another thought:

        The mental landscape of the authoritarian left (AL) has been well-traveled, its ways of thinking intendedly easy to learn and embody by its social signaling. The problem? We have a gumption instinct that is suppressed by rote imitation and convergence of thought. Social justice warriorship provides a poor and unsatisfying substitute for gumption. Then Milo comes along and dares to express some. He’s coarse and blatant and rude and I hate his politics, but he’s got more gumption than the AL.

        We need to indulge our gumption instinct for creativity and progress. We need to learn how to think beyond imitation and stale slogans for justice.

        Daring is a value of the AL, but the AL has forgotten how to embody it.

      • $G
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        I have not seen this video, though I have seen a few other ones featuring him and Sommers (or others).

        Very difficult to disagree with your thoughts on the responsibilities of one person. I do wonder how many of his allies will react to this news. I genuinely hope his behaviour won’t be ignored or waved off with a laugh (Milo’s favourite gesture to dismiss things in a conversation). I have respect for a lot of the figures among the FreeMilo crowd, and while I’m ambivalent on whether or not he stays banned from a social media platform, I distinctly hope that alternative social media outlets (Rubin, etc.) take him to task. Their alignment with Milo is probably a not-insignificant portion of their new traffic base, but this is a good opportunity to prove that this middle ground between authoritarian and reactionary left/rightism is genuinely about examination and conversation.

        • Cindy
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          Well said $G and Charleen.

          Fair and balanced, both of you.

        • Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          Nicely written!

  5. Markham Thomas
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I have been wrestling with this topic. On one hand we decry those that espouse extremist ideology that can incite others to do harm. In this case there are those who are defending the rights of someone who possibly incited verbal attacks on others.

    At what point does speech turn into incitement of violence. If someone does not directly incite violence but it inspires someone to do harm do we hold them responsible. Should they be allowed to say whatever they want.

    I think that in the end I agree with the xkcd comic. He was allowed to say what he wanted, we heard it, now he can go find a soapbox somewhere else.


  6. Jeff Cotner
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Might there be a way to ‘follow’ your posts on evolution and religion (and even science in general) without also getting so many on politics and cats and reader photos? Not that there’s anything wrong with cats per se, of course.

    • Peter N
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Protip: you don’t have to read the articles that don’t interest you.

    • Posted July 23, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, there is. I use Feedly. It’s quite handy for segregating feeds by topic. It will provide a precis of the topic and you can read or skip as you like. It’s also my understanding you can subscribe through e-mail and get the same service. The downside with that is continually having to purge your inbox.

  7. Phil_Torres
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink


    “Should the ban be permanent? I say “no.” Give him another chance, and if he continues to do stuff like this, ban him for good. Free speech is one thing, this form of slander is another.”

    Milo has repeatedly been banned from Twitter for morally abhorrent behavior. I am a free speech advocate — far more so than Milo, who told Dave Rubin he supports 1st Amd limitations — but the sort of harm that Milo has caused other people, along with his impersonating Leslie Jones, warrants extreme action, in my opinion.

    Why it is that Rubin keeps giving such a pernicious, anti-intellectual troll a platform on his show is absolutely beyond me.

    – Phil

    • Phil_Torres
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Also, I strongly agree with your (Jerry’s) critique of Twitter’s inconsistent application of its rules. Honestly, I’m glad to see a clear-headed discussion of these the two issues: (a) whether Twitter is consistent enough, and (b) whether or not Milo should be banned. Thanks for that.

  8. Dean Reimer
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    “That way, at least, we can see them for the jerks they are.”

    This is the trouble I have with anonymous platforms like Twitter. For what good does it do to see someone for the jerk they are if you don’t know who they are?

    Both my Twitter and Google+ accounts use my real name. I own what I say, and it encourages me to be thoughtful and measured.

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      “Both my Twitter and Google+ accounts use my real name. I own what I say, and it encourages me to be thoughtful and measured.”

      My first, and last experience with using my real name (this is a variation of it) was on YouTube, and resulted in someone who I criticized in a thoughtful, and measured way threatening to go to my daughters college, to rape, and kill her.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you Mike. Not that I’ve had exactly that experience, but I have had one anonymous, slanderous attack – never found out who or why, or whether it was just completely random. But I’m not going to put my name all over the Internet if I don’t have to.


      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        That’s pretty bad.
        I had a discussion with Phil Moriarty from Sixty Symbols who was adamant that people should use their real names if they are to criticize anything.
        I thought he may have a point but also that anonymity can also be valid and does not make one craven.
        Your experience is a significant reminder that there is a case for anonymity.
        (And a reminder that there are some real shitbags around)

  9. Joe Right
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Milo is not responsible for the behavior of his followers. They are separate individuals. He never explicitly called for any campaign of harassment against Leslie. If a group of people are “inspired” by Milo to attack Leslie online, they are culpable for the abuse, not Milo.

    I don’t like this double standard, where if followers of Black Lives Matter, for example, burn down entire neighborhoods or shoot police, it’s only a couple of radicals, but if followers of a conservative celebrity harass someone online, that celebrity is culpable. The Left seems to think that harassing women online is a worse crime than the terrorism, rioting, civil disruption and murder we’ve seen from BLM and Islamic groups.

    • Phil_Torres
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Please! Milo knew exactly what he was doing. He’s perfected the art of galvanizing swarms of knuckledraggers (to use his term) to ruin people’s lives.

      • Aldoro
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes, because Leslie Jones is the perfect innocent little angel… She should be banned from Twitter as well for the shit she said herself:

    • Luis Servín
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I disagree. Milo knew exactly what the response of his followers was going to be. He’s done it before. He didn’t need to explicitly command his followers to attack Leslie. All he needed was to attribute those fake tweets to her. That was the sign for his followers to go after her. Remember that this guy is a Twitter and social media expert. That’s what makes him a dangerous troll.

      • Tankapotty
        Posted July 23, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        You mean the exact same thing she did like an hour later?

  10. jacoxnet
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The problem for me is that Milo deliberately engineered a deluge of racist harassment by his followers against a woman solely because she is black and prominent. Yes, I agree with you about the wrongheadedness of “safe space” arguments and the importance of free, even raucous, speech. But inciting a torrent of racist, verbal abuse doesn’t have to be tolerated, and shouldn’t.

    • Cindy
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      The problem for me is that Milo deliberately engineered a deluge of racist harassment by his followers against a woman solely because she is black and prominent.

      “Deliberately engineered”

      Citation needed.

      • Another Tom
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Because it’s not like Milo has had previous temporary bans from Twitter for doing similar things before. Or have you not been paying attention?

        • Cindy
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          So because he has been banned from twitter in the past that means that he has ‘deliberately engineered’ a campaign of harassment now?

          Nope, I still need that citation.

          • Posted July 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink


            Yesterday PZ Myers’ criticism of me resulted in a day full of insults from PZ Myers’ devotees. I was called a racist and a pedophile supporter, and had my intelligence questioned.

            Did PZ intend for his followers to do that to me? I doubt he intended that degree of verbal “sinning” on the part of his Twitter base. Is he partially responsible for it? Yes. The point of chastising me publicly was to dissuade. And part of the social dissuasion in microblogging platforms is social derision. Should he be banned from Twitter for permitting and instigating vile conduct? No. Can we prove he intended that his base violate the rules of civility? No. Does he have a moral duty to model civil discourse, yes.

            Razib Khan just came up with an interesting solution to the problem of famous people presenting scapegoats for their base to rip apart. He’s suggested a technical solution. Somehow come up with a limit to the number of replies a person can receive in a certain span of time. The metrics for these incidents could then be tracked an analyzed over time without imposing dictums about ad hom and sparing the recipient the blast of ugliness.

          • Another Tom
            Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            Twitter has a policy against harassment and abuse, and incitement to harassment and abuse. Milo has violated these rules multiple times. If he can’t play by twitter’s rules, then no twitter for him.

            ‘Deliberately engineered’ campaign of harassment is superfluous, the fact that Milo himself engaged in harassment and abuse is enough to get a perma-ban regardless of how his followers behave.

            • Posted July 22, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

              The court of discernment on what constitutes incitement to harass has not well defined incitement nor harassment. There is epistemic uncertainty about these and confusion about the distinction between offense and criminal conduct.

        • Taz
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          I’ve been paying some attention, and I seem to recall reading that Milo’s previous suspension was quickly reversed because it was bullshit.

      • jacoxnet
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Mike Isaac, NYTimes, July 20: “Hundreds of anonymous Twitter commenters hurled racist and sexist remarks at the star’s Twitter account, rallied and directed by Mr. Yiannopoulos this week.”

        • Cindy
          Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          “Rallied and directed”

          So he explicitly told them to:

          Definition of rally

          a : to muster for a common purpose b : to recall to order

          a : to arouse for action b : to rouse from depression or weakness

          Which is interesting, because vile trolls from 4chan had already been harassing her when Milo showed up and made some snarky comments.

          So by ‘rallied’ I guess you mean, he made some snarky comments, and if people saw those comments, and chose to then harass Ms. Jones, that this counts as Milo *purposely* and directly mustering them to attack her?

          Definition of direct:

          a : to regulate the activities or course of b : to carry out the organizing, energizing, and supervising of c : to dominate and determine the course of d : to train and lead performances of

          So he regulated, organized, supervised, mustered, and aroused all of the people who attacked Ms. Jones simply by engaging her in his typical fashion, and this makes him 100% responsible for their behaviour?

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 22, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

            I usually agree with you, Cindy, but on this one I think you’re wrong.

            If Milo *knew* what would happen when he directed his tweets at her, even if he didn’t explicitly instruct his followers what to do, then he is at least equally responsible for the results.

            Milo’s followers give his words far more power than mine. That is both a privilege and a restraint. I can say what I want – I could call Ms Jones rude names and no-one is going to take much notice, which is the luxury of being insignificant. Milo doesn’t have that freedom – if he says something, consequences follow.


      • jacoxnet
        Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        One other thing: if you’ve spent any significant time on Twitter, as I have, it is very easy to see how this happens. People like Milo have armies of followers, many of whom will start firing off abusive tweets as soon as their leader indicates whom to target. He can see the abuse take place as he reviews his own mentions. Now, can this happen without “deliberate engineering”? Sure. But given his repeated history with exactly this sort of thing, and given his egging on the crowd with the fake tweets, we can be reasonably sure he knew exactly what he was doing and intended that result.

      • Posted July 23, 2016 at 6:28 am | Permalink

        The “deliberate engineering” is not done on Twitter, but begins in the alt-right groups on Reddit and 4chan. The tactic is known as “brigading” — “the act of a group targeting specific subjects and strategising ways to collectively harass or threaten them”.



  11. Posted July 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Because twitter is not banning all hateful speech means they need to do better at banning hateful, vile speech. There is a difference between hate speech and free speech. This country is becoming more and more divided because of this unchecked hate. If you think it will lead to a “slippery slope”, then we need to get shoes with better traction to traverse this slope. The hate has to stop!

  12. Malcolm
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Ken White of Popehat on this – quite reasonable I would say##

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    … or legally constitutes slander or libel …

    The general rule in the US is that defamatory material cannot be enjoined from publication, under the First Amendment’s “prior restraint” doctrine (although the offended party can sue after-the-fact for money damages). Some courts, of late, have issued injunctions prohibiting the re-dissemination of such material, but only after it has been determined to be defamatory after a full trial on the merits, and never before its initial publication.

    • Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for this interesting link, Ken. I was struck by this quote:

      “Defamation by its nature is highly contextual. A statement that is defamatory in one circumstance, time, or place might not be defamatory in another circumstance, time, or place. A permanent injunction as a remedy for defamation does not account for constantly changing contextual factors that affect whether the speech is punishable or protected.”

  14. Yourmom
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Well I’m certainly glad that someone else mistypes from as form just like I do.

  15. Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    This story seems so bizarre, but I don’t tweet, so I know no more than I read here. For what it’s worth, we saw ‘Ghostbusters’ yesterday, and I thought Leslie Jones’ performance stood out. But there’s a larger mystery here… right-wing media and ideology seem to be going off the rails in an almost deliberate and conspicuous way, as though there’s a compulsion to expose themselves. There’s this Milo business at Breitbart, but also Roger Ailes’ departure from Fox amid allegations of sexual harassment, and Trump going out of his way today to condemn Cruz for not endorsing him in a spectacularly petty way. Very strange.

    • somer
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Permalink


  16. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad to see Rita Panahi mentioned.
    She is a sensible social commentator, from down my way.

  17. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    After all, I’m not subject to other countries’ speech laws on this website, as I write form America.

    Your writing may not be subject to restraint. However if you were to write consistently on pro-Nazi themes (not very likely) you might well find that the domain suddenly gets null-routed by DNS servers in Germany. For an example. People can prevent your writing from being seen in some parts of the world.
    Incidentally, have you (well, been getting any traffic from Turkey in the last couple of days?

    • Onkel Fritze
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      To add to that, if you were to post such material, you could actually get arrested entering Germany (although you would probably have to post a LOT of it to come to the attention of authorities).

  18. somer
    Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Its a culmination of pomo and crit theory influences from substantial sections of the education system and media (even mainstream media if not owned by conservative businespeople) gradually building up over the last 40 years. Now they actually see neutrality in reporting as a moral failing

    • somer
      Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Moreover its considered “hip” and even in silicone valley a lot of people want to be “hip”

  19. Posted July 22, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Free speech and Twitter are not synonyms.

    Yes, Twitter does a woeful job of enforcing its double standards but that doesn’t excuse anyone attempting such blatant slander.

    I can understand someone making a case that Twitter should enforce its standards even handedly, but not that Milo should be given the same leeway afforded to other abusive users.

  20. Posted July 23, 2016 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    As a techno-dinosaur,I never use Twitter and very seldom use Facebook. I think that both should have clearly specified rules as to what is or isn’t permissible, with defined consequences, and post it for all users to read. Then, they should monitor the content and follow their rules. It should be no different than what PCC(E)has done in posting “da rools” here.

  21. Posted July 23, 2016 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Laurie Penny, “I’m With The Banned”:

    Milo is excited. This is his night. How does he feel about his suspension?

    “It’s fantastic,” he says, “It’s the end of the platform. The timing is perfect.”

    He was planning for something like this. “I thought I had another six months, but this was always going to happen.”

    Milo shows no remorse for the avalanche of misconduct he helped direct towards Leslie Jones, who is just the latest victim of the recreational ritual abuse he likes to launch at women and minorities for the fame and fun of it. According to the law of the wild web, the spoils go to those with fewest fucks to give. I have come to believe, in the course of our bizarro unfriendship, that Milo believes in almost nothing concrete—not even in free speech. The same is reportedly true of Trump, of people like Ann Coulter, of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage: They are pure antagonists unencumbered by any conviction apart from their personal entitlement to raw power and stacks of cash.


    It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t mean it. It doesn’t matter that he’s secretly quite a sweet, vulnerable person who is gracious to those he considers friends. It doesn’t matter that somewhere in the rhinestone-rimmed hamster wheel of his mind is a conscience. It doesn’t matter because the harm he does is real. He is leading a yammering army of trolls to victory on terms they barely understand. This is how we got to a place where headline speakers at the Republican convention—one of the most significant political events in the national narrative of world’s greatest superpower—are now actively calling for the slaughter and deportation of foreigners, declaring that Hillary Clinton is an agent of Satan, and hearing only cheers from the floor.


    • Shea B
      Posted July 26, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Fascinating article. It sheds a great deal of light on this bizarre and disgusting character.

  22. Posted July 23, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    astounding. you actually find a “joke” about math being hard for girls and lying about rape is funny.

    • Posted July 23, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      You seem confused. Who do you think you are addressing? And who do you think found that joke to be funny?

      • Posted July 23, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        I think nowamfoundatlast might have been replying in email to a comment by another that Jerry deep sixed.


  23. Thanny
    Posted July 23, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Yiannopoulos didn’t author any fake tweets. Responding to or “retweeting” them doesn’t constitute any kind of fraud.

    You can’t hold him or anyone paying attention to him to different standards. If he clearly knew they were fake, then those watching him must clearly know they were fake as well.

    Milo didn’t incite anything, and didn’t even show up in that Twitter fracas until a day and half after Jones started receiving the nasty tweets.

    Jones, on the other hand, actively incites her followers to harass people.

    The simple fact is, Milo didn’t break any Twitter rules, while Jones did.

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