Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why I signed

About 160 kids authors who have books with Simon and Schuster have signed a letter to the company protesting the recent contract for Milo Yiannopoulos.

The text of the letter spells out the argument very well, but I still struggled with this. Free speech needs to be protected, no doubt. This includes defending the right of people to make the most offensive comments imaginable. Yiannopoulos makes a lot of them.

But, for me, that's not the point of this protest.

My problem with this particular guy is his actions, not his thoughts or ideas.

Yiannopoulos doesn't just spread ideas I don't like, he leads and coordinates targeted attacks on people, using social media, because of their race and gender. Leslie Jones, Gamergate, 

He sets out to ruin lives. He brags about it.

A $250,000 advance for a book deal for this guy isn't just a validation of his views, but a reward for the way he has made a name for himself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've struggled with this one as well, Kevin. I agree with the concept of free speech, but I also think you're right in that this goes far beyond a freedom of expression issue. The moment it went from hate speech into deliberate and targeted assaults (virtual or otherwise) on specific individuals, that became harassment and it crossed the line between expressing an opinion and forcing that opinion onto another person. I'm really hoping that S&S will renege on this deal.