Stop claiming that Milo Yiannopoulos’ Twitter suspension has anything to do with free speech

Free speech is vital to any free society. I won’t argue against that point being made by my fellow Danthropology blogger, Joshua Kelly, or Godless Spellchecker’s Stephen Knight, or even Dave Rubin from the Rubin Report. All of whom came to the defense of Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

Milo was suspended permanently from Twitter for what they described as “inciting harassment” against Ghostbuster’s star Leslie Jones.

However, the aforementioned writers, hosts, have come to defend Milo from what they see as a violation of his free speech. While they all make clear they don’t defend or agree with his views, they agree he has a right to express them.

I also agree. Yet, this is not what got him suspended from Twitter. At all. To claim otherwise is to dabble in conspiracy theory and conjure up claims of the “regressive left” trying to squash speech they don’t agree with.

Nonsense.

He was not suspended as a repression of his views. He broke the rules and paid the price. It really is that simple.

You don’t have a right to a Twitter account.

You just don’t. To sign up, you must agree to their terms of service and follow them. They don’t owe you anything, but they do owe their shareholders something, and to make money, something they are struggling to figure out, they need people to want to sign up. If Twitter becomes another Reddit, a cesspool of harassment and threats, no one will want to join.

Milo has been suspended multiple times for harassing and inciting harassment against other Twitter users.

This time was really no different, except he picked on a Hollywood star, but after he was reported, it was his repeated abuse that led to the permanent suspension.

He was not suspended for his views, his politics, his hatred fo feminism, or of social justice.

He was suspended because Twitter deemed his actions of Tweeting at Jones, spread fake Tweets in her name to disparage her character, and for what they believed led to his followers relentlessly attacking Jones with sexist and racist comments.

This is a violation of the TOS and Twitter had every right to ban him.

That is not a violation of anyone’s free speech.

Milo also openly encourages harassment. He asks his readers to go out and fat shame people.

 

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So we know he incited harassment of people. So if he is harassing someone, why wouldn’t his followers follow suit?

Twitter is acting in a business sense here. They know he has a history, they know he openly calls for harassment, and they know they need to make people feel welcome into their platform to monetize it.

Let’s not also forget, free speech does not mean speech without consequences. So even if you still feel compelled to argue this has anything to do with free speech, you must remember Twitter doesn’t have an obligation to host such speech.

Again, Twitter is open to everyone, but only under their terms and conditions. Milo and any other user knows this and still signs up.

I don’t understand the sudden grandstanding for Milo by liberals who will ignore his harassment and try to make this a call for open dialogue and debate.

Had he been suspended for saying “I don’t like X,” we could have a conversation about free speech or censorship.

That didn’t happen and we need to stop pretending it did.

Milo is not being silenced. His ideas not being censored.

This isn’t regressive liberalism at work; it’s business.

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About Dan Arel

Dan Arel is an award-winning journalist and the author of the best-selling book The Secular Activist; and Parenting Without God. He is also a freelance columnist for AlterNet, Time, and The Huffington Post. Follow him on Twitter: @danarel