Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here’s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Milo in Australia: Yiannopoulous, free speech and violence

By Binoy Kampmark - posted Friday, 8 December 2017

To what limit protest? Naturally, this was exactly what colourful agitator and former senior editor for Breitbart News Milo Yiannopolous wanted: outrage, insensible anger, and heady adoration. Without any of these, he would vanish, a figure charged on a narcissism that would otherwise vanquish him. Left alone, and the shallowness would be overwhelming.

His visit to Australia triggered the usual fanfare over the credentials of controversy. Australian authorities tend to prefer their visitors to be of a milder sort, but Milo has touched a vein. He has shown himself, rather artificially, to be radical, contrarian, different. He is Right wing impulse made chic; prejudice made glamorous.

Milo has also managed to marry a few curious themes that grate with the traditional left: he is flamboyant, gay and totally uninhibited, even if all of these seem forced. He, in fact, inhabits a confused being, a soul that sells anger while also charming establishment outlets. By his own admission, he can change, evolve, adapt.


Michael Brull, writing for New Matilda, remarks pertinently that Yiannopoulous has been given expansive exposure on media outlets across Australia, more out of curiosity than anything else. The Murdoch Press, through The Australian, has offered him opinion space to tease and vent; Channel 7 has fawned and praised; and the Kyle and Jackie O show floated with his waves.

His Melbourne show itself resonated with customary fleshiness and garish distraction. Models were in ready supply, given the sponsorship provided by Penthouse. Preliminary photo shoots involved a gathering of up to 100 supporters. Then came the smoke, lights and music, the projected messiah, champagne glass in hand, gracing the stage. Other performances also supplied a private dinner option, if you dared.

The performances have wooed those present. Reservations evaporate. This is the impression from a far from critical Luke Kinsella: "Milo is so unyielding, captivating and charismatic; it's easy to understand why a cult of followers has developed around him. He uses humour to make his point, and humiliate his opponents."

Brull's uses a comparison that gives pause for thought. Gideon Levy, a progressive Israeli scribe not keen to play to the halls of lukewarm acceptance, is also on tour in Australia. He has garnered a relatively poor harvest in fielding reviews and interviews, including an aggressive session on Lateline. "Certainly, no-one invited him on commercial television." Those "rare occasions" which see leftists appear on television require the sort of balance that sees them drowned "out with conventional wisdom."

The Melbourne event on Monday duly became rowdy, a process that made the police work for their brief. Hundreds from the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism squared off against the True Blue Crew. Two arrests, one from each side, were duly made.

A battle of accounts began to circulate: who agitated whom? Avi Yemini, a self-proclaimed "Ozraeli" and former Israeli soldier, insisted that there was "a small group of pro-Milo supporters. People who are standing up for freedom of speech. People who are proudly announcing that they are Aussies. You don't have to agree with all their different schtick."


Yemini describes a scene of aggressive chaos, a kaleidoscope of "Muslim women in burkas", "Antifa with their face coverings", the enthusiastic sporting of middle fingers with calls of being a Nazi. There were flashbacks: "I felt like I was in the Middle East on the Gaza Strip again where they were throwing rocks at the police."

Forces of occupation are hardly going to engender support, though Yemini's sentiment does point to the unnecessary attention given to Yiannopoulous. That he has generated that much incendiary interest from so-called members of progressive groups suggest the unfortunate mirroring of tribal anger, the great trap of incarnating an image he attacks.

If the streets are supposedly awash with the prospect of Islamic terror, best not try to please Milo by donning Islamic outfits and throwing rocks at police and rival supporters. This is music to the reactionary Yiannopolous machine showing, to a certain degree, Australia's troubled relationship with the rigorous engagement of free speech.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

16 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He currently lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne and blogs at Oz Moses.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Binoy Kampmark

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 16 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy