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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Thom Hartmann, Retract Your Slander of Milo

On the 21 July edition of his RT show The Big Picture, Thom Hartmann insinuated that Breitbart commentator Milo Yiannopoulos had been engaging in racist and sexist harassment, yet totally failed to state any examples thereof, instead merely using his banning by Twitter to pivot into a more general discussion of Internet harassment. I've posted this comment in response:

In a possibly defamatory bait-and-switch, you led into the discussion of Internet harassment with a mention of Milo Yiannopoulos, yet never substantiated that reference with any evidence that he's harassed anyone. I don't follow his Twitter feed, so I wouldn't know if he's done so. What I do know is that he almost single-handedly scored an important victory for freedom of thought and expression by saving the latest project of Cassie Jaye, the award-winning feminist independent filmmaker. When she needed additional funds to complete it last year, she discovered that the progressive foundations who'd supported her work in the past were unwilling to provide any more support unless she gave up creative control -- a demand she'd never faced before. The evident reason was that, in the course of making The Red Pill, a documentary on the Men's Rights Movement, she'd found herself questioning some of her feminist convictions, and incorporated that into the film. This sign that it wouldn't be the one-sided hit piece her funders may have previously expected made them unwilling to leave her in charge.
Rather than give up her independence to an ideological litmus test, she decided to try and raise the rest of the needed funds through a Kickstarter campaign, which would guarantee supporters could have no influence over content. But it initially looked doubtful she could raise the necessary money in time -- until Yiannopoulos wrote a column about her plight. Then, overnight, a Kickstarter that was less than a third of the way to its goal was taken over the top, and then some, thanks to supporters of free speech who follow Milo and spread the word about this situation. For this reason alone, Milo deserves to be called a hero of free speech. You owe him an apology.

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