Over the past week, Milo Yiannopoulos went from a conservative icon to a disgraced figure. After a podcast clip had surfaced of him declaring sex between boys and adult men permissible, he resigned from his position as Breitbart News's senior editor, lost his book deal, and lost his speaking slot at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
How did this all happen? It began with an anonymous 16-year-old girl.
"Julia," as Vox calls her, is conservative on economics and international affairs but socially liberal. When she learned Yiannopoulos was speaking at the CAPC, she was disappointed. "I see Milo as this embodiment of the awfulness you see over the past few years with the general tilt of millennial conservatism," she said. "You’ve seen it essentially become full of awfulness and all about attacking the left and not about actual principles. It has nothing to do with conservative ideology so much as it has with opposing the leftists, SJWs, and so on and so forth."
She wanted a way to get conservatives — not just the liberals who already denounced him — to see how harmful Yiannopoulos's ideologies were. So, she dug up a clip of the podcast Drunken Peasants in which he says it would be okay for an older man to have sex with a 13-year-old — and that prohibiting such activity was "one-size-fits-all policing" that ignores "the complicated nature of many relationships."
Julia was thoughtful about how to get the message out. To make sure she wasn't just preaching to the choir, she sent the clip to Reagan Battalion, a conservative blog. The tweet that shared it got over 2,500 retweets and 2,500 likes, and Yiannopoulos quickly fell out of favour with many conservatives.
Julia told Vox she hopes people take this as a lesson not to blindly follow public figures just because they share their own political persuasion. "You shouldn’t have to feel intimidated to stand up for what you believe in."