The technology editor for media outlet Breitbart wrote a scathing review of Ghostbusters, in which he critiqued Leslie Jones’ performance in the movie and called her ‘spectacularly unappealing’.
He later posted a photo of Jones and tweeted: ‘At least Ghostbusters has a hot black guy in it.’
As criticism of the review went viral, he attacked the cast in another tweet for being ‘fat and ugly.’
Jones subsequently received a deluge of racist tweets from supporters of Yiannopoulous and has since decided to leave the social media platform.
Yiannopoulous, who has called himself ‘the most fabulous super villain on the internet’, saw his Twitter account permanently suspended as a result of the furor.
Writing on Brietbart, he called the suspension ‘cowardly’ and evidence that the social media platform was a ‘no-go zone for conservatives’.
In an interview with reporter Alison Kosik, Yiannopoulous said he stood by all his original comments.
On his exchange with Jones, he says: ‘I cracked some jokes, I was mean and bitchy, like I always am, and if I crack a few jokes at a Hollywood megastar’s expense, so what?’
He said he stood by his tweet calling the female cast of the film ‘fat and ugly, ugly, ugly, fat.’
‘We’ve started top marginalize traditional beauty standards,’ he said by way of defense. ‘Now what we’re expected to do is celebrate body positivity and that it’s OK to abuse their bodies, to run the risk of horrible diseases and awful chronic conditions and to die sooner. That’s horrible.
‘What I’m trying to do is draw attention to a critique of what’s happening in mainstream beauty culture, and that comes from compassion about what the messages [are] we’re sending to young girls.’
Asked by Kosik if calling the cast ‘fat and ugly’ was ‘compassionate’, he says, ‘The piece comes from compassion. This is just a little bitchy tweet – who cares?’
Yiannopoulous concedes that some of the tweets Jones subsequently received were ‘horrible’ but it’s not his business to police Twitter users everywhere.
‘I’m not going to endorse anything horrible … some of things said to her were disgusting, but I’m not in the business of language policing other people. I’m only responsible for what I say, and the things you have presented to me, I’m perfectly happy, I’d say them again tomorrow.’
Asked what he might say to Jones if he had the chance to sit with her, an unrepentant Yiannopoulous said, ‘I would say to her, “You are the star of a Hollywood blockbuster: what are you doing sitting at home on your iPhone getting upset about idiots posting nonsense stuff on the internet.” That’s insane to me.’
‘The trolls are often not the bad guys. Often the trolls are the only ones telling the truth’
Kosik then brings up a previous op-ed Yiannopoulous penned in 2012 in which he said that if people cannot treat one another with respect and dignity and consideration, a bolder form of online censure may be needed.
‘I think it’s fair to say that my feelings have evolved on that subject,’ responds Yiannopoulous.
‘After four years of being on Twitter and being on Facebook and watching how these companies operate, but also realizing that the trolls are often not the bad guys. Often the trolls are the only ones telling the truth.’
Challenged as to whether he would like to offer any sort of apology for the tweets his followers posted, he says, ‘Absolutely not.’
‘My purpose is to lob bombs. My purpose is to be a fire starter. In an outrage culture, I think the appropriate response is to be outrageous because what I want to do is smash political correctness.’
Asked how he feels about the number of people he offended with his tweets he laughs and says, ‘Good.
‘If I offended you, good, that’s me performing my function, and you should grow a thicker skin and grow up.
‘So long as there is a politics in this country where people can turn victimhood and grievance into currency, I will continue to be as offensive as possible.’
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