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Once upon a time, Milo Yiannopoulos reviled nations with his divisive nonsense. Last night, he was owned by some furries. 

 

 

When Milo Yiannopoulos stepped a Melbourne stage in 2017, castigating the nation for losing its way from the back of a parked Harley-Davidson, he did so at some sort of peak.

Outside, a city railed against his brand of hateful nonsense, inside, those paid for the privilege to hear him harangue Clementine Ford, Waleed Aly and Dr Susan Carland. He addressed the latter as a “brainwashed victim of a death cult that oppresses woman and kills homosexuals.”

It’s difficult to take someone seriously whose persona hinges on shoulder pads and sunglasses indoors, while exuding the same dorky misguided sexual energy as Peter Parker after he was poisoned by hubris. But Milo took Milo seriously, and some did, and his brand of division was certainly serious.

 

 

But to use the parlance of today, life comes at you fast, as the 2019 Milo has become the poster boy for de-platforming, as his expulsion from social media has pushed him into the spotlight once more, if only to cry poor.

Silicon Valley clamping down on him has pushed him into rather odd company, as he recently chose to adopt a ‘fursona’ in order to attend a convention for furries. For the unaware, the furry is an individual who adopts a costume of an animal, assuming that persona, and can extend to sexual ends with other furries, known as ‘yiffing’.

However, judge we should not, as the organisers of the convention have booted Milo out, with Midwest FurFest stating that “…hate is not welcome at Midwest FurFest. We are dedicated to providing a safe, harassment-free convention experience for all, regardless of age, race, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, or personal beliefs,” organisers wrote. “Midwest FurFest can confirm that Mr Yiannopoulos has registered for the event this year. While the convention generally does not comment on anyone’s registration status, Mr Yiannopoulos has already stated as much publicly.”

Prior to being banned, Yiannopoulos suggested hosting a panel titled “The Politics of Fur,” and instructed his followers to contact him to set up “dinners, drinks, photos or anything else” if they were also in attendance. He also purportedly bought a snow leopard costume for the event.

In response to being banned, Yiannopolous said that he was going to attend anyway. He posted again on Telegram on Monday and shared screenshots of emails he sent to the FurFest organisers. “I asked you to reach out to me so I could correct lies and slanders about me and reassure you about my intentions. You didn’t,” he wrote in the email. “So I’m coming anyway. And I’m bringing friends. Get ready.”

We stand at a strange pivot. Milo is a joke of an individual who has become a joke. The self-appointed “one-man wrecking crew” and “internet supervillain” has become a punchline, an emperor without clothes, rejected by a bunch of nerds masquerading as animals. Seemingly, schadenfreude is a dish best served by a fluorescent wolf with a permanent smirk.

However, we should herald the beasts of FurFest, because that community stands for something. We can marginalise them for their choices, but their morals remain strong. They were able to accomplish something that numerous governments, media agencies and platforms took a while to warm to. They saw hate and banned it at first glance.

We could all take a lesson from this menagerie.