LGBT

Trolls Crash Poll To Vote Milo Yiannopoulos LGBTQ Person Of The Year

Notorious Breitbert editor has not exactly been the LGBT community's best advocate

LGBT
Photo Illustration: Diana Quach
Jan 07, 2017 at 6:00 AM ET

LGBTQ Nation, a news website serving the gay and lesbian community, conducted an online readers poll to name its 2016 Person of the Year, and surprise! It was a complete disaster. With almost 70 percent of the vote, Breitbert editor and notorious hate-monger Milo Yiannopoulos won the poll after 4chan and other denizens of the extreme right raided the poll intended for the site’s regular readers.

Yiannopoulos has made no secret of his sexual orientation, referring to himself as a “dangerous faggot,” but he hasn’t exactly been a quality advocate for the LGBT community. In the past he’s claimed that homosexuality is a choice, homophobia is a myth, and when asked by a student at the University of Houston if he’d “cure” his homosexuality if he could, he said he would. And if you thought by some chance the poll’s voters were being earnest, Mike Pence — yes, that Mike Pence — finished second in the poll.

More than anything, the story highlights the near impossibility of a representative or worthwhile online poll in today’s climate. Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn posted a Twitter poll this week asking if her followers supported Obamacare, only to see “yes” win with a whopping 84 percent. In September, a Chinese zoo offered the public a chance to name one of its gorillas; Harambe McHarambeface won, a name that referenced another online poll gone awry when the public voted to name a British research ship “Boaty McBoatface.” 

Even more amazing is that LGBTQ Nation actually went along with the troll job by naming Milo Person of the Year, as if it is required by an election board to respect the outcome of an online poll open to the public that was hijacked by people who likely don’t even read the site. In its write-up of the poll, the site basically responded to Milo’s victory with a shrug emoticon. It said he won “fair and square,” listed all the reasons he’s awful, and then teased a forthcoming interview with him. (Gay magazine “Out” found itself in hot water for running a profile of Yiannopoulos in September.)

Members of the LGBT community were understandably upset by this. In a thread about the story on Reddit’s /r/lgbt, users complained about LGBTQ Nation and the selection of Yiannopoulos, but guess what? The thread was hijacked by trolls! Moderators of the subreddit started deleting comments and ultimately locked the post, but it didn’t end there.

In the GamerGate subreddit /r/kotakuinaction, a user posted archived versions of the locked thread from /r/lgbt and, as is GamerGate’s wont, complained about alleged censorship. But as with many of GamerGate’s complaints, it rang quite hollow after the thread devolved into outright homophobia, transphobia, and childish name calling.