June 29, 2018

Hey Instagram: Ban the Bigot

By Kendall Brown

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Milo Yiannopoulos said he couldn’t wait for vigilantes to start gunning journalists down. Less than 48 hours after Milo posted his threat on Instagram, someone did exactly that, opening fire on journalists at the Annapolis Capital-Gazette, who were just trying to do their job.

We don’t yet know what the shooter’s motivations were. But moments after the shooting started, the alt right has already begun to celebrate. Extreme right discussions across 4chan, Reddit, and Twitter celebrated the shooting as “right on time” and ominously declared, “so it begins”. After the New York Police Department announced they were dispatching security to all major news outlets in the city, one Twitter user, whose profile links to the alt right website Exodus Americanus, tweeted that journalists “should live in fear.”

To top it all off, as news reports came out about the shooting, Milo began posting photos of himself holding a rifle on Instagram. He is, after all, emulating Donald Trump, who has repeatedly referred to journalists as “the enemy of the American people”, including earlier this week.

original instagram post from MiloMilo made it clear to followers earlier this week that he didn’t regret what he had said.

Regardless of what this gunman says was his motivation, the reality is that online threats toward journalists make newsrooms across the nation less safe. They are dangerous, and as long as social media companies continue to provide a platform for them, they are culpable for any violence they inspire.

That’s why we’re demanding that Instagram immediately — and permanently — ban Milo from using their platform. We need to make sure Instagram hears us loud and clear — add your name now to stand with us.

This isn’t normal. This isn’t who we should be as a nation. No one should have to live in fear every day when they go to their job. No one should have to worry that something a self-declared “online troll” like Milo says might get them killed.

photo of Milo holding a rifle and shruggingWithin a few hours of the shooting, Milo posted several times on Instagram about the shooting and his original threatening words, including two photos of himself holding a gun and a caption that read, in part, “I regret nothing.”

It isn’t “just trolling”. It isn’t funny. It’s dangerous, and it has to stop. Following the shooting, Instagram finally took down Milo’s original post, but they continue to allow him on their platform. That’s unacceptable.

Add your name now to demand Instagram do their part to make it stop by immediately banning Milo from their platform—for good.