by Georgia Logothetis, Managing Director, HALC
“Is Anyone Honestly Surprised That Greeks Don’t Pay Their Debts?” That’s the title right-wing extremist and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos used to reflect on the Greek debt crisis.
Yiannopoulos was born in Greece and raised in Britain. His father is Greek and his mother is British. He is in the news this week because of a controversial invite by the Conservative Political Action Conference to host him as a speaker; that invite was rescinded when video surfaced of Yiannoupolos seemingly endorsing pedophilia. He also lost a book deal (though not before collecting his $250,000 advance).
Unfortunately, Yiannopoulos and his vileness, bigotry, sexism and xenophobia aren’t enough. Now that his name is in the headlines, it’s providing an opportunity for other bigots to showcase their stupidity, like this person:
Ms. Romero’s casual comment slurring an entire ethnicity shows that we still have much work to do to combat false stereotypes against Greeks.
Of course, it doesn’t help when Greeks themselves are advancing false narratives. Take Yiannopoulos, for example. Yiannopoulos has done little to advance Hellenic issues; in fact, he’s levied the stereotypical attacks against Greece and her people (“I’m part Greek, which is why I’m currently lifting your wallet while we have this conversation,” is how he started his piece on the Greek debt crisis):
Greece is a barren, inhospitable land of strange liquors, blazing rows and underdressed but overweight hairy middle-aged heffalumps. (And that’s just the women.) […] The EU wants austerity, and frankly my southern European family deserves a taste of the lash. […]
We Greeks invented rioting and, as with indolence, corruption and sodomy, we do it bigger and better than anyone else with more looting, more destruction and more existential despair afterwards.
Yes, I speak from personal experience. I don’t think I have a single friend I don’t owe money to, even if it just a fiver because I “didn’t have any change” or “my card didn’t work.” I’m not a miser or a bad person, I’m just absolutely terrible with money, like anyone who has a surname with that many vowels.
In an ideal world, this latest controversy in a series of controversies will relegate Yiannopoulos to the dustbin of history as another attention-seeking, soul-lacking, cruel egomaniac. It’s shameful that people associate him with Greeks and Greek society. Everything he represents is antithetical to the core Greek notion of philotimo. Good riddance to him. In the meantime, we’ll work even harder to counteract his bigotry and the bigotry of others against Greeks.