Gay Journalist Leaves The Left Behind And Embraces A 'Brand New Conservative'

Feb 16, 2017
Originally published on February 23, 2017 3:00 pm

Until September, journalist Chadwick Moore says his life had been lived in a liberal bubble — one that burst after he wrote a profile Milo Yiannopoulos for Out Magazine.

Yiannopoulos is a gay blogger for Breitbart and provocateur who so favors Donald Trump he calls him "daddy." Yiannopoulos has inspired such ferocious online attacks on others that he was banned from Twitter.

Moore's article was critical, but also let Yiannopoulos be heard, and included a professional photo shoot. As soon as it was published, Moore was attacked — so severely he says it pushed him to rethink his political allegiance.

He became the subject of a New York Post story earlier this month headlined "I'm a gay New Yorker and I'm coming out as conservative."

Moore tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that the personal attacks — including being shunned by his liberal friends — caused him to lose respect for the left.

He says people like him are "part of a brand new conservative."

"We were born in the Democratic Party, somebody set our house on fire, we went running out, and the right has been so welcoming to people like me and there's so many of us," he says.


Interview Highlights

On the response to his Yiannopoulos profile

There was a petition [circulated] online signed by like 60 people in gay media condemning it, condemning the article, calling it dangerous, how dare you give this person a platform — and then of course personal attacks against me, calling me a Nazi, white supremacist, completely insane and ridiculous.

On how his friends reacted

Friends, immediately after the story ran — people I knew in places where I hang out would turn around and walk away from me and not talk to me. As I sort of starting seeing this behavior amongst my peers, I began to then challenge them more and say "How can you not at least listen to this person's argument?" And by the way, if you really are intent on destroying people like Milo Yiannapoulos, then isn't it beneficial to learn about him, to know what he's about – his weaknesses and to beat him by being smarter and have better arguments? But nobody is interested in that. They just name call.

On how he reacted

I've just lost so much respect for the left, especially the extreme left. I think they've gotten everything so terribly wrong. They've driven away moderates like myself — and I consider myself a moderate. But to come out as a moderate on the left is seen as aggressive. It's practically seen as a hate crime.

On whether he's a moderate or a conservative, as was the headline of the NY Post story

To come out as a moderate is to be more aligned with the conservative. I said in the story, which was an "as told to" piece, so I was interviewed by Michael Kaplan at the New York Post, and he wrote a story in my words. [Conservative] was in the headline.

What I say in it is that I'm more aligned with the right than the left and I sympathize with the right more. And I feel more welcomed on the right now that it's happened.

To be moderate — to come out as a moderate today, being in the left as I was, is to be more aligned with the right and conservative. If you value things like free speech, if you value free thought, if you value individualism over collectivism, then you're on the right now.

On how the media covers the right

Many in the media, they seek out the craziests on the right: the very overly racist, overtly anti-immigrant people who are a very, very tiny percentage — just like I believe on the left the worst elements are a tiny percentage.

On his positions — like whether he favors Vice President Mike Pence's stance on gay rights

I don't support Pence's views because I don't think that religion has any place in government, but I support religious freedom. For example, I support an evangelical Christian florist who doesn't want to do the flowers for a gay wedding. You can go to another florist to do your flowers. Don't unleash the ACLU on granny and her bucket of dyed carnations.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The journalist Chadwick Moore says he's coming out. Not coming out as gay - he did that long ago - instead, Moore says he's coming out as conservative. Moore lives in New York City in what he considers one of the nation's liberal bubbles.

CHADWICK MOORE: I live in uber-hip and trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It's very young, creative types, upper middle-class young professionals; big entertainment neighborhood - restaurants, bars - and extremely liberal.

INSKEEP: That was Moore's world until, he says, it turned against him. Chadwick Moore's trouble started with an article he wrote. It was a profile of a gay provocateur. Milo Yiannopolous works for Breitbart, the far-right website and was banned from Twitter for inspiring racist attacks on people he dislikes. Yiannopolous supports President Trump and even calls him daddy. Chadwick Moore's profile in Out Magazine included criticism of Yiannopolous but also heard him out and included colorful photos of Yiannopolous in a shiny clown costume. The journalist says the ferocious reaction to that article prompted him to change his political allegiance.

What was the response after that was published?

MOORE: So there was a petition circle online signed by, like, 60 people in gay media condemning it, calling it dangerous - how dare you give this person a platform? And then, of course, personal attacks against me calling me a Nazi, white supremacist - completely insane and ridiculous.

INSKEEP: Did the reaction go beyond people on social media or other journalists criticizing you, which of course they have a right to do - was there more than that?

MOORE: They do have a right to do that. Yes. Personal relationships - friends, immediately after the story ran, people I knew in places where I hang out would turn around and walk away from me, not talk to me.

As I started seeing this sort of behavior amongst my peers, I began to then challenge them more and say - how can you not at least listen to this person's argument? And by the way, if you really are intent on destroying people like Milo Yiannopolous, then isn't it beneficial to learn about him, to know his - what he's about and his weaknesses and to beat him by being smarter and have better arguments?

But nobody's interested in that. They just name-call.

INSKEEP: What did you do as a result of that?

MOORE: I've just lost so much respect for the left, especially the extreme left. I think they've gotten everything so terribly wrong. They've driven away moderates, like myself. But to come out as a moderate on the left is seen as aggressive. It's practically seen as a hate crime.

INSKEEP: Forgive me. You said that you feel like you're a moderate. But what you actually wrote in The New York Post is I'm a conservative now. What are you?

MOORE: To come out as a moderate is to be more aligned with conservative. I said in the story, which was (unintelligible) an as-told-to piece. So I was interviewed by Michael Kaplan at the New York Post, and he wrote a story in my words. So that was in the headline, conservative. What I say in that is that I'm more aligned with the right than with the left, and I sympathize with the right more. To come out with moderate views today, being in the left as I was, is to be more aligned with the right and conservative. If you value things like free speech, if you value free thought, if you value individualism over collectivism, then you're on the right now.

INSKEEP: So help me out here because you felt that you were among this cloistered group of people who were in a bubble, that it was a liberal bubble, that you realized you were part of a mindless and intolerant tribe. And now you've gone over to this other tribe, which is very widely described as mindless and intolerant. Did you jump from one mindless tribe to another?

MOORE: The way I see it is I'm part of a brand new conservative. We were born in the Democratic Party. Somebody set our house on fire. We went running out. And the right has been so welcoming to people like me, and there's so many of us. And what you're describing is, you know - the way I see it is that many in the media, they seek out the craziest on the right, the very overtly racist, overtly anti-immigrant people who are a very, very tiny percentage, just like I believe on the left the worst elements are a tiny percentage. But...

INSKEEP: You mean seeking out people who would say things like Mexicans are rapists? The media are seeking out people like that?

MOORE: Well, not - no, I mean Donald Trump did say that. And that was truly offensive and awful. I mean, Donald Trump says a million things. But no, if you - look at the coverage of when, you know, especially during the election - going to the rally, they would find probably the most unfortunate and ignorant looking person in the room and then start asking them about policies, just so that they could mock them.

INSKEEP: There's one other thing I want to get to before I let you go. And that is your actual positions. Do you, for example, agree with Vice President Mike Pence on gay rights?

MOORE: You know, I don't support Pence's views because I don't think that religion has any place in government. But I support religious freedom. You know, for example, I support an evangelical Christian florist who doesn't want to do the flowers for a gay wedding. You can go to another florist to do your flowers. Don't unleash the ACLU on granny and her bucket of dyed carnations.

INSKEEP: Are you confident that this administration will govern competently and follow the Constitution?

MOORE: I'm not. But I'm confident that our system will prevail - that our checks and balances, that our judiciary will ensure that the Constitution is obeyed.

INSKEEP: Let's go back to the article that started this all.

MOORE: OK.

INSKEEP: Looking back on it now, would you have done anything differently? The profile of Milo Yiannopolous.

MOORE: I wouldn't have done - no, I wouldn't have done anything differently.

INSKEEP: Chadwick Moore, thanks very much.

MOORE: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: He's a journalist who profiled an editor with Breitbart. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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