Jordan Peterson denies 'betraying allies' on Australian TV after Milo Yiannopoulos question

  • 26/02/2019
Jordan Peterson and Milo Yiannopoulos on ABC Australia's Q&A
Jordan Peterson and Milo Yiannopoulos on ABC Australia's Q&A Photo credit: ABC Australia

Dr Jordan Peterson defended himself on Australian TV this week after being hit by an unexpected question from far-right internet provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

The 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos author was a panellist on ABC's Q&A on Monday night (local time), following his recent tour of New Zealand.

Yiannopoulos featured in a pre-recorded video, in which he attacked Dr Peterson for "betraying his allies" - specifically citing the Canadian clinical psychologist's perceived silence on the controversies surrounding US judge Brett Kavanaugh and footage of Catholic school students facing off with a Native American protester.

"I don't believe that I'm obliged to comment on absolutely everything that happens everywhere in the world," replied Dr Peterson.

"I don't think that I am betraying my fundamental base... I'm also, by the way, not trying to talk to young men. I'm trying to talk to people.

"There's been this idea generated in the news by news people who keep reading the news that other news people create that somehow I have a coterie of angry, young, white men surrounding me because they're angry about feminism and about all these other 'isms', let's say.

"I don't see it like that at all."

Yiannopoulos shot to fame as an online provocateur propagating content and opinions considered by many to be misogynistic, racist and transphobic.

He lost a book deal and his job at controversial website Breitbart in 2017 over comments he made defending adult men having sex with underage boys.

"You talk a good game about standing up for men and for boys and you've certainly amassed a big army of them, but a few of us have been wondering," Yiannopoulos told Dr Peterson on Q&A.

"Can you explain why, although you talk a good game about standing up against social justice warriors and the 'chaotic feminine', when it comes down to it, you always seem to either fold, stay silent or betray your allies?"

Dr Peterson suggested in his response that Yiannopoulos had the wrong idea about him - just as he and his fans believe much of the news media has.

"I'm trying to suggest to people that their best bet in life - and this is men and women alike - is to adopt as much responsibility as they can for their own lives," said Dr Peterson.

"Because that is where the meaning in life is to be found. The notion that that's somehow a message that's limited to young men is an absurd message."

Dr Peterson did offer an apology to Yiannopoulos over another "betrayal" raised in the video question - comments made in a previous interview in which Yiannopoulos was labelled racist.

"Milo, I'd probably just as soon apologise to you for that. I don't think I did defend you very well at that particular time," Dr Peterson said.

"I don't believe that you are a racist."

ABC has been criticised online for giving Yiannopoulos airtime.