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." Yiannopolous has inspired such ferocious online attacks on others that he was banned from Twitter.
Moore's article was critical, but also let Yiannopolous 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.
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 Yiannapolous, 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.