‘Literally platforming a terrorist’: The New Yorker takes heat for hosting climate activist arguing for ‘blowing up pipelines’

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The New Yorker is accused of promoting violence after its podcast featured a climate change activist who called destruction of property the most effective protest tool, praising the violence that marred the George Floyd protests.

Online commentators are up in arms over the recent edition of The New Yorker’s podcast discussing whether the climate movement should “embrace sabotage,” which saw one of the featured guests, ecology professor at Lund University in Sweden Andreas Malm, arguing that pipelines can be attacked for the sake of saving the environment.

Malm, who released a book titled, ‘How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire’ earlier this year, appeared to endorse the ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline in May, causing gasoline shortages in the US, and appeared to call for attacks against Total and China’s CNOOC $3.5 billion crude pipeline in Uganda and Tanzania.

“If people in that region were to attack the construction equipment or blow up the pipeline before it’s completed, I would be all in favor of that. I don’t see how that property damage could be considered morally illegitimate given what we know of the consequences of such projects,” he said.

Malm boasted about his own role in a property destruction campaign for the sake of a noble cause, saying that his group slashed the tires of thousands of SUVs in 2007 in Sweden, arguing that the acts of vandalism led to a drop in demand for the vehicles.  

Speaking about peaceful climate protests, including the school strike movement led by Greta Thunberg, Malm said he does not mind these tactics, but is frustrated about activists’ “dogmatic commitment to non-violence.”  

The most effective way to initiate change is to engage in violence but without hurting people, he argued, mentioning the George Floyd protests, which at times spiraled into violence, looting, and fierce clashes with police. Malm said the anti-police movement would not have achieved as much if not for the “tremendous property destructions” that activists inflicted on public and private property.

“I don’t think that one can seriously argue that the BLM movement in 2020 would have achieved more if there had been no confrontation, no windows smashed, no police stations or cars burned, that’s a fantasy scenario in my view,” Malm said, calling the storming and torching of a Minneapolis police station a “catalyst for the movement.”

Malm’s pro-violence message irked many online observers, who blasted the magazine for amplifying the professor’s views.

Pluribus Editor Jeryl Bier accused The New Yorker of “literally platforming a terrorist.” Conservative pundit Jack Posobiec wrote: “The @NewYorker is now encouraging and training radical leftists how to blow up pipelines.” 

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One commenter went as far as to alert the FBI. “Perhaps you’ve got some ‘informants’ who might be able to infiltrate The @NewYorker or you might even consider some proactive steps,” he wrote.