Milo Yiannopoulos, a leader of the alt-right movement, had his invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference revoked and lost a book deal after his controversial comments about pedophilia surfaced on Feb. 19 (video below).
Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which puts on CPAC, called Yiannopoulos’ comments "disturbing" and his subsequent explanation for the comments insufficient, notes The New York Times.
Simon & Schuster pulled the plug on Yiannopoulos' book "Dangerous," after initially standing behind the British provocateur despite his attacks on African-American actress Leslie Jones, women, Muslims, immigrants, and transgender people.
Elaine Plott of The Washingtonian tweeted that some at Breitbart News, where Yiannopoulos is a senior editor, are prepared to quit: "scoop: Breitbart senior editor tells me at least half a dozen employees ready to walk out if Milo is not fired."
A Twitter user posted quotes of Yiannopoulos from Feb. 19, which included Yiannopoulos comments about boys discovering themselves through sexual relationships with male adults during a podcast of "The Drunken Peasants" in 2016, notes the New York Daily News:
People are messy and complex. And actually in the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships where in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are, and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable rock where they can't speak to their parents.
When one of the hosts suggested that sounded like "Catholic priest molestation," Yiannopoulos replied: "And you know what? I'm grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn't give nearly such good head if it wasn't for him."
Another host summarized that Yiannopoulos was saying that children who are molested by priests are getting love, but Yiannopoulos insisted that pedophilia is only about adult sexual attraction to youngsters who have not reached puberty:
No, no, no. You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty.
Pedophilia is attraction to people who don't have functioning sex organs yet, who have not gone through puberty, who are too young to be able to understand their body. That is not what we are talking about.
Earlier in the same broadcast, Yiannopoulos said that when female school teachers have sex with their 13-year-old students, it's the students who are the predators. In a different clip, Yiannopoulos made anti-Semitic remarks about Jewish people running most of the banks and dominating the media.
Yiannopoulos issued a statement on Feb. 20 on his Facebook page:
I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim.
I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by pedophilia and I have devoted large portions of my career as a journalist to exposing child abusers. I've outed three of them, in fact -- three more than most of my critics. And I've repeatedly expressed disgust at pedophilia in my feature and opinion writing. My professional record is very clear.
But I do understand that these videos, even though some of them are edited deceptively, paint a different picture.
I'm partly to blame. My own experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to on this subject, no matter how outrageous. But I understand that my usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humor might have come across as flippancy, a lack of care for other victims or, worse, "advocacy." I deeply regret that. People deal with things from their past in different ways.
As to some of the specific claims being made, sometimes things tumble out of your mouth on these long, late-night live-streams, when everyone is spit-balling, that are incompletely expressed or not what you intended. Nonetheless, I've reviewed the tapes that appeared last night in their proper full context and I don't believe they say what is being reported.
I do not advocate for illegal behavior. I explicitly say on the tapes that I think the current age of consent is "about right."
I do not believe sex with 13-year-olds is okay. When I mentioned the number 13, I was talking about the age I lost my own virginity.
I shouldn't have used the word "boy" -- which gay men often do to describe young men of consenting age -- instead of "young man." That was an error.
I am certainly guilty of imprecise language, which I regret.
Anyone who suggests I turn a blind eye to illegal activity or to the abuse of minors is unequivocally wrong. I am implacably opposed to the normalization of pedophilia and I will continue to report and speak accordingly.