Milo Yiannopoulos has been disinvited from giving a talk at a high-profile conservative gathering, had his book deal cancelled, and could now be fired from his job as an editor at Breitbart News, after comments seeming to suggest he condones pedophilia surfaced online.
In one video where he calls consent an “arbitrary and oppressive idea,” Yiannopoulos appears to make light of child abuse, saying, “We get hung up on this child abuse stuff, to the point where we’re heavily policing even relationships between consenting adults.” He went on to say that relationships “between younger boys and older men … can be hugely positive experiences.”
The self-styled “most fabulous supervillain on the internet” has strongly denied the allegations, claiming that the videos were edited to misrepresent his comments. “I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors,” Yiannopoulos said in a Facebook post. “I am horrified by pedophilia.”
Besides “sloppy editing,” he also blamed the “usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation, and gallows humour” for creating the current outrage.
His response was deemed “insufficient” by the American Conservative Union (ACU), the group that organizes the influential Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which takes place in Maryland this weekend and will also host U.S. President Trump.
Its chairman, Matt Schlapp, announced that an invite for Yiannopoulos to speak had been rescinded, adding: “We urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”
Following the ACU’s decision, Yiannopoulos’ publishers announced they, too, were taking action as a result of the comments he had made. “After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of ‘Dangerous’ by Milo Yiannopoulos,” the publisher said in a statement.
Author Roxanne Gay, who pulled her book from Simon & Schuster in protest when the publishers announced the Yiannopoulos book deal, responded to the latest decision, saying:
“When his comments about pedophilia/pederasty came to light, Simon & Schuster realized it would cost them more money to do business with Milo than he could earn for them. They did not finally “do the right thing” and now we know where their threshold, pun intended, lies.”
A Fox Business report suggests the fallout from these comments may not yet be finished, with a source inside Breitbart News, where Yiannopoulos is nominally technology editor, saying that senior executives are weighing how “damaging his comments are to the Breitbart brand.”
Insisting he’d been through worse, Yiannopoulos announced on Facebook he would hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon in New York to address the controversy.