There are many words used to describe Milo Yiannopoulos – golden boy, provocateur, alt-right sympathizer, white nationalist, conservative, asshole.
For years now Yiannopoulos, a senior editor at Breitbart News, has been a thorn in a side of the left intentionally provoking them at every chance he gets. Meanwhile conservatives have gleefully cheered him on. But Yiannopoulos has always been an enigma on the right – they’ve never been entirely comfortable with him. They may love his attacks on feminism and political correctness, but this is a man that also openly discusses his infatuation with “black dick.”
Despite being unconventional, his star seemed to be only getting brighter on the right. He recently signed a high-profile book deal, and his very appearance at the University of California started a riot.
And then last week he appeared on the Bill Maher and it was announced he would be a keynote speaker at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that is meeting this week in Maryland.
Nothing could go wrong. Except everything did.
Interviews quickly surfaced that showed him appearing to defend pedophilia and relationships between “young boys and older men.”
“He’s the greatest communicator of his generation, and he happens to be conservative, so it’s a natural fit for him to have a major platform at the right’s most important event of the year. And the left will hate this! So, I’m thrilled,” said Alex Marlow, Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief in a Breitbart story.
It appears the right hated it even more than the left.
Within days of the announcement and the pedophilia interviews going viral he was disinvited from CPAC, his book deal was cancelled and he resigned from Breitbart.
Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, called his statements “disturbing” in the release announcing the decision to disinvite Yiannopoulos.
In the video interviews Yiannopoulos appears to defend sexual relations between younger guys and older men, using his own experiences to argue his point.
“We get hung up on this sort of child abuse stuff to the point where we are heavily policing consensual adults,” he said in the video. “In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men — the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship — those relationships 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, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents.”
The now disinvited keynote speaker then went on to describe his sexual relationship with a Catholic priest when he was a 14-year-old and attempted to downplay the seriousness of it.
“But it wasn’t molestation,” the gay provocateur told comedian Joe Rogan in the video. “I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”
Schlapp went on Morning Joe and said, “We are OK with having controversy on the stage at CPAC. We don’t endorse everything every speaker says. But over the weekend I was made aware of these comments and it just broke through very important boundaries and we felt like the CPAC stage was not an appropriate place for this any longer.”
After the controversy erupted Yiannopoulos attempted to partially walk back his previous statements on Facebook.
"I do not support pedophilia. Period. It is a vile and disgusting crime, perhaps the very worst. There are selectively edited videos doing the rounds, as part of a co-ordinated effort to discredit me from establishment Republicans, that suggest I am soft on the subject," he wrote. "If it somehow comes across (through my own sloppy phrasing or through deceptive editing) that I meant any of the ugly things alleged, let me set the record straight: I am completely disgusted by the abuse of children."
But he also defended some of his other statements saying:
"I *did* joke about giving better head as a result of clerical sexual abuse committed against me when I was a teen. If I choose to deal in an edgy way on an internet livestream with a crime I was the victim of that's my prerogative. I did say that there are relationships between younger men and older men that can help a young gay man escape from a lack of support or understanding at home. That's perfectly true and every gay man knows it. But I was not talking about anything illegal and I was not referring to pre-pubescent boys. I shouldn't have used the word 'boy' when I talked about those relationships between older men and younger gay men. (I was talking about my own relationship when I was 17 with a man who was 29. The age of consent in the UK is 16.) That was a mistake. Gay men often use the word 'boy' when they refer to consenting adults. I understand that heterosexual people might not know that, so it was a sloppy choice of words that I regret."
Later on Yiannopoulos attempted to flip the script and garner sympathy with a new Facebook post that started with “I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim.” This is despite the fact that in the videos he’s shown celebrating his sexual relationship with his priest.
Schlapp later stood by his initial invitation in comments to the Hollywood Reporter.
“An epidemic of speech suppression has taken over college campuses,” Schlapp told the Reporter. He went on to say that the Breitbart editor has “exposed the liberal thuggery,” and that “free speech includes hearing [his] important perspective.”
Since this scandal erupted Yiannopoulos’ lucrative book deal with Simon & Schuster was cancelled.
“After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of ‘Dangerous’ by Milo Yiannopoulos,” the statement reads.
Before Yiannopoulos’ resignation from Breitbart rumors were circulating that Breitbart employees were calling for him to be immediately fired or they would quit.
On Tuesday, Alex Marlow, Breitbart Editor-in-Chief, called Yiannopoulos' comments about pedophilia “indefensible,” “troubling” and “upsetting” on the news outlet’s daily radio show, but also said “He seemed to be speaking from personal experience as a gay man; he also revealed he’s a victim of child abuse himself. He himself told me he’s never had inappropriate contact with a minor since he was an adult.”
By Tuesday afternoon Yiannopoulos had resigned from his position at Breitbart blaming his misfortunate on a “poor choice of words,” saying:
“Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved. They have allowed me to carry conservative and libertarian ideas to communities that would otherwise never have heard them. They have been a significant factor in my success. I’m grateful for that freedom and for the friendships I forged there. I would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important reporting, so today I am resigning from Breitbart, effective immediately. This decision is mine alone. When your friends have done right by you, you do right by them. For me, now, that means stepping aside so my colleagues at Breitbart can get back to the great work they do.”