NEW YORK – Polarizing right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos resigned as an editor at Breitbart News on Tuesday and apologized for comments he had made about sexual relationships between boys and men.
Yiannopoulos, speaking to reporters, said that two men, including a priest, had touched him inappropriately when he was between the ages of 13 and 16.
“My experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to on this subject, no matter how outrageous,” he said. “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 am horrified by that impression.”
He said he was resigning from Breitbart, which helped make him a star, because it would be “wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important reporting.”
The apology followed days of criticism from fellow conservatives after the release of video clips in which Yiannopoulos appeared to defend sexual relationships between men and boys as young as 13.
In one of them, Yiannopoulos, who is gay, said relationships between boys and men could “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.”
On Monday, he was disinvited from the Conservative Political Action Conference after video of his remarks was promoted through social media.
Publisher Simon & Schuster announced it would cancel the publication of his upcoming book, “Dangerous.”
Yiannopoulos said the book had already received interest from other publishers and would still come out this year. He pledged to donate 10 percent of the proceeds to child sex abuse charities.
Yiannopoulos, who was born in Greece and raised in Britain, has long been known for provocative comments about women and Muslims and made his support for Republican Donald Trump clear in the last presidential election cycle. He was the technology editor at Breitbart News, whose former executive chairman, Steve Bannon, is now a senior adviser to Trump, who became president last month.
Before this controversy, Yiannopoulos was perhaps best known for getting banned from Twitter for helping to lead an online harassment campaign against comedian and “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones.
Early in February, he was scheduled to give a talk at the University of California, Berkeley, but the speech was cancelled after violent protests.
Yiannopoulos has appeared, until now, to revel in those controversies and has portrayed himself as a champion of free speech. Tuesday’s apology, he said, was the first he’d ever made.
Still, the video clips, he insisted, had been edited to remove important context. He characterized media reporting on the tapes as unfair and inaccurate.
“Nonetheless,” he added, “I do say some things on the tapes that I do not mean and which do not reflect my views.”
He said he “would like to restate my disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors.”
PUBLISHER CANCELS MILO YIANNOPOULOS’ BOOK (AP)
Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint announced Monday that “after careful consideration” they had pulled the book, which had been high on Amazon.com’s best-seller lists and was the subject of intense controversy.
The announcement came hours after the Breitbart editor was disinvited to this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference because of past comments about relationships between boys and men. He has said remarks he made that could be construed as favoring men and boys having sex were edited wrongly.
“Dangerous” was originally scheduled to come out in March. But Yiannopoulos had pushed back the release to June so he could write about the uprisings during his recent campus tour. At the time of his publisher’s announcement, it ranked No. 83 on Amazon’s overall list and No. 1 in the subcategory of Censorship & Politics.
More than 100 Simon & Schuster authors had objected to his book deal, which was announced last December, and Roxane Gay withdrew a planned book.
CONSERVATIVE GROU PCANCELS SPEECH BY YIANNOPOULOS
Milo Yiannopoulos has been disinvited to this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference after his attempt to clarify past comments on relationships between boys and older men fell flat with organizers.
Hours later, his publisher cancelled his book “Dangerous,” which had been scheduled to come out in June.
The American Conservative Union founded and hosts CPAC, which is being held Wednesday through Saturday outside Washington. In a tweet on Monday, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp said that “due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning pedophilia, the American Conservative Union has decided to rescind the invitation of Milo Yiannopoulos to speak.”
A fire set by demonstrators protesting a scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos burns on Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
After the polarizing Breitbart News editor was invited, his invitation sparked a backlash. The conservative Reagan Battalion blog tweeted video clips Sunday in which Yiannopoulos discussed Jews, sexual consent, statutory rape, child abuse and homosexuality.
In one clip, Yiannopoulos defends sexual relationships between men and boys as young as 13 years old. He also speaks approvingly of his own sexual relationship with a 29-year-old priest when he was 17.
“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,” he said.
Later Monday, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint announced that “after careful consideration” they had pulled Yiannopoulos’ book, for which pre-orders placed it high on Amazon.com’s best-seller lists. The subject of intense controversy from the start, “Dangerous” was originally scheduled to come out in March. But Yiannopoulos pushed back the release to June so he could write about the protests during his recent campus tour, including a cancelled appearance at the University of California, Berkeley.
At the time of his publisher’s decision Monday, “Dangerous” ranked No. 83 on Amazon’s overall list and No. 1 in the subcategory of “Censorship & Politics.”
Simon & Schuster did not offer any specific reason for pulling “Dangerous.” In Facebook postings Monday night, Yiannopoulous wrote: “They canceled my book” and “I’ve gone through worse. This will not defeat me.”
Yiannopoulos is known for his vicious criticism of women and Muslims, among others. Last summer, he helped instigate a harassment campaign against “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones that led to his banishment from Twitter.
More than 100 Simon & Schuster authors had objected to his book deal, which was announced last December, and prominent feminist writer Roxane Gay withdrew a planned book. Some bookstores had said they would not sell it, although the National Coalition Against Censorship and other free speech organizations had defended the publisher. Threshold is a conservative imprint that has published books by President Donald Trump, who has defended Yiannopoulos, and former Vice President Dick Cheney, among others.
On Facebook, Yiannopoulos blamed deceptive editing and his own “sloppy phrasing” for any indication he supported pedophilia. The British author said he spoke of his own relationship when he was 17 with a man who was 29. The age of consent in the United Kingdom is 16.
It’s unclear who edited the videos.
“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” Schlapp said. “We urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”
Schlapp said the invitation was initially extended knowing that free speech on college campuses is a “battlefield where we need brave, conservative standard-bearers.”
But he added: “There is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children.”
Breitbart is considered by many a platform for the so-called “alt-right” movement, an offshoot of conservatism that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism. Its former executive chairman, Steve Bannon, is now a senior adviser to President Donald Trump.