UPDATE: The publisher Simon & Schuster has canceled a controversial book deal with Milo Yiannopoulos. The publishing house released a statement saying, “After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have canceled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos.”
Finally, after the election of a misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, sexually-assaulting narcissist, Republicans have finally drawn a red line.
A video clip of Milo Yiannopoulos seeming to advocate for relationships between “young boys” and “older men” has led to his removal from a speaking engagement at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“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 at the Conservative Political Action Conference,” Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the ACU, released in a statement on Twitter.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) February 20, 2017
The far-right provocateur regularly courts controversy. However, the five minute video clip, in which an online panel argues about gay relationships and the age of consent, seems to have struck a nerve.
“In the homosexual world particularly,” Milo says, “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 adds.
In response, prominent conservatives called for the American Conservative Union, the organization in charge of CPac, to pull Yiannopoulos from the lineup.
— Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) February 20, 2017
Matt Mackowiak, a conservative political consultant and columnist, posed the issue in black-and-white terms. “Over to you, @mschlapp,” he said, referring to ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp. “This is not a hard call.”
Matt Schlapp initially defended his choice to invite the Breitbart News editor on First Amendment grounds. “1st amendment is dead on campus. Conservatives should fight back. As radioactive as milo is he is fighting back,” the ACU chairman tweeted.
Jonah 1st amendment is dead on campus. Conservatives should fight back. As radioactive as milo is he is fighting back. https://t.co/grkdlGNBt3
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) February 20, 2017
As it turns out, however, the board of the ACU was never consulted about choosing Yiannopoulos.
Conservative blogger Erick Erickson also came out against Yiannopoulos, stating, “Yiannopoulos has expressly said he is not a conservative.”
In a Facebook post responding to the controversy, Yiannopoulos issued a rare clarification.
“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,” he wrote in the posting.
“I shouldn’t have used the word “boy” when I talked about those relationships between older men and younger gay men,” he continues. “That was a mistake. Gay men often use the word “boy” when they refer to consenting adults.”
In the video, taken from a recording of a podcast called “Drunken Peasants,” Yiannopoulos denies advocating peodophilia, saying, “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.” Thirteen-years-old falls well below the British age of consent of 16.
This latest firestorm involving Yiannopoulos comes on the heels of a controversial appearance on the talk show Real Talk with Bill Maher, in which the conservative-agitator made a series of transphobic comments. Many critics saw Maher as too lenient on his guest.
On a recent tour of a forthcoming book, Dangerous, Yiannopoulos’s visit to the University of California, Berkeley sparked violent protests. Incidents like this, in addition to a backlash against the book’s publisher, Simon and Schuster, have led conservatives to accuse liberals of limiting free speech.
“We initially extended the invitation knowing that the free speech issue on college campuses is a battlefield where we need brave, conservative standard-bearers,” Matt Schlapp writes.
“[H]owever,” the statement continues, “there is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children.”