Feb. 20 (UPI) — Conservative British writer and editor Milo Yiannopoulos faces mounting troubles over remarks he made in the past, which critics say express a flippant attitude about child sexual abuse.
Yiannopoulos, a senior editor at news outlet Breitbart, has been heavily criticized in recent days after multiple videos were posted online highlighting comments he made on the subject — including a contention that the term “pedophilia” is wrongly used to include consensual sex between an adult and a teenage child.
“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,” he said in one video.
Well-known for his provocative opinions, Yiannopoulos has called the notion of sexual consent “arbitrary and oppressive.”
The videos featuring Yiannopoulos were not recorded recently, but they began making waves online within the last few days. The remarks have been met with widespread criticism.
On Monday, publisher Simon & Schuster said it was scrapping his upcoming book, Dangerous, as a result of the comments. Also, organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference rescinded an invitation for Yiannopoulos to speak at the event this week.
“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,” American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp said Monday.
Additionally, there have been calls for Breitbart to cut ties with Yiannopoulos. Reports said the news agency on Monday began mulling his future with the company. Some Breitbart employees have reportedly threatened to leave if Yiannopoulos is retained.
Yiannopoulos addressed the issue with a lengthy post on Facebook Sunday night — titled, “A note for idiots” — in which he claimed the outcry is an attempt to taint him with establishment Republicans.
“I do not support pedophilia. Period,” he wrote. “It is a vile and disgusting crime, perhaps the very worst. There are selectively edited videos doing the rounds … that suggest I am soft on the subject.
“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.”
“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” Schlapp answered. “It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”
“I’m partly to blame,” Yiannopoulos added to his Facebook post Monday. “My own experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to on this subject, no matter how outrageous.”