Update at 7:15 p.m.: Shortly after the American Conservative Union canceled Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ invitation to speak at CPAC, Simon & Schuster said it would no longer publish his book, Dangerous. He had reportedly received an advance of $250,000 for the book that was set to be published by Simon & Schuster’s conservative imprint Threshold Editions. “After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos,” the publisher said in a brief statement.
Update at 3 p.m.: The American Conservative Union gave in to pressure and decided to rescind the invitation it had extended to Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Apparently all the horrific things he has said before were acceptable, but Yiannopoulos’ seeming endorsement of at least some types of pedophilia is where the ACU draws the line.
“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,” ACU head Matt Schlapp said in a statement on Twitter. “We continue to believe that CPAC is a constructive forum for controversies and disagreements among conservatives, however there is no disagreement among attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children.”
Yiannopoulos will of course get lots of free publicity out of this and has told the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza he still plans to go to Washington.
Original post: It was an eventful few days for Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart editor who likes to describe himself as a provocateur. First, he sparked a disturbing bromance with Bill Maher on HBO, then he was invited to speak at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, and to round up the weekend, videos were released in which the self-described “virtuous troll” defends pedophilia and jokes about sexual abuse by members of the clergy.
Although the videos weren’t new, they were repackaged and published on Twitter by a conservative account clearly critical of the CPAC invite. The videos show how Yiannopoulos played down the importance of child abuse—“You can get quite hung up on this child-abuse thing.” He then goes on to say that sexual relations between “younger boys” and older men could be part of a “coming-of-age relationship” in which “those older men help those young boys discover who they are.” When an unnamed person suggests that Yiannopoulos was advocating for something that “sounds like Catholic priest molestation to me,” the Breitbart editor suggested that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. “But you know what? I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.” He later seems to suggest that sexual relations with a 13-year-old isn’t necessarily pedophilia:
You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. 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. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet who have not gone through puberty.
In an earlier interview with comedian Joe Rogan, Yiannopoulos also seemed to try to normalize pedophilia, denying that “Father Michael” was a “terrible person,” adding: “It wasn’t molestation.” He later asked Rogan: “So you’re saying you’ve never seen a 15-year-old girl, at any point in your life, that you thought was hot?”
Yiannopoulos took to Facebook to defend himself, denying he ever defended pedophilia and suggesting this was all a Republican-led campaign to discredit him:
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.
CNN’s Jake Tapper got involved on the debate, writing a series of tweets wondering how CPAC could possibly defend Yiannopoulos.
Still, many have expressed disappointment with that decision and have called on the ACU to rescind its invite, particularly after the new videos surfaced. The ACU board, which includes the likes of Kellyanne Conway and Grover Norquist, was allegedly never consulted on the decision.
ACU head Matt Schlapp, however, has defended the invite. “We realize that this invitation will be accompanied by controversy which we think the conservative movement and our CPAC attendees can handle,” Schlapp told the Washington Post in an email. Schlapp confirmed on Monday that President Donald Trump will also be speaking at CPAC.