Milo Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart on Tuesday afternoon in the ongoing fallout from the surfacing of comments he had made in defense of pedophilia, or, in Yiannopoulos’ words, sexual attraction to “somebody who is 13 years old who is sexually mature.”
“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,” Yiannopoulos, the site’s “tech editor,” said in a statement. “The decision is mine alone.” The news follows reports on Monday that some Breitbart staffers had threatened to leave the publication if Yiannopoulos was allowed to stay on. “The fact of the matter is that there’s been so many things that have been objectionable about Milo over the last couple of years, quite frankly. This is something far more sinister,” a senior editor told Washingtonian. “If the company isn’t willing to act, there are at least half a dozen people who are willing to walk out over it.”
Yiannopoulos, who was scheduled to give the keynote address at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, had his speaking slot pulled and an upcoming book with Simon & Schuster cancelled after clips of his comments on underage sex were posted to Twitter by the blog the Reagan Battalion. In the clips, Yiannopoulos says he believes children as young as 13 may be capable of sexual consent and even the sexual predation of adults more twice their age.
“We’re talking 13–25, 13–28. These things do happen perfectly consensually,” he said in one. “Normally what happens in schools, very often, is it’s an older woman and a younger boy. And the boy is the predator in that situation.” He also joked that abuse at the hands of a priest while he was 14 had improved his ability to have oral sex.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Yiannopoulos reiterated points made in an apology posted to Facebook over the weekend, in which he said that he does not approve of sexual relationships with 13-year-olds. “I’ve reviewed the tapes that appeared last night in their proper full context and I don’t believe they say what is being reported,” he said. “Nonetheless I do say some things on the tapes that I do not mean and which do not reflect my views.” Milo was not asked by reporters whether he still believes 13-year-olds are capable of sexual consent.
“It’s obvious,” he said while taking questions from reporters, “that this was a highly coordinated and very well-funded and well-planned attack on me, but I have to take responsibility for what I said.”