Milo Yiannopoulos is a conundrum. Openly gay, the 33-year-old has made a name for himself as an editor of the social conservative staple Breitbart News as well as an envelope-pushing advocate for and defender of the controversial “alt-right” movement. Yiannopoulos is known for testing the boundaries of “free speech,” and his public statements and causes are nothing if not provocative.
Despite being lauded by the right (particularly the far-and-alt-right), Milo Yiannopoulos is widely panned and even downright hated by many on the left. His failed Berkeley speech at the beginning of the month incited riots at the notoriously liberal school, and Milo never even managed to get behind the podium to speak, let alone say a single word, before security whisked him off campus for his own safety.
The Milo Yiannopoulos/Berkeley debacle was so extreme and garnered so much attention that POTUS Trump even addressed the situation on Twitter, decrying federal aid for the university because it silenced Yiannopoulos’ free speech.
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Fast forward just a few weeks, and it seemed like Milo Yiannopoulos was really getting ready to break through into the mainstream. He had a lucrative book deal with Simon & Schuster, had secured an upcoming gig speaking before a high-profile meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) and even spent last weekend as a featured guest on Bill Maher’s HBO talk show. All in all, it appeared as though Milo Yiannopoulos was a conservative, even alt-right, star on the rise.
However, Fox News reports, in the midst of all of this new-found attention, an interview given by Milo Yiannopoulos in January has resurfaced. And some of the comments Milo made during that Drunken Peasants Podcast have come back to haunt him. In a very big way.
As the New York Times reports, the controversial comments made by Milo Yiannopoulos in that early 2017 interview had to do with sex, pedophilia, and the age of consent. Yiannopoulos even touched on the heartbreaking and devastating Catholic Church priest molestation scandal with a good deal of sarcasm and dismissal during the interview, and many fans and foes alike think that the outspoken, boundary-pushing Breitbart personality has finally gone too far.
The tape of the controversial Milo Yiannopoulos interview that may have brought down the Breitbart editor was leaked by a conservative group, The Reagan Battalion. Despite the fact that both that organization and Milo apparently consider themselves to be representatives of the conservative movement, the group has long denounced his tactics. In the tape, Milo Yiannopoulos appears to approve of older men entering into sexual relationships with young teens. Young, as in 13-years-old. In the interview, Milo, who is gay, speaks of older gay men and young boys.
During the interview, Milo can reportedly be heard condoning sexual relationships between grown men and 13-year-old adolescent boys, specifying how such activities are distinctive from pedophilia.
“No, no, no. 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.”
milo yiannoupolis is NOT a pedophile. Pedophilia technically means pre-pubescent. Stop making something out of nothing.— Pu Ping (@PuPing123) February 20, 2017
@mmpadellan This does show that by shining light and amplifying the negative information, we do have power.— Zelda (@ZeldaShagnasty) February 21, 2017
For those defending #miloyiannoupolis because it was "taken out of context" the context is just as troubling as the quote.— Zach Reynolds (@ghosthoffa) February 20, 2017
Later, Yiannopoulos amends his statements in an attempt to rewrite history, claiming he meant “age of consent” rather than “13-years-old.” He claimed that he used the age of 13 as an example because that is when he says he lost his virginity to an older partner.
“I do not advocate for illegal behavior. I explicitly say on the tapes that I think the current age of consent is ‘about right.’ I do not believe sex with 13-year-olds is okay. When I mentioned the number 13, I was talking about the age I lost my own virginity.”
Milo Yiannopoulos then went on to denounce the concept of the age of consent, calling it “arbitrary and oppressive.” In other statements, Milo appeared to contradict himself when he stated that the age of consent (usually between 16- and 18-years-old, depending upon the state) is appropriate.
During the interview, Yiannopoulos is confronted by an unidentified speaker who accuses him of defending behavior similar to that which was at the root of the Catholic Church molestation scandal. Milo is heard responding sarcastically to the critique, adding that a priest “helped him helped develop his sexual technique.”
The fallout from the leak of the Drunken Peasants Podcast was very real and almost immediate. Within hours of the controversial interview being circulated, the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) announced that they were rescinding their invitation to Milo Yiannopoulos and that he was no longer welcome to speak at this weekend’s conference.
A much larger repercussion for his controversial interview came to Milo Yiannopoulos by way of Simon and Schuster, who announced that they were canceling the publication of his controversial book, “Dangerous.” Yiannopoulos, who has been banned from Twitter for his controversial speech, took to Facebook to downplay the book’s cancellation.
An advertisement for the book is the alt-right supporter’s cover photo on Facebook, and it touts that the book would be available June 13, “wherever books are sold.” It has been reported that Yiannopoulos will be shopping around for a new publisher.
On Sunday, when the pedophile scandal was just breaking, Milo also took to Facebook to defend himself against critics, clarifying that he in no way condones pedophilia.
Milo also released a statement about his book’s cancellation via his agent.
“The people whose views, concerns and fears I am articulating do not sip white wine and munch canapés in gilded salons. And they will not be defeated by the cocktail set running New York publishing. Nor will I.”
While Milo Yiannopoulos seems to be weathering the loss of his book deal and his CPAC speaking engagement with good grace, the worst could be yet to come for the 33-year-old. That’s because it is being widely reported that the ardent Trump supporter and critic of most things feminist, immigrant, Muslim and transgender, could also be losing his cushy job at Breitbart, official title “Technology Editor,” over his controversial remarks.
At least one source close to the Breitbart decision claims that there is currently a “fierce internal debate” over Yiannopoulos’ future with the right-wing news source.
“Breitbart already has advertising issues regarding its association with the Alt-Right, and this doesn’t help the business side.”
So far, Breitbart has not directly commented about the continued employment of Yiannopoulos, but sources close to the decision have said that a decision is expected soon. Milo Yiannopoulos said on Monday that he would be giving a press conference on the controversy sometime on Tuesday.
[Featured Image by Mary Altaffer/AP Images]