Conservatives in uproar over Milo Yiannopoulos CPAC speech

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Prominent conservatives are calling on the American Conservative Union to pull the plug on Milo Yiannopoulos’ planned speech at the high-profile Conservative Political Action Conference.

The demands to oust the far-right provocateur from the annual event came after a video resurfaced in which Yiannopoulos talked about how relationships with older men can be beneficial for young homosexuals who may not have support at home. He also mentioned sexual abuse he sufffered as a teenager.

Some have seen the comments as being supportive of pedophilia. Yiannopoulos in a Facebook post on Sunday denounced pedophilia and said he is under attack from establishment conservatives.


Matt Mackowiak, a conservative political consultant and columnist, appeared to put the onus for cancelling Yiannopoulos’ speech on ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp, tweeting that the decision to do so “is not a hard call.”

ACU board member Ned Ryun tweeted on Sunday that the board was never consulted about the decision to bring Yiannopoulos to the event.

Another board member confirmed to Washingtonian magazine that they were not consulted on the invite.

We were never consulted until after the invite,” the board member said. “If I hadn’t been in the offices and asked questions, [I] would never have had any clue. I threw a hissy fit.”

Conservative blogger Erick Erickson on Monday slammed the ACU’s decision to include Yiannopoulos among their speakers, casting the move as more of a publicity stunt than a contribution to conservative dialogue.

“Yiannopoulos has expressly said he is not a conservative,” Erickson wrote on his blog “The Resurgent.” “His entire schtick is about political correctness. He has championed the alt-right, despite claiming not to be a part of the alt-right.

“He has made more than his fair share of media attention getting incendiary comments, including about a Catholic priest and sexual relations between younger and older men, though he claims some tapes circulating were edited,” he added. “The unedited bits appear problematic at best.”

Yiannopoulos’ comments came under intense scrutiny on Sunday and into Monday, after a conservative blog tweeted out a clip from an interview posted on YouTube in January 2016.

“We get hung up on this sort of child abuse stuff to the point where we are heavily policing consensual adults,” Yiannopoulos says in the clip.

“In the homosexual world, particularly, 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.

He also flippantly recalls his own sexual abuse, apparently with a priest, saying, “I’m grateful for Father Michael; I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”

Yiannopoulos pushed back against claims that he was speaking fondly of pedophilia, writing on Facebook that it is a “vile and disgusting crime.” The videos, he wrote, were inappropriately edited. He also pointed to three articles he authored exposing pedofiles.

“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.

Yiannopoulos has made a career out of provocation and controversy, and his speaking tours often draw waves of protest. Earlier this month, demonstrations opposing his planned speech at the University of California-Berkeley turned violent, prompting some on the right, including President Trump, to accuse liberals of suppressing free speech.

That’s one of the reasons why the ACU, the group that organizes CPAC, extended a speaking invitation to him, Schlapp told the Hollywood Reporter on Saturday.

But Yiannopoulos’ comments about sexual relationships between older men and young boys crossed the line for many conservatives, including some members of the ACU’s board of directors who were not pleased with Yiannopoulos’ presence at the conference in the first place.

Tags ACU CPAC Milo Yiannopoulos
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