Milo Yiannopoulos disinvited from CPAC
Far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos will not be allowed to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The decision comes while Yiannopoulos is roiled in controversy over a video in which he appears to defend pedophilia. The video clip was posted on YouTube in January 2016 but gained new traction on social media after a conservative blog shared it Sunday.
American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp said in a statement announcing the decision that Yiannopoulos’s efforts to address the video clip have fallen short, calling the remarks “disturbing.”
“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” Schlapp said in a statement. “It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) February 20, 2017
In the video, Yiannopoulos says relationships between older men and young boys can be beneficial. He also flippantly discusses his own sexual assault.
Yiannopoulos took to Facebook Monday to denounce claims that he was advocating pedophilia and said he was “horrified” by it. He also argued that the video that emerged was “deceptively edited.”
The post signaled a softer moment for Yiannopoulos, who has carved out a reputation for himself as a controversial and unapologetically offensive writer and speaker. He conceded that his comments were inappropriate and said he was “certainly guilty of imprecise language.”
“I’m partly to blame,” he wrote. “My own experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to on this subject, no matter how outrageous.”
“But I understand that my usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humor might have come across as flippancy, a lack of care for other victims or, worse, ‘advocacy.’ I deeply regret that.”
Still, the comments drew a swift wave of criticism from liberals and conservatives alike, who rushed Monday to condemn Yiannopoulos and urge the ACU to cancel his CPAC presentation.
Yiannopoulos made headlines earlier this month after protests opposing his scheduled speech at the University of California, Berkeley turned violent. Some on the right seized on the protests, saying it signaled a willingness by progressives and liberals to stifle free speech.
That upheaval prompted the ACU to invite Yiannopoulos to the high-profile conservative conference, Schlapp said.
“We initially extended the invitation knowing that the free speech issue on college campuses is a battlefield where we need brave, conservative standard-bearers,” he said.