On Sunday night, political Twitter volleyed into disarray after newly surfaced audio revealed right-wing “provocateur” Milo Yiannopoulos endorsing pedophilia and praising priests who molest underage boys. He regularly espouses a number of controversial viewpoints, including white supremacy and sexism, but this time, Yiannopoulos went too far for organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Yiannopoulos — who was booked as a keynote speaker — has now been disinvited from the event.
CPAC’s booking of the Breitbart editor arrived with a certain amount of uproar, for even right-leaning news sites recognize that he doesn’t adhere to a conservative viewpoint. Prior to last night’s audio release, CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp stressed that free speech was a big reason for inviting Yiannopoulos to speak. Now, Schlapp is rescinding the invite while condemning the remarks:
“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. We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient. It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”
Schlapp slammed Yiannopoulos’ response on the issue as “insufficient,” and it’s easy to see why. After the audio dropped, Yiannopoulos penned a “note to idiots,” in which he claimed he was only joking when he said, “But you know what? I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.” Yiannopoulos then blamed “sloppy phrasing” on his behalf and “deceptive editing” (on someone else’s behalf). He also trashed his critics for even daring to think that he’d advocate for pedophilia, but his words — taken at face value — tell another story.
Speaking to USA Today, Yiannopoulos responded to the CPAC cancellation. He admits that he used “imprecise language” and states that he’s “horrified by child abuse.” He continued:
“Because this is something that happened to me, in my life, I think I always felt like I could talk however I wanted about it … And I appreciate that my usual sort of British sarcasm and provocation and humor and all the rest of it probably came across as very flippant in some of the conversations that are floating around. That was unintended and I regret the imprecise language.”