Conservative group cancels Yiannopoulos speech after video surfaces
LOS ANGELES — Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has been disinvited to this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference after his attempt to clarify past comments on relationships between boys and older men fell flat with organizers.
The American Conservative Union founded and hosts CPAC, which is being held Wednesday through Saturday outside Washington. In a tweet on Monday, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp said that “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.”
After the polarizing Breitbart News editor was invited, his invitation sparked a backlash. The conservative Reagan Battalion blog tweeted video clips Sunday in which Yiannopoulos discussed Jews, sexual consent, statutory rape, child abuse and homosexuality.
On Facebook, Yiannopoulos blamed deceptive editing and his own “sloppy phrasing” for any indication he supported pedophilia. The British author said he spoke of his own relationship when he was 17 with a man who was 29. The age of consent in the U.K. is 16.
It’s unclear who edited the videos.
“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” Schlapp said. “We urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”
Schlapp said the invitation was initially extended knowing that free speech on college campuses is a “battlefield where we need brave, conservative standard-bearers.”
But he added: “There is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children.”
Yiannopoulos writes for Breitbart News, considered by many a platform for the so-called “alt-right” movement, an offshoot of conservatism that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism.
Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.