On Saturday, Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to the Conservative Political Action Conference as a keynote speaker. By Monday he was disinvited.
The Daily Intelligencer reports that Yiannopoulos was lauded by ACU/CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp for his brave way with hate speech. “An epidemic of speech suppression has taken over college campuses,” said Schlapp, “Milo has exposed their liberal thuggery and we think free speech includes hearing Milo’s important perspective.”
But there are some issues on which even Schlapp is reluctant to allow Yiannopoulos to speak freely on. Specifically, pedophilia. CPAC is hosted by the American Conservative Union. According to the Washingtonian, other board members for ACU were completely surprised by the invitation extended to Yiannopoulus, and also unhappy about it:
“We were never consulted until after the invite,” one board member, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, tells Washingtonian. “If I hadn’t been in the offices and asked questions, [I] would never have had any clue. I threw a hissy fit.”
The source went on to say that some on the board plan to issue a press release next week “distancing” themselves from Yiannopoulos’s selection.
They didn’t need to, because plenty of other conservatives were on the case. A conservative blog called The Reagan Battalion tweeted out a video on Sunday of Yiannopoulos talking about, well, I guess how teenage boys are responsible for their own molestation. He complains about the “arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent”and calls boys who sleep with their female teachers the “predators” in the situation.
The clip is from an episode of the Drunken Peasants podcast that was uploaded to YouTube in 2016. In it, Yiannopoulos explains:
In the homosexual world particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men the sort of coming of age relationships relationships in which those older men have helped those young boys to discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable — and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents.
What an interesting analysis of sexual interactions between children and adults that sounds exactly like what a child abuser would say. Yiannopoulos has “apologized” on Facebook in a very long post for the “idiots” out there, writing in part:
In case there is any lingering doubt, here’s me, in the same interview the other footage is taken from, affirming that the current legal age of consent is about right: “And I think the law is probably about right. It’s probably roughly the right age. I think it’s probably about ok. But there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age. I certainly consider myself to be one of them, people who were sexually active younger. I think it particularly happens in the gay world, by the way.”
Yiannopoulus’s self defense hinges on the line he draws between having sex with teenagers and having sex with “pre-pubescent boys” which he describes as “vile.” In the unedited video, he also harps about this distinction, saying, “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. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet who have not gone through puberty.”
If it must be said: going through puberty is not the same thing as maturing mentally into an adult who can consent to sex with an actual adult. At any rate, that line has proved too thin for CPAC. On Monday, Schlapp announced that CPAC’s invitation to Yiannopoulos has been rescinded:
In a statement, Schlapp wrote:
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...
We continue to believe that CPAC is a constructive forum for controversies and disagreements among conservatives, however there is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children.
Conservative thuggery at work.
Adam Rothberg, senior VP in Corporate Communications at Simon & Schuster has tweeted that Milo Yiannopoulos’s book with Threshold Books has been pulled:
Which Yiannopoulos confirmed on Facebook: