Goodbye book deal, speaking gig and maybe entire career
Eventually karma catches up to you. Professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos seemed unstoppable just a few days ago. His book was already a bestseller before it even was published, students at Berkeley and other campuses were literally rioting before his scheduled appearances and even Bill Maher warmed to him a bit, bonding over free speech and what they consider the excessive political correctness of the progressive left.
But it turns out most people aren’t what you’d call big fans of pedophilia.
A day after his blistering appearance on “Real Time With Bill Maher,” it was announced that Milo would be the keynote speaker at CPAC – an annual conference hosted in Washington, DC that primarily caters to young conservative professionals and political activists.
It’s the kind of place where Mitt Romney gets booed for not being conservative enough and where future stars of the right wing are born. But it also has a strong libertarian bent, with big turnout for people like Sen. Rand Paul.
So, many attendees were naturally upset when it was announced that Milo would headline their event. The list of dubious and offensive things he has said is too long to list. But when you get banned by Twitter and even the Atl Right movement rejects you, that’s really saying something. And it took less than 24 hours before one conservative group released a video interview in which he appears to endorse underage sexual relationships between gay “boys” and “older” adult men.
The blowback was immediate. First CPAC cancelled his appearance.
And finally, publisher Simon & Schuster gave in to insurmountable pressure by announcing they are cancelling the planned publication of his book, though he’ll likely keep the $250,000 advance.
For his part, Milo posted a lengthy defense on his Facebook page, claiming he was never endorsing pedophilia, that he himself is a victim of child rape and that the term “boys” was often interchangeably used in the gay community to simply refer to younger men 18 and up but still younger than most “men” aged 30 and up:
I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by pedophilia and I have devoted large portions of my career as a journalist to exposing child abusers. I've outed three of them, in fact -- three more than most of my critics. And I've repeatedly expressed disgust at pedophilia in my feature and opinion writing. My professional record is very clear.
But I do understand that these videos, even though some of them are edited deceptively, paint a different picture.
I'm partly to blame. 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. People deal with things from their past in different ways.
So far, the world doesn’t seem to be buying it. Or, maybe they’re just done with his act for now. The story is still evolving but it appears the collapse of this once rising and incredibly controversial figure may have collapsed more quickly than anyone could have predicted.