Milo Yiannopoulos, the ultra-conservative writer, would no longer be speaking at the U.S. conservative conference and his book deal has also been canceled after videos surfaced in which he can be seen condoning pedophilia.
The video showed him discussing merits of gay relationships between adults and boys as young as 13.
Mr. Yiannopoulos, however, denied ever endorsing pedophilia on Facebook. He said one of the videos had been edited to give a misleading meaning.
The American Conservation Union was not convinced by the clarifying statements and said that apology was not enough. The union runs Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where President Trump is due to speak this Friday.
“We urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments, said the chairman of the ACU, Matt Schlapp.
Book publisher Simon and Schuster stated that it had canceled the publication of Mr. Yiannopoulos’s book that was due to release in June, after careful deliberation.
Mr. Yiannopoulos has been an ardent supporter of President Trump and works as an editor for right-wing website Breitbart. In the footage that surfaced, he seemed to suggest that the determining factor for pedophilia is whether the younger partner has reached puberty. At another point in the video, he said that the U.S. age of consent, which is 16 to 18 depending on the location, is “about right.”
In his clarifying statement on Facebook, Mr. Yiannopoulos said:
“I find those crimes to be absolutely disgusting. I find those people to be disgusting.”
He also added that he regretted using the word “boys” instead of young men when discussing gay relationships with a wider age gap.
Mr. Yiannopoulos, who is openly gay, blamed “sloppy editing” and his usual blend of “British sarcasm, provocation, gallows humor” for giving the wrong impression.
He also claimed that he himself was a victim of child abuse.
Mr. Yiannopoulos is often associated with the alt-right, a group that is disparate nationalistic, known for their outspoken remarks against so-called political correctness and feminism. The group includes neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white supremacists, although some of them decline to be labeled as such.
Mr. Yiannopoulos, for his part, said that he doesn’t consider himself to be part of the alt-right, although he has called the growing movement “energizing and exciting.”
He takes delight in courting controversy, and titles of some of his written columns include “”Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?” and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”
Violent protests had broken out earlier this month at the University of California at Berkeley where Mr. Yiannopoulos was due to speak; the university canceled the speaking engagement in light of the protests.
Mr. Yiannopoulos refers to President Trump as “daddy.” After the protests broke out, Mr. Trump threatened to cut the federal funding of the University.
Mr. Yiannopoulos was also banned from Twitter last year after he led a campaign to abuse black Ghostbusters actress, Leslie Jones.