Milo Yiannopoulos, the provocative alt-right Breitbart blogger who oftentimes veers into homophobic and sexist rhetoric, has lost his speaking slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and book deal with Simon and Schuster following the release of videos that show Yiannopoulos condoning pedophilia and hebephilia. The videos were unearthed by The Reagan Battalion, a conservative Twitter account that was opposed to Yiannopoulos speaking at CPAC.
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) February 20, 2017
Following the video’s release, CPAC and American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp were largely silent. Schlapp had spent a significant portion of Sunday defending the decision to invite Yiannopoulos, arguing that Yiannopoulos should be included because of the fight over free speech on college campuses and saying that conservatives should not block free speech. However Monday afternoon, Schlapp released a statement saying, “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 release 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.”
The video put CPAC in a tricky position as they justified his appearance by invoking free speech, but then disinvited him for something he said.
The Reagan Battalion responded to the CPAC news saying, “The ACU made the right call disinviting Milo Yiannopoulos after initially giving him a prominent speaking role at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference.” The account went on to say that “This incident is proof that thorough vetting is required by conservative entities before they decide to elevate and promise people as conservative standard bearers.”
Simon and Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg then posted to Twitter, “After careful consideration @simonschuster and its @threshold_books have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos.” Simon and Schuster’s Threshold Books imprint had announced the book deal in December for publication in June. At the time, Simon and Schuster had defended the book deal by saying that Yiannopoulos had a right to free speech. However this event shows that the publisher was fine with sexist and homophobic material, but condoning pedophilia was too much.