Milo Yiannopoulos, the provocative conservative journalist who is often portrayed as a champion of the far right, is facing possible dismissal from his employer, Breitbart News, over comments he once made about underage sex, FOX Business has learned.
His possible dismissal could could come by the end of the day, sources from the conservative website told FOX Business. Earlier Monday, Yiannopoulos was disinvited to speak at a gathering of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) scheduled for this weekend.
His official title is Technology Editor for Breitbart, but Yiannopoulos is best known for his political statements on social media and television. Indeed his CPAC invitation drew outrage even from some conservatives given Yiannopoulos’ past remarks about race, sexuality and other issues.
Breitbart was founded by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, and later expanded under the direction of Steven Bannon, now a Senior Advisor to President Trump. The news organization has consistently defended Yiannopoulos’ statements on issues such an immigration and race, which many say pushed the envelope of proper discourse and veered into outright racism. He has been officially banned from the social-media outlet Twitter after statements he made about “Ghostbusters” actor Leslie Jones.
Yiannopoulos, meanwhile, has portrayed himself as a defender of free speech who has been unfairly attacked by the politically-correct media establishment, a fight his supervisors seemed to relish. But now there is a fierce internal debate at Breitbart over whether he should remain with the website over his latest comments.
People inside Breitbart say that the decision on whether to keep Yiannopoulos will ultimately be a business one; senior executives there are weighing how “damaging his comments are to the Breitbart brand,” said one person with knowledge of the matter. Despite having strong web traffic on its website, many companies are skittish about advertising on Brietbart given its reputation as being the news outlet and opinion destination for the fringe nationalist group known as the “alt-right.”
“Breitbart already has advertising issues regarding its association with the Alt-Right, and this doesn’t help the business side,” said the person with direct knowledge of the debate inside Breitbart over Yiannopoulos' future.
Following this FOX Business report, Simon and Schuster, a division of CBS (NYSE:CBS), canceled Yiannopoulos' forthcoming book 'Dangerous' which was set for publication in June. In a Facebook post, he confirmed the cancellation adding " I've gone through worse. This will not defeat me."
Still, Breitbart has so far remained quiet after videos emerged Monday where Yiannopoulos seemed to defend pedophilia. Breitbart had no immediate comment to FOX Business.
Yiannopoulos didn’t return FOX Business’ call for comment, but on his Facebook page he stated: "I do not advocate for illegal behavior. I explicitly say on the tapes that I think the current age of consent is ‘about right.’ I do not believe sex with 13-year-olds is okay. When I mentioned the number 13, I was talking about the age I lost my own virginity.” The post has since been updated on Facebook.
In a video interview with the Drunken Peasants Podcast in January, Yiannopoulos said "some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships" may be deemed appropriate. He also said the current age of consent for sex, which is 18 in many states, is also appropriate.
But some of his other statements drew criticism. He described, in particular "the 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 sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents.”
Yiannopoulos also said; “You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means, pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody who is 13 years old — who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty.”
This story is developing, please check back for updates.