The American Conservative Union (ACU), the organization hosting the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), rescinded an invitation to speak to Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos on Monday afternoon.
The event organizers disinvited Yiannopoulos after video clips surfaced in which the right-wing celebrity appeared to defend pedophilia. “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,” Yiannopoulos said during an interview with The Drunken Peasants.
The writer is said to have been invited to be the keynote speaker at an event that will also feature appearances by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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In a statement posted on Facebook, Yiannopoulos argued his comments were taken out of context, though admitted that he is “guilty of imprecise language,” arguing 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.”
Inundated with outraged comments about CPAC, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp said that the Facebook apology is “insufficient,” tweeting, “It is up to him to answer the tough questions, and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.” (The statement went on to claim that “the CPAC platform is not an endorsement of everything a speaker says or does.”)
The controversy is the latest for Yiannopoulos, who has established a reputation of sorts for himself as a rabble-rouser. He has faced a maelstrom of protests in recent weeks, from his Simon & Schuster book deal prompting prominent feminist writer Roxanne Gay to find another publisher to represent her, to University of California ,Berkeley event that the school canceled after violent riots broke out. Most recently, a Real Time with Bill Maher guest refused to appear in the same episode as the Yiannopoulos.