UPDATED: Controversial far-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos has been disinvited from speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, it was announced on Monday.
The decision comes amid a controversy involving a video from January 2016, in which Yiannopoulos appears to defend pedophilia. It resurfaced after it was recently shared on a conservative blog, and has gained traction and backlash over the past week.
“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” American Conservative Union Chairman Matt said in a statement. “It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) February 20, 2017
In the video, a 2016 episode of podcast “The Drunken Peasants,” Yiannopoulos discussed his own experience with sexual assault as a teenager. He argued in the clip that relationships between “younger boys and older men” could be beneficial.
Later on Monday, Simon & Schuster’s Adam Rothberg announced that the company and its Threshold Editions division would be canceling its publication of Yiannopoulos’ book, “Dangerous.” It was due for release on June 13.
— (((Adam Rothberg))) (@AdamRothberg) February 20, 2017
In a Facebook post in response to the controversy, Yiannopoulos claimed that the video was “deceptively edited,” and said he was “horrified” by allegations that he was an advocate for pedophilia.
“If it somehow comes across (through my own sloppy phrasing or through deceptive editing) that I meant any of the ugly things alleged, let me set the record straight: I am completely disgusted by the abuse of children,” he wrote in the post.
Yiannopoulos is far from a stranger to controversy. He’s carved out a reputation for himself as an unapologetic speaker, and recently appeared on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” where he criticized Sarah Silverman, Lena Dunham, and Amy Schumer, and discussed his issues with actress Leslie Jones.