Milo Yiannopoulos will not speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), according to American Conservative Union president Matt Schlapp. The statement follows a conservative blog’s revelation of a video in which Yiannopoulos appears to endorse pedophilia.
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 realize 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 initially extended the invitation knowing that the free speech issue on college campuses is a battlefield where we need brave, conservative standard-bearers.
The ACU touched off a firestorm among conservatives on Saturday when it announced that Breitbart senior editor Yiannopoulos would hold a coveted speaking slot at the conservative gathering, appearing alongside the likes of President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Senator Ted Cruz. “An epidemic of speech suppression has taken over college campuses,” Schlapp said at the time. “Milo has exposed their liberal thuggery and we think free speech includes hearing Milo’s important perspective.”
Yet several recoiled at the use of “we” in Schlapp’s statement. As Washingtonian reported on Saturday, ACU board members say they were blindsided by the decision to invite Yiannopoulos. “We were never consulted,” one board member told me. “If I hadn’t been in the offices and asked questions, [I] would never have had any clue. I threw a hissy fit.”
Over the course of the weekend, the criticisms of Yiannopoulos’s selection went from a fear that he wasn’t sufficiently conservative—appearing on Real Time on Friday evening, he said he didn’t know if he was—to the fact that he appeared to endorse adults having sex with minors as young as 13. On Sunday, The Reagan Battalion sparked a frenzy when it tweeted an episode of a podcast in which Yiannopoulos questioned age-of-consent laws:
The law is probably about right, that’s probably roughly the right age, I think it’s probably about okay, but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age. I certainly consider myself to be one of them.
He went on to say that 13-year-olds are “sexually mature” and thus capable of consenting to a sexual relationship with an adult:
Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet who have not gone through puberty.
Yiannopoulos issued a response on his Facebook page. “I do not support pedophilia. Period. It is a vile and disgusting crime, perhaps the very worst,” he writes. “There are selectively edited videos doing the rounds, as part of a co-ordinated effort to discredit me from establishment Republicans, that suggest I am soft on the subject.”
CPAC is being held at the Gaylord National Resort from Wednesday, February 22, to Saturday, February 25.