Milo Yiannopoulos loses book deal over underage sex comments

  • 21/02/2017

Notorious internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos has lost a lucrative book deal and a high-profile guest speaker spot over comments he made about sex with "younger boys".

Yiannopoulos, renowned for shocking bad taste humour and far-right political stances, stated in a podcast that sex between "younger boys" and "older men" can be "hugely positive experiences".

The comments surfaced in recent days, and on Monday (local time), publisher Simon & Schuster cancelled its June release of Yiannopoulos' book Dangerous, which they reportedly paid him a US$250,000 (NZ$349,500) advance for.

"After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous," an official statement from the publisher said.

In addition, the American Conservative Union rescinded his invitation to the group's annual CPac conference, where he was to speak alongside US President Donald Trump. 

Yiannopoulos has vigorously defended his comments via Facebook, claiming they had been "selectively edited".

"I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by paedophilia," the Breitbart author stated on his Facebook page.

He also argued that nothing should be off-limits for comedy, but regretted his comments about men and boys having sex, saying he was guilty of "imprecise language". 

Yiannopoulos was immediately chastised for the comments by other broadcasters in the Drunken Peasants podcast where he made them, before the video was widely circulated online.

At first he deflected criticism by joking about being sexually abused by a priest as a child, before clarifying his belief that sex with some underage boys doesn't constitute paedophilia.

"Paedophilia is not a sexual attraction to someone 13 years old who is sexually mature, paedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty," he said.

He also said he "didn't mind" advocating for what another man in the broadcast called "cross-generational relationships".

In video taken from another recent podcast with former Fear Factor host Joe Rogan, Yiannopoulos talked about sexual relationships he had when he was 14, and recalled "very young boys" taking drugs and having sex at parties he'd attended in LA.

    Who is Milo Yiannopoulos?

Yiannopoulos is a controversial online author who has caused outrage with articles labelled transphobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic and otherwise offensive by critics.

The British provocateur was banned from Twitter last year after his role in a racist, sexist hate campaign against Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones, which involved her personal information and private photos being stolen and published online.

After writing columns with titles such as 'Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy' on far-right US political website Breitbart, Yiannopoulos became a boisterous Donald Trump supporter during last year's US election.

He denies being a mouthpiece of the "alt-right" movement - a collective of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, far-right conservatives and online trolls - but calls the group "exciting".

Milo Yiannopoulos (Getty)
Milo Yiannopoulos (Getty)

He argues he could never be an official leader of the alt-right as he is gay, partly Jewish and generally dates black men.

After gaining a large following from his role in the online culture war known as #GamerGate, Yiannopoulos began regular public speaking engagements that were often met with protests, some of which became violent.

He argued the events were celebrations of free speech, while his opponents saw them as supporting hate speech.

After a Yiannopoulos event at the University of California at Berkeley was cancelled due to violent protests, President Trump threatened to cut the institution's funding.

'Milo' has been trending worldwide on Twitter over the last few days as the teen sex comments emerged, including in New Zealand.

While his fans continue to defend him, others on social media are pointing out some of the many previous times Yiannopoulos has offended them.

Milo Yiannopoulos on the death of Alan Rickman: "I told you feminism was cancer"