Breitbart editor quits over child-sex remarks

Mr Yiannopoulos' definition of paedophilia victims excludes 13-year-olds.
Mr Yiannopoulos' definition of paedophilia victims excludes 13-year-olds.

NEW YORK • Provocative writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who helped make Breitbart News a leading organ of the alt-right in the United States, has resigned from the news organisation after a video of him endorsing paedophilia resurfaced online over the weekend.

Mr Yiannopoulos' writing has offended women, Muslims, blacks and gay people ever since former Breitbart executive chairman Stephen Bannon hired him as a senior editor in 2014.

Mr Bannon, now President Donald Trump's senior adviser, championed the British-born Mr Yiannopoulos' commentary and promoted him as a champion of free speech.

In turn, his popularity helped raise Breitbart's profile among Mr Trump's supporters and the alt-right, a vaguely defined collection of nationalists, anti-immigration proponents and anti-establishment conservatives.

Breitbart was under pressure to take action against Mr Yiannopoulos, 32, from its own staff, which had threatened to revolt if he wasn't fired or disciplined, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In a video interview early last year, Mr Yiannopoulos condoned sexual relations with boys as young as 13 and joked about a sexual encounter he said he had with a Catholic priest as a teenager.

"You're misunderstanding what paedophilia means," he told the hosts of a podcast. "Paedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature. Paedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty."

At a news conference in New York on Tuesday, Mr Yiannopoulos announced he was stepping down as tech editor for the site. "I would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues' important reporting," he said.

He had already lost a book deal and a speaking engagement after the video was leaked on Twitter.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2017, with the headline 'Breitbart editor quits over child-sex remarks'. Print Edition | Subscribe