Milo Yiannopoulos book deal cancelled over pedophilia comments

The right-wing writer & speaker has also been dropped from a conservative conference in the US

Milo Yiannopoulos book deal cancelled over pedophilia comments

Cover of the now cancelled 'Dangerous' by Milo Yiannopoulos

The right-wing writer & speaker Milo Yiannopoulos has had a book deal cancelled following comments about pedophilia.

Yiannopoulos - a senior editor at the conservative Breitbart News site and a self-confessed 'internet troll' - had been due to publish his book Dangerous in June through an imprint of the publisher Simon & Schuster.

In a statement last night, the publisher said: "After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos".

The cancellation came after the re-emergence of an interview with Mr Yiannopoulos for the The Drunken Peasants podcast, in which he appeared to defend sexual activity with young boys.

In the interview, Yiannopoulos says: "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.

"In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men - the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationships - the relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable sort of rock," he added.

He also suggested that there are people 'capable of giving consent' at a younger age.

The comments, which re-emerged over the weekend, also led to the American Conservative Union (ACU) withdrawing its previous invitation for Yiannopoulos to speak at an upcoming conference.

In a statement, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp said: "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."

Both the ACU and Simon & Schuster had already faced calls to drop Mr Yiannopoulos before the recent controversy. 

"I've gone through worse"

In a Facebook post on his past comments, Yiannopoulos wrote: "I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by pedophilia and I have devoted large portions of my career as a journalist to exposing child abusers.

"I've outed three of them, in fact - three more than most of my critics. And I've repeatedly expressed disgust at pedophilia in my feature and opinion writing. My professional record is very clear.

"But I do understand that these videos, even though some of them are edited deceptively, paint a different picture."

He added: "I shouldn't have used the word 'boy' - which gay men often do to describe young men of consenting age - instead of 'young man.' That was an error. I am certainly guilty of imprecise language, which I regret."

After confirming the cancellation of his book deal, he also noted: "I've gone through worse. This will not defeat me." 

Mr Yiannopoulos, who is from the UK, rose to public prominence as one of the figureheads of the 'GamerGate' movement, and has often been linked with the online alt-right.

Known for his frequent attacks on feminism, Islam, transgender people and other matters, Yiannopoulos - shortened to just 'Milo' on Breitbart itself - has a large online following (almost 2 million Facebook followers) but also an army of critics & opponents.

He was permanently banned from Twitter last year for his role in the abuse campaign directed at Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones.

Earlier this month, the University of California in Berkeley was forced to cancel an event featuring Yiannopoulos after a protest turned violent.