At a packed press conference this afternoon following news that he’d lost his $250,000 book deal with Simon & Schuster as well as his speaking spot at CPAC and his job at Breitbart, racist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos apologized for his year-old comments defending pedophilia that surfaced after he appeared last week on Real Time With Bill Maher.
“To repeat, I do not support child abuse,” he said. “It’s a disgusting crime of which I have personally been a victim.”
“The past 48 hours have been a horrible and degrading experience for me,” he added. “I regret the things that I said. I don’t think I’ve been as sorry about anything in my entire life.”
In a January 2016 interview on the Drunken Peasants podcast, Milo said there are “certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age” and claimed that there are many “perfectly consensual” sexual relationships between 13-year-olds and 25- or 28-year-olds.
While Yiannopoulos appeared to be genuinely contrite about his comments (he said he was sexually assaulted by two men between the ages of 13 and 16), or at least the controversy they’ve created, he went on to say that he would “never stop making jokes about taboo subjects” and that the ensuing blowback is part of a coordinated “cynical witch hunt” to bring him down.
“Don’t think for a moment that anything that happened in the past 48 hours will stop me from being provocative,” he added during the news conference. “I am proud to be a free speech warrior in America. I’m not going anywhere.”
He also said that he’d been in contact with other publishers about his book in the 24 hours since Simon & Schuster cancelled his deal. “There’s been interest, obviously,” he said, adding that he expects the book to come out sometime this year.
Yiannopoulos refused to say whether someone at Breitbart asked for his resignation–“I’ll keep that confidential”– but he did praise the current leadership there as well as the publication’s former CEO and current White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who he described as “one of the foremost and brilliant political operatives of his generation.”
He also said this:
Milo says other things – like going bankrupt – are worse and harder to deal with than being sexually abused as a child.
— Mary Ann Georgantopoulos (@marygeorgant) February 21, 2017
Watch the full press conference below.