Self-described conservative troll and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has resigned from the news organization Tuesday after a video of him endorsing pedophilia resurfaced online over the weekend.
The incendiary writer and commentator has been a flame-throwing provocateur whose writing has offended women, Muslims, blacks and gay people ever since former Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon hired him as a senior editor in 2014.
Bannon, now President Trump’s senior adviser, championed Yiannopoulos’s inflammatory commentary and promoted him as a conservative truth-teller and champion of free speech. In turn, his popularity helped raise Breitbart’s profile among Trump’s supporters and helped make the conservative website a leading organ of the “alt-right,” a group known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view.
“Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved. They have allowed me to carry conservative and libertarian ideas to communities that would otherwise never have heard them,” Yiannopoulos said in a statement. “They have been a significant factor in my success. I’m grateful for that freedom and for the friendships I forged there.”
“I would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important reporting, so today I am resigning from Breitbart, effective immediately. This decision is mine alone,” he added, according to The Washington Post.
As recently as last week, Breitbart editor Alexander Marlow called Yiannopoulos “the No. 1 free speech warrior of his generation in America at the moment” in an interview.
But Yiannopoulous’s views on pedophilia apparently went too far even for Breitbart.
But Breitbart was under pressure to take action against Yiannopoulos from its own staff, which had threatened an internal revolt if he wasn’t fired or disciplined, according to people familiar with the matter.
The reemergence of the video over the weekend triggered a cascade of adverse consequences for Yiannopoulos.
First, CPAC’s organizer, the American Conservative Union, rescinded its invitation to him as a conference speaker. The group’s chairman said in a statement that the organization found his comments “disturbing” and the video “offensive.”
Then Simon & Schuster canceled an agreement to publish Yiannopoulos’s forthcoming memoir, “Dangerous,” for which it paid him a $250,000 advance. The publisher said it decided to cancel the book — which had drawn protests before the pedophilia flap arose — “after careful consideration.”