World

Firebrand Breitbart head Yiannopoulos quits over paedophilia remarks

NEW YORK: Serial provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative firebrand and staunch fan of US President Donald Trump, resigned yesterday from the right-wing news site Breitbart amid a storm triggered by comments in which he appeared to condone paedophilia.

The 32-year-old Briton had already lost a book deal and a speaking engagement after a video was leaked on Twitter over the weekend in which he defends men having sex with children as young as 13.

Facing the media at a news conference in New York - after a 24-hour furore he described as "humiliating" - Yiannopoulos announced he was stepping down as Breitbart's tech editor.

"I would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues' important reporting," he said.

"So today I am resigning from Breitbart, effective immediately. This decision is mine alone."

Though he rejects the label, Yiannopoulos is often portrayed as a leader of the "alt-right" - a white nationalist extremist fringe that found a home on Breitbart's pages and was catapulted into American mainstream view by the political rise of the site's former head Steve Bannon, now Mr Trump's powerful chief strategist.

Reviled by his critics as racist and misogynistic, Yiannopoulos casts himself as a gay crusader for free speech and against "political correctness" in all its forms - and has revelled in provoking the outrage of America's liberal left, which accuses him of spreading hate.

Yiannopoulos is also an outspoken supporter of Mr Trump, whom he nicknames "Daddy".

In the video that led to his resignation, Yiannopoulos tells a radio host that the term paedophilia should not apply to "a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who is sexually mature" - only to pre-pubescent children - while calling the idea of an age of consent "arbitrary and oppressive". - AFP

internetUnderagetwitter