Right-wing provocateur and author Milo Yiannopoulos has resigned from his job at Breitbart News and issued a public apology for comments he made linked to child sexual abuse.
Yiannopoulos reiterated he had suffered sexual abuse as a teenager while reading from a prepared a statement on Tuesday afternoon in New York.
EXTENDED: Milo Yiannopoulos issues statement following Breitbart resignation
He then took questions after confirming he was leaving Breitbart, considered by many to be a platform for the so-called “alt-right” movement. Yiannopoulos has, in the past, made critical statements targeting Muslims, transgender people, immigrants and women.
A vocal supporter of president Donald Trump, he most recently came under fire after year-old footage emerged of him appearing to endorse sexual relationships between “younger boys and older men.”
“My experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say almost anything on this subject,” he explained on Tuesday, adding that some of his comments may have been regarded as “flippant” by other victims.
“I shouldn’t have used the word ‘boy,'” Yiannopoulos said, adding that the word is a term commonly used within the homosexual community to refer to men, not children, but it could have been misconstrued by the heterosexual community.
When he spoke about 17-year-olds having relationships with older men, he said, he was talking about his own relationship at that age with a man who was 29.
When he referred to relationships occurring at the age of 13, he was talking about the age he lost his own virginity. The abuse started at that point, he said.
“Looking back I see the effects this had on me,” he said of the abuse he suffered between the ages of 13 and 16, allegedly at the hands of a priest and another man.
“Going bankrupt is worse” he added later.
Yiannopoulos said Tuesday that he remains “horrified” by pedophilia, and that the video clips were “deceptively edited” to paint a different picture.
“I do not support child abuse. It’s a disgusting crime of which I have personally been a victim.”
Yiannopoulos said he has never apologized for remarks in the past, and is unlikely to do so ever again, but that he felt it was important in this situation.
“I will never stop making jokes about taboo subjects,” he promised.
Yiannopoulos, whose appearances have prompted protests across the United States, was disinvited to this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference after previous attempts to clarify his comments on relationships between boys and older men fell flat with organizers.
His publisher, Simon & Schuster, then cancelled his book Dangerous, which had been scheduled to come out in June. He promised the book would find a new publisher quickly and come out later this year.
Breitbart editors confirmed they had accepted Yiannopoulos’s resignation. The publication issued a statement praising his work, however, saying that he “has sparked much-needed debate on important cultural topics confronting universities, the L.G.B.T.Q. community, the press, and the tech industry.”
-With a file from The Canadian Press