Far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has insisted he does not support paedophilia after footage surfaced that shows him apparently advocating the possibility of sexual relationships between 13-year-olds and adults.
Videos showing Mr Yiannopoulos making the claims have been shared on social media after he was confirmed as a keynote speaker at this year’s CPAC conference for the American Conservative Union (ACU). His recent appearance at UC Berkeley was cancelled after violent protests erupted on campus.
In the excerpt from the podcast being circulated, the Breitbart senior editor says he defines paedophiles as people who are sexually attracted to children who have not reached puberty. He adds that he believes some teenagers under the age of 16 are able to consent to sexual activity.
In the UK, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 states that the age of consent is 16 and that any sexual activity involving consenting children under 16 is unlawful. The Sexual Offences act of 1956, which is used for sexual offences committed before 2004, states that a boy or girl under the age of 16 cannot consent in law.
In The Drunken Peasants podcast, which aired a year ago, Yiannopoulos says “we get hung up on this child abuse stuff”. He said he believed the current legal age of consent was “probably about right” before making the claim that some teenagers are “capable” of consenting to sexual activity at a younger age.
He said: “But there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age. I certainly consider myself to be one of them, people who were sexually active younger”. He added that he believed this “particularly happens in the gay world”.
At one point he refers to the possibility of relationships between 13-year-olds and 25- or 28-years-olds, claiming “these things do happen, perfectly consensually”.
He claims there is an “arbitrary and oppressive” idea of consent, and that “people are messy and complex, and in the homosexual world particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the coming of age relationships,” are places 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 rock where they can’t speak to their parents.”
He is interrupted by one of the presenters, who said: “This sounds like priest molestation to me.”
Mr Yiannopoulos replies: “And do you know what? I’m, grateful to Father Michael, I wouldn’t give nearly as good head if it wasn’t for him.”
Mr Yiannopoulos then claims the presenters of The Drunken Peasants do not understand the definition of paedophilia and that it does not include examples of children aged 13 who are “sexually mature”.
“You’re misunderstanding what paedophilia means. Paedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature. Paedophilia is an attraction to children who have not yet reached puberty,” he claims.
“You don’t understand what paedophilia is if you think that I’m defending it, because I’m certainly not.”
Responding to the videos of the podcast interviews being circulated through social media, Mr Yiannopoulos wrote on Facebook: “I do not support paedophilia,” and claimed the videos being circulated had been selectively edited. The podcast, which is filmed, can be watched in full here.
He said his comment about Father Michael on the podcast was a joke about clerical sexual abuse that was committed against him when he was a young teenager, adding: “If I choose to deal in an edgy way on an internet livestream with a crime I was the victim of that’s my prerogative.”
The Breitbart journalist added that he regretted using the word “boy” when “referring to relationships between older men and younger gay men”. He claimed he had been referring to his own relationship “when I was 17 with a man who was 29”.
The footage from the podcast does not show him referring to this relationship at the point where he was discussing age differences between older and younger men.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies