Former Breitbart News senior editor Milo Yiannopoulos has resigned, after comments condoning pedophilia surfaced earlier this week. “Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved,” Yiannopoulos wrote in a statement tweeted by The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum. “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.” He later confirmed the news in a press conference. The news comes after Yiannopoulos was disinvited from speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and his upcoming book Dangerous was dropped by publisher Simon & Schuster.
In his statement, Yiannopoulos said that the decision to resign was his alone. “When your friends have done right by you, you do right by them,” he wrote. “For me, now, that means stepping aside so my colleagues at Breitbart can get back to the great work they do.” However, previous reports suggested that there was significant internal pressure for him to step down; sources told The Washingtonian that at least six employees had threatened to leave if he was not fired.
Break: MILO resigns from Breitbart pic.twitter.com/pSQnJ0b9vA— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) February 21, 2017
Yiannopoulos’ current success, largely rooted in the Gamergate controversy of 2014, is based on inflammatory proclamations about women, immigrants, and transgender people — who he characterized as sexual predators during a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher. But he seemingly crossed a line in a 2016 podcast, where he defended adult men and women having sex with 13-year-old boys. Yiannopoulos has expressed “regret” over the comments, which he denied indicated support for pedophilia or reflected his true views. But the partial apology hasn’t stopped many one-time supporters from denouncing them, including Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow, who called the statements “absolutely indefensible,” “appalling,” and “disappointing.”
In his press conference, Yiannopoulos said that he did not believe the controversy would permanently affect his image, and that he would be launching a “new, independently funded media venture” in the wake of his resignation. (Yiannopoulos formerly founded The Kernal, a technology-focused news site which came under scrutiny for failing to pay contributors, before being sold to The Daily Dot.) “I don't think this has done any harm to my profile,” he said, saying that he’d already seen interest in Dangerous from other publishers. “The book will come out this year as planned — with perhaps an additional chapter.”
Update February 21st, 3:30PM ET: Added statements from press conference.