2/22/2017 Update: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from the Berkeley College Republicans.
Milo Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart News on Tuesday after a video of him making controversial remarks regarding pedophilia in January 2016 resurfaced on the internet, garnering backlash from liberals and conservatives alike.
On Monday, the American Conservative Union canceled Yiannopoulos’ invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and Simon & Schuster publishing company canceled the publication of Yiannopoulos’ book, “Dangerous,” hours later.
Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak on the UC Berkeley campus at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union on Feb. 1, but the event was canceled amid a violent protest. As of Feb. 14, Berkeley College Republicans has been in talks with Yiannopoulos to reschedule the event on campus.
Troy Worden, who helps manage communications for Berkeley College Republicans, said “everything is up in the air” in regard to whether or not they will continue efforts to bring Yiannopoulos back to campus. He added that BCR has no comment on Yiannopoulos’ remarks on pedophilia.
Yiannopoulos apologized about the resurfaced video in a statement on his Facebook page.
“I’ve reviewed the tapes that appeared last night in their proper full context, and I don’t believe they say what is being reported,” Yiannopoulos said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Nonetheless, I do say some things on the tapes that I do not mean and which do not reflect my views.”
He added at the conference that he still plans to publish his book this year. He also noted at the conference he has decided to start an independently funded media platform and to schedule a live tour.
Rob Rooke, an organizer for Bay Area organization Socialist Alternative, believes these comments were the “last straw” for Simon & Schuster because Yiannopoulos’ shifting image is affecting the company’s financial interests. He noted that he thinks Yiannopoulos’ reactionary comments will only be condoned if they are profitable.
Adam Castle, president of the East Bay Young Republicans said that although his organization supports Yiannopoulos’ right to free speech, they do not endorse his message.
“Although Yiannopoulos has been a catalyst for political conversation, his style of commentary doesn’t elevate political discourse and doesn’t promote a positive brand for any of the labels he aligns with,” Castle said in an email. “Yiannopoulos’ status as a provocateur creates an incentive for him to focus on the issues that divide us and ignore the areas where we may share common ground. I believe that focus benefits nothing other than Yiannopoulos’ pocketbook.”
Contact Jessíca Jiménez at [email protected].