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Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart News following pedophilia comments

Milo Yiannopoulos, the conservative writer, speaker and self-described provocateur whose comments on pedophilia sparked widespread outrage over the weekend, resigned today from his position at Breitbart News, the far-right website where he was the technology editor and one of its most popular writers.

“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,’’  Yiannopoulos said in an announcement.

“This decision is mine alone,’’ he added.

Yiannopoulos’ decision to resign comes after several days of intense scrutiny and tumult that began after a conservative blog shared a video of him condoning sexual relations between men and boys as young as 13, and joking about pedophilia in the Roman Catholic church, making reference to his own experience as a victim of sexual abuse.

On Monday, the organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference rescinded their invitation for Yiannopoulos to speak at the event, and the publisher Simon & Schuster announced it was canceling the publication of his upcoming book, “Dangerous,” which had briefly climbed to the top of Amazon’s bestseller chart.

Yiannopoulos made a series of posts on his Facebook page yesterday in an effort to explain himself, writing that he it was his “British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humor” that had caused the misunderstanding.

On Tuesday, Alex Marlow, the editor in chief of Breitbart, called Yiannopoulos’ comments about pedophilia “indefensible” and “appalling.” But Marlow, who was speaking on Breitbart’s daily radio show, also defended Yiannopoulos, saying there was no evidence Yiannopoulos was a sexual predator and that he was the victim of a “coordinated hit” by liberal groups intent on hurting his ascent.

“There seems to be growing evidence that this was all coordinated to wait for a peak moment when Milo was red-hot,” Marlow said. “They sat on this story and they held it for maximum political damage.”

Over the past several years and especially in recent weeks, Yiannopoulos, an aggressive defender of the so-called alt-right and a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, has repeatedly sparked outrage. Yiannopoulos has become well known for his provocative and disparaging statements about Muslims, transgender people, immigrants and women’s rights have been condemned by liberals and conservatives alike, and his lectures on college campuses have been met with protests that have occasionally turned violent. A recent planned speech at the University of California, Berkeley, made national headlines after the talk was canceled when rioters set fires and smashed windows. The incident initiated a debate about free speech and inspired a rebuke from President Trump on Twitter.

But despite all the criticism Yiannopoulos has attracted over the years, it appears that his comments on pedophilia crossed a line for many of his supporters. Still, Yiannopoulos plans to carry on.

At a press conference in New York on Tuesday, he announced his plans to start his own independent media company following his resignation from Breitbart News.

Yiannopoulos apologized to child abuse victims for his comments. He also said that in his new venture, he will focus more on “entertainment and education,” rather than journalism.

“I will be announcing a new, independently-funded media venture of my own and a live tour in the coming weeks,” he said.

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