Did Milo Yiannopoulos REALLY Defend Pedophilia?

Conservative provocateur and all-around asshat Milo Yiannopoulos got disinvited to 2017’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), had his lucrative book deal with Simon & Schuster cancelled, and resigned from Breitbart as an editor — all within 48 hours — over comments about child sexual abuse he made on two podcasts (one in 2015, the other in early 2016) that resurfaced this past weekend.

Milo has said so many offensive, sexist, racist, xenophobic things over his career that, surprisingly (or actually, maybe not that surprisingly), weren’t enough to initially scare off CPAC. For instance, just last Friday night, while speaking on Overtime with Bill Maher, he said women and girls need to be protected in public restrooms from transgender women, who have a psychiatric disorder much like sociopathy and are disproportionately involved in sex crimes — totally failing  to 1) mention that trans people are disproportionately the victims of sex crimes, not the perpetrators, and 2) see the irony of him as a gay man making the same ludicrous, bigoted claims about one marginalized community that used to be made (and still are in some ass-backward circles) about homosexuals!

It wasn’t until the conservative magazine Reagan Battalion tweeted edited footage of him on two podcasts, defending his own and others’ sexual relationships as tween/teen boys with adults, that CPAC pulled the invite. Apparently, getting kicked off Twitter for inciting racists attacks against actress Leslie Jones wasn’t enough. But inadvertently suggesting that there’s some truth to the myth that gay men are inclined to be child molesters — a long-standing, unfounded fear held by many homophobic conservatives — crossed the line. Hey, offensive free speech is fine to CPAC, until it offends them.

While I’m no fan of Milo’s, I have noticed the occasional inclination by some on the left to give him more attention and credit as a villain than he deserves. By all means protest his tour, but don’t resort to property damage and actual violence (like the Black Bloc did at Berkeley). Call him out for his casual racism and sexism, but don’t just assume he’s a full-on white nationalist (he’s on record as saying “white pride, white supremacy, white nationalism isn’t the way to go“). Don’t be the knee-jerk liberals folks like him accuse us of being without actually going to the primary source.

And so I watched the clips in question in full, as well as his press conference about the clips and his resignation, to see what exactly he said and how bad it actually was. The following is the autopsy — because while he’s said plenty of other similarly horrendous things, there’s something uniquely odious about affection for child abuse that most decent human beings, even conservative ones, cannot and will not abide. (Then again, many Americans voted for Trump — “Daddy” as Milo calls him — so we shouldn’t hold our breath.)

Was Milo sexually abused as a teen?

In the Joe Rogan #702 interview, while talking about the sexual relations he had as a young teenager with a parish priest, Yiannopoulos says it wasn’t abuse (at minute 0:51 in the below video): “I wasn’t abused as a child, or anything like that.” He reiterates this stance at minute 4:18:

Milo: It wasn’t molestation, it was perfectly consensual.

Joe: I think it is when they’re 14.

Milo: When I was 14, trust me, I was the predator,  I was the predator.

Joe:  You were the predator? You were chasing after the priest who was trying to stay close to god?

Milo: I was the instigator. I was chasing everybody. I was aggressively seeking out the sexual company of adults because I knew it would horrify people. Because I wanted sort of power over them. It was my way of rebelling. I was the predator at 14, let me tell you.

But now, in his Facebook defense to this scandal, he writes:

4. The videos do not show what people say they show. I *did* joke about giving better head as a result of clerical sexual abuse committed against me when I was a teen. 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. It’s no different to gallows humor from AIDS sufferers.

In both the Rogan interview and his interview on Drunken Peasants, it’s clear he’s making an edgy, inappropriate joke when he credits Father Michael with Milo’s own ability to give good head to this day (see the excerpt below). But in these interviews, he aggressively, not jokingly, argues that as a young teenager (around age 13 or 14), he was not the victim of abuse here — that this was indeed informed consensual sex. He makes this claim as a way to undermine progressives’ insistence on making consent a requirement of safer sex, as well as to call bullshit on “arbitrary” statutory rape laws that may make criminals or at least outcasts of sexually mature, consenting parties (imagine a 17 year old with a 20 year old, or the hypothetical grad student and professor he mentions in the Drunken Peasants interview — see below).

So it’s a bit disingenuous, now that he’s lost his book deal and CPAC invitation and Breitbart position over these comments, for him to suddenly do a complete 180 and claim, both in his written Facebook response and the press conference, that it actually was sexual abuse.

For the record: Whether or not Milo thinks it was abuse, an adult having sex with a minor is a crime. One could argue that the fact it was perpetrated by someone in a position of religious, soul-saving authority, way more than a couple years older, makes it even more heinous.

Did Milo defend pedophilia?

Technically, no.  Pedophilia is defined as adult sexual interest in pre-pubescent children. But he has at times defended hebephilia (adult sexual interest in pubescent or post-pubescent 11-14 years olds) and ephebophilia (adult sexual interest in 15-19 year olds) when, according to him, the kid in question is “sexually mature” and able to give “informed and aware consent.”

The following is from the Drunken Peasants interview (minute 1:00:32):

Milo: This is a controversial point of view, I accept. We get hung up on this kind of child abuse stuff to the point where we’re heavily policing even relationships between consenting adults, you know, sort of grad students and professors at universities.

[the hosts & Milo discuss age of consent for a moment]

Milo: The law is probably about right, that’s probably roughly the right age. I think it’s probably about okay, 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 are sexually active younger. I think it particularly happens in the gay world by the way. In many cases actually those relationships with older men…This is one reason I hate the left. This stupid one size fits all policing of culture. [talking over each other] This arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent, which totally destroys, you know, the understanding that many of us have [of] the complexities and subtleties and complicated nature of many relationships. You know, people are messy and complex. In the homosexual world particularly. Some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships 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 and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents. Some of those relationships are the most — [fyi, in his subsequent Facebook defense, he says he should have used the term “young men” here instead of “young boys”]

Host: It sounds like Catholic priest molestation to me…

[jokingly]: And you know what, I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.

[a minute of back & forth banter]

Host: [You’ve argued in the past that] transgenderism is the new frontier of social progress and the next thing in line is gonna be pedophilia, and yet here you are talking about how look, you know, some of these kids that get diddled by these priests, I mean it’s a good thing for them, they’re getting this love….

Milo: You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13-years-old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet. Who have not gone through puberty. Who are too young to be able [talking over each other]…That’s not what we are talking about. You don’t understand what pedophilia is if think I’m defending it because I’m certainly not.

Host [after further back and forth]: You are advocating for cross generational relationships here, can we be honest about that?”

Milo: Yeah, I don’t mind admitting that. I think particularly in the gay world and outside the Catholic church, if that’s where some of you want to go with this, I think in the gay world, some of the most important, enriching and incredibly life-affirming, important shaping relationships very often between younger boys and older men, they can be hugely positive experiences for those young boys. They can even save those young boys, from desolation, from suicide, from drug addiction….all sorts of things, providing they’re consensual.

[hosts talk]

Milo: Just because I was sexually precocious doesn’t mean that I’m going to say that every 13  year old who has sex with a 28-year-old is fine, I don’t know because I don’t know the specifics of that case. I’m not saying that every relationship involving those ages is fine.  I have said many times that I consider myself an outlier and sexually precocious.

In his Facebook defense, he writes:

I do not support pedophilia. Period. It is a vile and disgusting crime, perhaps the very worst. There are selectively edited videos doing the rounds, as part of a co-ordinated effort to discredit me from establishment Republicans, that suggest I am soft on the subject.

If it somehow comes across (through my own sloppy phrasing or through deceptive editing) that I meant any of the ugly things alleged, let me set the record straight: I am completely disgusted by the abuse of children.

Some facts to consider:

1. I have outed THREE pedophiles in my career as a journalist. That’s three more than any of my critics and a peculiar strategy for a supposed pedophile apologist.

(a) Luke Bozier, former business partner of Louise Mensch

(b) Nicholas Nyberg, anti-GamerGate activist who self-described as a pedophile and white nationalist

(c) Chris Leydon, a London photographer who has a rape trial starting March 13 thanks to my reporting.

2. I have repeatedly expressed disgust at pedophiles in my journalism.

3. I have never defended and would never defend child abusers, as my reporting history shows. The world is messy and complicated, and I recognize it as such, as this furore demonstrates. But that is a red line for any decent person.

However, in the Joe Rogan interview, he refuses to name 1) the priest he had sexual relations with, which he’s just now (conveniently) admitting was sexual abuse and 2) the powerful adults at a Hollywood party he says he attended around 2009 who were having sex with “very young boys”:

Milo: You know I lived in Hollywood a while ago, briefly.

Joe: Did you go to one of [director Brian Singer’s]  parties [who’s been accused of sexually assaulting minors]?

Milo: I went to other people who I won’t name, of a similar stature in Hollywood, I went to their boat parties and to their house parties and similar things and some of the things I have seen have beggared belief.

Joe: Yeah? Can you give us…?

Milo: I don’t want to be indiscreet about specific people….because I think it’s going to be dangerous. But I can tell you the truth without dropping anyone in it. I mean, some of the boys there were very young, very young…. There was a lot of drugs, a lot of ‘twinks’ [gay slang term used to describe young men in their late teens to early twenties] taking drugs and having unsafe sex with older men and some of these boys were very young.

So his fight against the sexual predators of minors seems to be quite selective. In his world view B.C. (before cancellation), pre-pubescents were unequivocally off-limits when it came to adult sexual attention, but sex with a post-pubescent, sexually precocious, willing kid could very well be hunky dory, age of consent laws be damned! Perhaps this perspective was a result of the complicating fact that he himself was abused, as he now admits, by that priest as a young teen and one other adult man: perhaps he’s been struggling to cope with that potentially shame-inducing fact by previously justifying it as a choice, something whole-heartedly different from the “legitimate” child sexual abuse that he formerly believed only happens to kids under a certain age.

But again, the fact remains that age of consent laws — designed to protect kids who, by definition, lack the fully-formed brain function, judgment, and agency to give proper consent to manipulative adult predators — make sexual relationships between adults and kids under 18, 17 or 16 (depending on the state) undeniably criminal. And there are very few people, besides Milo, who would argue that a 13 year old, no matter how sexually precocious, could give real consent to a 28-year old authority figure, even if said adolescent were enthusiastic and saying “yes.” The law certainly doesn’t.

Did he save any face at the press conference?

While reading his written statement at the press conference, he said, “At the time, I did not perceive what was happening to me as abusive. I can look back now and see that it was. I still don’t view myself as a victim. But I am one.” So when he gave these interviews just a year or so ago, he wasn’t a victim but instead a willing partner with agency as are many tweens and teens with adult “mentors”? Now that these statements have been highlighted and scrutinized and met with widespread horror, he’s suddenly a victim? While I do have sympathy for him as a victim of sexual abuse, it’s hard to muster for someone who’s sold out fellow victims all for the glory of attention and money.

During the Q&A portion of the press conference, when a reporter mentioned Milo’s line “I never say anything I don’t mean,” Milo responded that there were only two statements he made during these interviews which he didn’t mean, though he never specifies which two. The time spent on defending at least ephebophilia, maybe even hebephilia, in these podcasts is extensive (as is outlined above — and I didn’t even include all his comments on the topic!). Claiming there are only two measly statements he regrets is a transparent attempt to minimize the gravity of his horrifying verbal diarrhea and banks on the assumption that most people — including the media — won’t painstakingly take the time to listen to it (or outline it) in full.

In response to another question, he tries to dismiss his remarks during these podcasts (save for the two mystery statements he regrets, I guess) as veritable stand-up, whining in a tone he derides so many others for using: “I don’t know why I can’t make a joke about clerical sexual abuse but a drag queen in a club two blocks away can.” You absolutely can! Especially if you’re the victim of such abuse. But only if it’s crystal clear you condemn adult sexual relations with minors; only if you don’t make a long and serious, stone-faced argument for the ability of some minors to offer informed, aware, sexual consent to adults, including Catholic priests. Otherwise, don’t pretend to be outraged for getting called on your bullshit.

And it just wouldn’t be a Milo event if he didn’t totally stick his foot in it at least once: while trying to convey that childhood sexual abuse doesn’t have to define a victim for life, he said, rather indelicately, “It simply isn’t the worst thing that will ever happen to you. Going bankrupt is worse.” No, going morally bankrupt is worse.

What’s the damage done?

In his constant attention-seeking efforts to keep one-upping himself in the outrageousness department, this petulant, smooth-talking troll-boy finally backed himself into a politically incorrect corner. Getting out of it by playing the victim — even if he genuinely is one — after basing his entire career on decrying the “victimhood culture” of marginalized groups will be tricky, maybe impossible. His stupid book will certainly still be published, but with the fresh taint of this scandal around it and without the full power of Simon & Schuster’s marketing department behind it, hopefully his sales will be limp. A radical-feminist harpy can dream!

I’ll admit, sometimes Milo can make a compelling, well-articulated argument, even if I wholeheartedly disagree with him. Sometimes he can be genuinely funny. But too often his rants come at the expense of other people’s dignity and his own human decency. In these particular podcasts, he’s helped perpetuate several destructive myths: that gay men are more likely to be child molesters; that adult female child abusers are the victims of horny male teens (minute 59:00 of the Drunken Peasants podcast); that abuse might make people gay (in another Rogan interview excerpt at minute 13:00 he repeats a favorite claim that his homosexuality is, at least in large part, a transgressive, dissident, high-IQ’d choice to be daring and naughty); that child sexual abuse (especially by Catholic priests) is something to be apologized for, even celebrated (especially by Catholics, which Milo is); that because an underaged victim may have become aroused or reached climax from inappropriate sexual advances means it isn’t actually “real” abuse.

He of course has a right to make these ill-informed, unhelpful arguments; we have a duty to debunk them with better ones.

Want to keep cringing? Check out our
Trump Special Issue


  1. Really excellent analysis. Too many people are having knee-jerk reactions to bits and pieces of second-hand gossip. Having someone go directly to the original material and integrate with other work is as rare as it is wonderful.

    Let’s be honest–this article appeared in a blog devoted to sex. It is unlikely to get the attention it deserves. Please make a major effort to get it picked up elsewhere; in a more sensible world it would be receiving widespread praise.

    1. Aw, shucks Alan! Thank you. Of course, we always love it when people share the link with friends and on social media, so feel free!

Comments are closed.