Milo Yiannopoulos, an infamous self-proclaimed troll and provocateur, announced his resignation from his senior editor position at Breitbart News on Tuesday, Feb. 21 after negative reactions to his endorsement of sex between children and older men. In a video that recently surfaced on the web, Yiannopoulos commented on juvenile sex by stating, “People are messy and complex and in a homosexual world particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming-of-age relationships, have helped those young boys to discover who they are.” In this statement, Yiannopoulos paints sexual relations between older men and underaged boys as a way for these adolescents to find guidance and comfort, when in fact, he is simply condoning pedophilia.
Sexual relations between older men and adolescent boys isn’t as monochromatic as Yiannopoulos is depicting it to be. There are dire consequences to these kinds of relationships, and in no way can sexual affiliation between an adult and a younger child, homosexual or not, be conceived as appropriate, let alone character-building. Additionally, it is vexing as to how Yiannopoulos could have made such a tactless comment since he has admitted to being sexually abused himself during his teens. How does a man that has gone through sexual abuse speak about this topic in such a blase manner? How does one go from encountering such a horrible incident at a young age to making a comment that practically praises the heinous act?
This is not an isolated incident. Yiannopoulos also commented specifically on sex between older men and 13-year-old boys in his post-resignation interview by claiming that, “Pedophilia is not sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty.” Sexual maturity is defined as the age or stage at which an organism is able to reproduce. So just because a 13-year-old is technically able to reproduce, does that mean that a he or she is also emotionally mature enough to make clear decisions about sex? The answer is no, and the reason being is that at 13 years old, there is a significant lack of emotional intelligence to make such decisions, which is why there is a law that declares people of ages under 18 to be minors. Now, if we were talking about this from a developmental standpoint where we were considering the maturity of biological factors, the answer would still be no. Since when has the cut-off age for male puberty been 13 years old?
While Yiannopoulos has taken some responsibility for his negligent choice of words by resigning from Breitbart, his sincerity regarding repentance for his misconduct is significantly in question. In an interview Yiannopoulos gave following his resignation, he deflects from his wrongdoings by blaming it on the media, claiming the situation to be a “cynical media witch-hunt” designed to bring about his demise. To further his lack of “remorse,” he stated that this clip of him has been out for almost a year, and that although he has made some outrageous comments, he has done nothing wrong and that the media outlets will fail in their plan to take him down.
So here we are, receiving what seems to be a somewhat sincere apology from Yiannopoulos, and then he claims that he hasn’t necessarily done anything wrong; this is clearly a one step forward, two steps back situation we’re dealing with. We thus should not be fooled by his resignation; he really isn’t sorry about his comments, but rather is sorry about the repercussions of his actions, which he now has to deal with. No matter which way you look at it, there really isn’t a way to justify Yiannopoulos’ remarks regarding pedophilia and it’s hard to grant forgiveness to a man who really doesn’t understand what he is being forgiven for. While it was a good effort to try to buy the exoneration from his gaffe through a faux remorse-filled interview, it’s going to take a lot more than that to garner true forgiveness from the people he has deeply offended.