Milo Yiannopoulos, the controversial right-wing provocateur, resigned as senior editor from Breitbart News on Tuesday amid controversy stemming from year-old comments he made appearing to condone sexual relationships between “younger boys and older men.”
“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,” Yiannopoulos said in a statement. “This decision is mine alone.”
Yiannopoulos’ resignation came after the Conservative Political Action Conference rescinded his invitation to give the keynote speech, which had been set for later this week, and Simon & Schuster canceled his book deal. Several Breitbart employees were reportedly ready to walk out if Yiannopoulos had been allowed to keep his job.
“Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved,” Yiannopoulos said. “They allowed me to carry conservative and libertarian ideas to communities that would otherwise never have heard them. They have been a significant factor in my success. I’m grateful for that freedom and for the friendships I forged there.”
Yiannopoulos said in his statement that “when your friends have done right by you, you do right by them.” He said he wanted to step aside so his “colleagues at Breitbart can get back to the great work they do.”
A Breitbart representative said in a statement that Yiannopoulos notified the company on Tuesday morning of his decision and that it was accepted.
Yiannopoulos came under fire over the weekend after a right-leaning blog posted audio of an appearance he made on the “Drunken Peasants” podcast. Yiannopoulos had said he thought the age of consent “is probably about right,” but added that “there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age.”
At a Tuesday press conference, Yiannopoulos reiterated an earlier apology, saying he did “say some things on the tapes which I do not mean and do not reflect my views.”
“I would like to express my disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors,” Yiannopoulos said, adding that he was a victim of sex abuse when he was a teenager.
“My experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to on this subject, no matter how outrageous,” he said. “But I understand that my usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation, and gallows humor might have come across as flippancy, a lack of care for other victims, or, worse, advocacy. I am horrified by that impression.”
At his press conference, Yiannopoulos said he would announce a new “independently funded media venture” and a new tour in the next few weeks. He also said his book has received interest from other publishers and will come out later this year, “with perhaps an additional chapter.”
“I started my career as a technology reporter who wrote about politics, but I have since become something else,” he said. “I am a performer with millions of fans in America and beyond.”
Yiannopoulos added: “My full focus is now going to be on entertaining and educating everyone – left, right, and otherwise. If you want to brand or stereotype me, good luck with that.”
Editor’s note: Milo Yiannopoulos has previously written columns published by Business Insider.