NEW YORK (AP) — Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos calls himself the “most fabulous supervillain on the internet” and that’s probably not an exaggeration. He’s angered everyone from liberals to the alt-right with his controversial comments.
His Twitter account was suspended after a series of racially insensitive tweets aimed at “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones. His defense of sexual relationships between men and boys cost him his job at Breitbart News and a book deal with Simon and Schuster. He apologized for joking about such a serious issue, but said he thought he could get away with it since he says he’s a survivor himself.
Recently, the 32-year old who sees himself more as “lovable rogue” than a hatemonger and whose self-published autobiography, “Dangerous,” is an Amazon best-seller, sat down with The Associated Press to clarify his stance on a variety of issues.
Yiannopoulos, who is gay, says his comments regarding teenage boys having sex with older men were misguided,
“I did say something in the course of that conversation that I didn’t intend, and for that I apologized. And I think it was right to do so because when people say things they don’t mean they should clarify the situation,” Yiannopoulos says. “As someone who experienced child-abuse when he was younger I kind of figured I could talk about whatever I wanted.”
Yiannopoulos explained he was speaking of the specific dynamic that arises when young gay teens from challenging home environments form relationships with older gay men.
“I did it incautiously and I did it in sloppy language,” he says. But added: “If I want to joke about a priest who did whatever he did to me when I was younger, I’m entitled to do so, and I will continue to do so as I do in the book.”
DISCOVERING THE NAME OF A PRIEST WHO MOLESTED HIM:
“I haven’t told any other interviewers this, but I have done some preliminary research into this and my understanding is that the guy is dead now. So, I will think about it. I don’t know if I want to turn it into a big circus for six months, name and shame of whatever. If the guy’s dead, he’s dead,” Yiannopoulos says.
He says he will donate 10 percent of his book royalties to victims of sexual abuse.
TRUMP AS A GAY-FRIENDLY PRESIDENT
Yiannopoulos calls Donald Trump the most gay-friendly president in history, claiming he judges the man on his actions more than his words.
“(Trump) said he would not seek to change gay marriage, or equal marriage, as the left likes to call it. He said he didn’t mind what bathroom Caitlyn Jenner wants to use.”
The Republican president broke from Barack Obama’s practice of issuing a proclamation in honor of Pride Month, but Yiannopoulos says “it doesn’t bother me.”
“I don’t care about that. What I care about is the president protecting gay people from foreign policy, through strong borders, and stuff like that. I think you will find a lot of Republican gays believe that, too… They don’t care about rainbow flags on twitter icons. They don’t care about celebrities saying love wins after terrorism incidents.”
ON ARIANA GRANDE
One of those celebrities is Ariana Grande. After a bomber killed 22 people at the pop singer’s concert in Manchester, England, she released a statement saying, “We won’t let hate win,” She later organized a benefit concert for victims of the terror attack, which raised more than $13 million.
“Gays are soundly unimpressed by Ariana Grande’s reaction to the concert. She should have turned around and struck a blow in culture for the supreme and great values of Western civilization instead of just saying, ‘Love wins, let’s end hate,’ you know. What does that even mean?” he says.
“She could have said radical Islam is evil, murderous, and a threat to the American way of life. The American way of life that has given me so much success and keeps me safe. And how do you know that? Because the first place she flew to be safe right after that happened was back home to the United States.”
ON POTENTIAL RUSSIAN COLLUSION WITH U.S. ELECTION
Yiannopoulos has been a staunch defender of Trump during the ongoing Russia investigations, but that could change if evidence points back to the president.
“We know perfectly well that people at the top of campaigns sometimes don’t know what’s going on around them. If Donald Trump was directly involved in collusion with the Russian government and that’s the only thing that got him elected then that does change things, sure,” he says.
NO LOVE FROM THE ALT-RIGHT:
While he claims to share some views with alt-right groups, Yiannopoulos distances himself from those groups.
“Are you kidding me, they hate me. People on the far right hate me as much as people on the far left. The Daily Stormer, which is the neo-Nazi hub of the internet declared a holy war on me. They said they were going to take a crusade against me. I was, in their words, ‘the single greatest threat’ to their movement, and they said they were going to boycott Breitbart until Breitbart fired me. This is what you’ll never know from reading news stories about me,” Yiannopoulos says.