As we have all heard by now, that awful, awful man defended pedophilia. Milo Yiannopoulos lost a plum speaking engagement at CPAC, a book deal with Simon & Schuster, and the tolerance of all decent people when he spoke his mind about you know what. Today, he resigned from his job at Breitbart.
Yiannopoulos, in fact, did not defend pedophilia, though the media didn't let that stand in the way of breathless reporting. Below is an example from the New York Times.
After the video was leaked on Twitter by a conservative group called the Reagan Battalion, Mr. Yiannopoulos denied that he had ever condoned child sexual abuse, noting that he was a victim himself. He blamed his “British sarcasm” and “deceptive editing” for leading to a misunderstanding.
But in the tape, the fast-talking polemicist is clear that he has no problem with older men abusing children as young as 13, which he then conflates with relationships between older and younger gay men who are of consenting age.
“No, no, no. You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means,” Mr. Yiannopoulos says on the tape, in which he is talking to radio hosts in a video chat. “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,” he adds, dismissing the fact that 13-year-olds are children. [My emphasis.]...dismissing the fact that 13-year-olds are children. There. That is dishonest and manipulative.
Some 13-year-olds have gone through puberty and some have not and that difference is an important division when it comes to pedophilia. Whether we consider 13-year-olds to be children has nothing to do with pedophilia.
Yiannopoulos is correct. Pedophilia is an attraction to children who have not reached puberty, a fact dismissed by the reporters in their eagerness to impress upon their readers that Yiannopoulos must want to have sex with 13-year-olds.
It is clear that he did not defend pedophilia and yet headline after headline tells us he did.
Knowing that Yiannopoulus got this one unpopular fact right makes him more trustworthy than all the reporters and editors who dismiss truth that would get in the way of a salacious story.
Why is this important? The misunderstanding about pedophilia is used to label people who are not pedophiles. It is also used to drum up fear about those who actually are pedophiles but are not dangerous.
Speak up when pedophiles are demonized and when sex offenders are mislabeled by those who are too lazy or dishonest to get it right.