Milo Yiannopoulous is leaving the Alt-right news site Breitbart after appearing to condone sexual attraction to children. The British editor has regularly courted controversy in the way he tackles contentious issues.
Already reviled by his critics as racist and misogynistic, Yiannopoulous resigned on Tuesday after an audio recording was leaked on Twitter over the weekend in which he defended men having sex with children as young as 13.
At a news conference in New York, the British national conceded that he had made a "poor choice of words." He praised Breitbart who had "stood by me when others caved," in reference to losing a book deal and a speaking engagement over the controversy.
Yiannopoulous said uproar was detracting from the work of the far-right news site where he has worked since October 2015.
In the recording, the 33-year-old told a radio host: "No, no, no. 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," he added.
Yiannopoulos has made several other statements in response to the controversy, describing in one, how he himself had been a victim of child abuse.
On Facebook on Monday, he expressed regret for using the word "boys" instead of young men while discussing the benefits of relationships between men with large age differences.
Denying that he had condoned pedophilia, he said: "I find those crimes to be absolutely disgusting. I find those people to be disgusting."
Yiannopoulos' career grew out of the popularity of far-right websites which supported US President Donald Trump's election campaign. He is an avid supporter of the billionaire - who he affectionately calls "Daddy." Just like the real estate magnate, the Briton has regularly been accused of racism and misogyny.
Often courting criticism for his outspoken complaints about "political correctness," Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter last year for provoking online harassment of black actress Leslie Jones.
Earlier this month, the University of California at Berkeley cancelled a planned speech by Yiannopoulos after protests against him turned violent.
mm/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)