Several Simon & Schuster authors are revolting after their publisher signed a $250,000 book deal with Milo Yiannopoulos — an editor with Breitbart News and vocal leader within the “alt-right,” a white nationalist movement. (And the same man who bathed in pigs’ blood at a “pro-Trump art show“.)
Danielle Henderson, a writer for HBO, has a memoir scheduled for publication by Simon & Schuster next year and took to her private Twitter account to voice her outrage. According to The UK Times she tweeted, “I’m looking at my @simonschuster contract, and unfortunately there’s no clause for ‘what if we decide to publish a white nationalist.’ “
She was joined by fellow Simon & Schuster author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Karen Hunter, who tweeted, “I am rethinking my relationship with @simonschuster #Milo.”
On Henderson’s Twitter profile she wrote that she switched her account to private through January “so I can work on my book instead of blocking racist trolls all day.”
Yiannopoulos was himself banned from the social media platform after instigating a racist Twitter attack against Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones in July.
And while Simon & Schuster tweeted a statement in which they argued “we do not and never have condoned discrimination or hate speech in any form” and that the books they publish “do not reflect either a corporate viewpoint or the views of our employees,” for Jones that line of reasoning isn’t enough. On Monday she tweeted, “@SimonBooks @threshold_books @simonschuster yea but you still help them spread their hate to even more people.”
The three women aren’t the only ones outraged. According to The Bookseller, Simon & Schuster UK refuses to publish the book. Dangerous, due for release in March, is reportedly about “free speech” and has already risen to become a number-one bestseller on Amazon.com.
In contrast, its U.S. counterpart asks that readers “withhold judgment until they have had a chance to read” the book. But for many, there is fear that the publication of the book will only help to normalize bigotry.
The Chicago Review of Books shares that view, and announced on Twitter that it will not review a single Simon & Schuster book in 2017, because they view the Yiannopoulos deal a “disgusting validation of hate.”