Who Is Milo Yiannopoulos and Why Did Simon & Schuster Cancel His Book Deal?

In July 2016, Milo Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter after leading other users of the social media platform in attacking actress Leslie Jones

Far-right editor Milo Yiannopoulos has frequently come under fire for his controversial, far-right views, but this time his resurfaced comments appearing to condone pedophilia have cost him a book deal, a speaking engagement and now, even his job at Breibart News.

Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart on Tuesday amid widespread backlash over his pedophilia comments. “Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved,” he said in a statement, adding, “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, effective immediately.”

His resignation follows the cancelation of his book deal with Simon & Schuster and his speaking engagement at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Publisher Simon & Schuster announced Monday that its conservative imprint, Threshold Editions, had canceled Yiannopoulos’ upcoming book, Dangerous, due to the comments. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal for the book due to be published in June was worth $250,000.

“After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have canceled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos,” the publisher said in a statement on the book, which has already been removed from Amazon.

The Breitbart editor, 33, also shared the news on Facebook Monday, writing, “They canceled my book.”

The cancellation came one day after a conservative advocacy group, Reagan Battalion, posted clips of Yiannopoulos, who is gay, in which he laughed off pedophilia committed by Roman Catholic priests and defended adult men having sexual relationships with boys as young as 13.

“In the homosexual world particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men the sort of coming of age relationships in which those older men have helped those young boys to discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable — and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents,” Yiannopoulos said in an episode of the Drunken Peasants podcast, uploaded to YouTube on January 4, 2016.

Yiannopoulos on Monday defended himself in a Facebook post, writing in part, “I do not advocate for illegal behavior.”



But the comments weren’t enough to appease the American Conservative Union (ACU), which rescinded Yiannopoulos’ booking to speak at this year’s CPAC, where President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to appear.

Matt Schlapp, president of the ACU, which sponsors the conference, said in a statement, “We continue to believe that CPAC is a constructive forum for controversies and disagreements among conservatives, however there is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children.”

According to The New York Times, there’s also discussion at Breitbart about whether Yiannopoulos should remain on staff.

So who is this far-right editor, and why does he call himself a “virtuous troll?” Read on to learn more:

Who is Milo Yiannopoulos?

Born in Greece and raised in England, Yiannopoulos has worked as a senior editor for Breitbart News since October 2015. He got his start writing about technology news after launching his own website, The Kernel, in November 2011. His time there was clouded with controversy: The publication became embroiled in a legal battle after failing to pay several contributors, and eventually closed. However, German backers relaunched the website before an acquisition by Daily Dot Media, after which Yiannopoulos stepped down as editor-in-chief.

He then gained notoriety for his coverage of “Gamergate,” which is the term that describes sexism in video game culture. In the controversy, Yiannopoulos took the position of saying that people were too “politically correct” in talking about the issue.

In October 2015, Yiannopoulos was hired by Breitbart News Network as an editor in the tech vertical. On the website — which former Breitbart executive chairman and current Trump advisor Stephen Bannon once called “the platform for the alt-right —Yiannopoulos has published controversial articles such as “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” and “16 Movements Less Ridiculous Than Black Lives Matter.”

He’s also made derogatory comments about a number of groups: Feminists, transgender people, Muslims, racial minorities, and the LGBT community.

What about his book?

In late December 2016, Simon & Schuster announced a $250,000 book deal with Yiannopoulos, for an autobiographical book called Dangerous. The publishing house was criticized for the move: The Chicago Review of Books said they won’t review any Simon & Schuster books in the next year because of their “disgusting validation of hate” and author Roxane Gay even pulled her upcoming book from Simon & Schuster in wake of the news.

“We have always published books by a wide range of authors with greatly varying, and frequently controversial opinions,” Simon & Schuster said in the week after announcing the deal. They asked readers to “withhold judgment until they have had a chance to read the actual contents of the book.”

Clearly, however, there was an audience for Yiannopoulos’s book: It shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list, based on pre-orders alone.

“Every line of attack the forces of political correctness try on me fails pathetically. I’m more powerful, more influential and more fabulous than ever before, and this book is the moment Milo goes mainstream. Social justice warriors should be scared — very scared,” he told The Hollywood Reporter after the deal was announced.

Is this his first brush with controversy?

No. The University of California, Berkeley, recently canceled his speaking engagement there after protests against him turned violent.

The planned appearance was canceled two hours before the event was set to begin, after a crowd of more than 1,500 gathered outside the venue, according to a statement released by the university.

Yiannopoulos, who had faced backlash over scheduled speaking engagements at universities in the past, responded to the protests on his Facebook page, writing that he had been evacuated after “violent left-wing protesters tore down barricades, lit fire, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground floor of the building.”


While many disagree with Yiannopoulos’ viewpoint, others have stood by him, saying that silencing him would be an attack on free speech.

And what about that Twitter ban?

In July 2016, Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter after leading other users of the social media platform in attacking actress Leslie Jones with a barrage of racist and offensive tweets. The official reasoning for the “permanent suspension” given by Twitter was “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”

Yiannopoulos, whose Twitter account had previously been suspended after he changed his profile to describe himself as Buzzfeed’s “social justice editor,” said via Breitbart that he was banned due to his conservative views. Yiannopoulos called Twitter’s shutdown of his account an attack on free speech.

“With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives,” he said.

Didn’t I see him recently?

If you’re an HBO fan, yes. He stopped by HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night, where Yiannopoulos criticized Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman as people who “used to be funny before they contracted feminism.”

“You’re literally the only good [liberal],” Yiannopoulos told host Bill Maher, before slamming Girls creator and star Lena Dunham as the poster woman for the Democratic Party’s issues. “The Democrats are the party of Lena Dunham. These people are mental, hideous people, and the more that America sees of Lena Dunham, the fewer votes that the Democratic Party is going to get.”

“Let’s not pick on fellow HBO stars,” Maher replied, drawing laughs. “There are so many other people.”

“I hurt people for a reason,” Yiannopoulos said. “I like to think of myself as a virtuous troll.”

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