Simon & Schuster Pulls Milo Yiannopoulos’ Book Deal Over Pedophilia Comments

Vile remarks in video clip cost white supremacist Yiannopoulos a $250,000 deal to make more vile remarks in book form

Milo Yiannopoulos
Milo Yiannopoulos, photo by Kmeron on Wikimedia Commons

Simon & Schuster is withdrawing Breitbart editor and white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos’ book deal after a video that surfaced this weekend showed him trivializing pedophilia and questioning the “arbitrary and oppressive” age of consent. In December Simon & Schuster agreed to pay a $250,000 advance for the memoir, which was due out on June 13th.

The publisher’s statement, released late on Monday, said:

“After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos.”

The book world widely condemned S&S’s initial decision to publish Yiannopoulos. Roxane Gay, who withdrew her forthcoming work, How to be Heard, from Simon & Schuster’s TED Books imprint in protest over the publisher’s relationship with Yiannopoulos, isn’t letting the latest developments change her stance. Yesterday, she wrote on her blog:

“My protest stands. Simon & Schuster should have never enabled Milo in the first place. I see what they are willing to tolerate and I stand against all of it. Also, I’ve received far better offers for How to Be Heard from other publishers.

Simon & Schuster isn’t alone in its about-face — the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is also slated to host a speech by the President, cancelled Yiannopoulos’s engagement. Editors at Breitbart are reportedly threatening to quit if Yiannopoulos isn’t fired by the alt-right media outlet.

This episode is a small triumph for those of us who felt that an author of hate speech should never have been given a book deal in the first place. But the emphasis here is on the word ‘small’ — in some ways Yiannopolous, or at least the majority of what he stands for, has been vindicated. He has denigrated others based on their race, gender, sexuality, and religion. This stance has garnered him a huge following — that’s why Simon & Schuster offered him such a huge advance in the first place. Those who support his popularity and/or book deal often cite an author’s right to free speech, a right to which they apparently hold the lone key. Drawing a line at Yiannopolos’ most recent remarks about pedophilia only highlights the fact that white supremacy — literally the enforced domination of the white male Christian race over other human beings — is still somehow considered a “worldview,” rather than a crime against humanity. So yes, Yiannopolous’ comments about pedophilia are vile, but please, check your surprise at the door.

Update, 5:32pm: Yiannopoulos has reportedly resigned from Breitbart.

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