January 5, 2017
Openly racist and misogynistic writer Milo Yiannopoulos signs huge US book deal
by Nikki Griffiths
Milo Yiannopoulos. What a guy.
A British journalist and technology editor for Breitbart News, the US-based far-right news and opinion website that’s been called “an online haven for white nationalists,” Yiannopoulos is a self-proclaimed spokesperson for the alt-right, a group presenting an alternative ideology to mainstream conservatism in the United States, associated with white supremacy and the rejection of immigration and multiculturalism.
He was permanently banned from Twitter in July 2016 for trolling, particularly for his abuse of actress Leslie Jones for her role in the new Ghostbusters movie. He is a proud misogynist openly opposing feminism, and, despite being gay himself, he opposes gay rights, saying he would “cure” himself if he could. He is of course a firm Trump supporter. And his hate-spreading endeavours have paid off — he has just been rewarded a $250,000 book deal with Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
Yiannopoulos told the Hollywood Reporter’s Paul Bond:
“I met with top execs at Simon & Schuster earlier in the year and spent half an hour trying to shock them with lewd jokes and outrageous opinions. I thought they were going to have me escorted from the building — but instead they offered me a wheelbarrow full of money….
“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.”
The autobiographical book, entitled Dangerous, is publishing this March and briefly peaked at number one on Amazon’s bestseller list thanks to pre-orders.
As you might expect, the backlash from the publishing industry has been substantial. The Chicago Review of Books announced on Twitter that it would not be reviewing any Simon & Schuster books in 2017. Two Simon & Schuster authors, Karen Hunter and Danielle Henderson, took to social media to share their discontent, with Hunter tweeting that she’s “rethinking my relationship” with the company, and Henderson writing, “I have calls in with my editor, agent and lawyer. This is too personal for me to ignore.”
Simon & Schuster responded by issuing a statement defending the decision:
We do not and have never condoned discrimination or hate speech in any form. At Simon & Schuster we have always published books by a wide range of authors with greatly varying, and frequently controversial opinions, and appealing to many different audiences of readers. While we are cognizant that many may disagree vehemently with the books we publish we note that the opinions expressed therein belong to our authors, and do not reflect either a corporate viewpoint or the views of our employees.
Yiannopoulos’s biggest fan, Leslie Jones, responded to the statement on Twitter with: “yea but you still help them spread their hate to even more people.” And The Bookseller has reported that Simon & Schuster UK will not be publishing the book. A biogotted Brit abroad is one thing, but perhaps we do not want to claim him as one of our own…?
A grim start to 2017.
Nikki Griffiths is the managing director of Melville House UK.