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Originally posted from BuzzFeed
Roxane Gay has pulled her forthcoming book, How to Be Heard, from Simon & Schuster in response to its reported $250,000 book deal with Milo Yiannopoulous.
Yiannopoulous is a conservative writer and prominent alt-right spokesperson who received a $250,000 book deal with Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. He was also the front-runner for harassing Leslie Jones, star of Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters.
Gay’s book, “How to be Heard” was scheduled to be published in March 2018 with TED Books, an imprint of S&S. She met with Buzzfeed and discussed her decision at length. She asked her agent to pull her book from their line up. She shared, “I can’t in good conscience let them publish [my book] while they also publish Milo. So I told my agent over the weekend to pull the project.”
Her decision stands despite a letter Simon & Schuster’s CEO sent Monday to concerned authors that promised Yiannopoulos’s book would not contain hate speech.
Gay said she “couldn’t bring herself” to turn the book in because she was not interested in doing business with a publisher willing to give Milo Yiannopoulos a platform.
When the announcement about Milo’s book first came out, I was relieved because I thought I didn’t have a book with Simon & Schuster and tweeted something to that effect. Then I remembered my TED Book and that TED is an imprint of Simon & Schuster. I was supposed to turn the book in this month and I kept thinking about how egregious it is to give someone like Milo a platform for his blunt, inelegant hate and provocation. I just couldn’t bring myself to turn the book in. My editor emailed me last week and I kept staring at that email in my inbox and finally over the weekend I asked my agent to pull the book.
Though TED Books and Threshold are vastly different imprints, they both reside within Simon & Schuster and so I guess I’m putting my money where my mouth is. And to be clear, this isn’t about censorship. Milo has every right to say what he wants to say, however distasteful I and many others find it to be. He doesn’t have a right to have a book published by a major publisher but he has, in some bizarre twist of fate, been afforded that privilege. So be it. I’m not interested in doing business with a publisher willing to grant him that privilege. I am also fortunate enough to be in a position to make this decision. I recognize that other writers aren’t and understand that completely.
The editor of TED Books is Michelle Quint. I don’t think Michelle is an employee of Simon & Schuster. She works for TED. She is, from my experience thus far, smart, kind, patient, and committed to putting good books into the world.
How to Be Heard has not been placed elsewhere yet.
We stand with Gay and applaud her for standing for her values and beliefs.