Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos lost his lucrative book deal with Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Books on Monday after making some controversial remarks about pedophilia, and many are counting the cancelation of Dangerous as a win. Roxane Gay's response to Milo Yiannopoulos' canceled book is spot-on, and is a must-read for anyone who has kept up with the drama thus far.
Simon & Schuster Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate Communications Adam Rothberg tweeted Monday that the publisher and its imprint had elected to cancel Yiannopoulos' $250,000 book deal, "[a]fter careful consideration." Video surfaced recently of Yiannopoulos, who was sexually abused by a priest when he was a young teen, espousing the merits of sexual relationships between children and adults. The statements have divided his base, and Yiannopoulos' indefensible stance on pedophilia has cost him a speaking gig at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Unfortunately, Simon & Schuster and CPAC didn't drop Yiannopoulos because of his anti-Semitism, his racist smear campaigns targeting Leslie Jones and Shaun King, or his harassment of a trans student at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. They did not listen to those of us who were outraged at their decision to give a wider platform to Yiannopoulos and his vileness.
In her Monday blog post, Roxane Gay says it perfectly:
[Simon & Schuster] did not finally “do the right thing” and now we know where their threshold, pun intended, lies. They were fine with his racist and xenophobic and sexist ideologies. They were fine with his transphobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They were fine with how he encourages his followers to harass women and people of color and transgender people online.
Last month, Gay pulled her book in protest of Yiannopoulos' deal. How to Be Heard was slated for publication by Simon & Schuster imprint TED Books. Threshold then moved the publication date for Dangerous back to June 13, a move that would have given it the same book birthday as Gay's next release, Hunger, which comes out from HarperCollins. Gay says she "was neither threatened nor concerned but it did reinforce for me that [Simon & Schuster] was not a company [she] wanted to do business with." Therefore, she won't be returning How to Be Heard to TED Books or any other Simon & Schuster imprint.
As Gay points out, the decision to rescind Yiannopoulos' contract with Simon & Schuster is strictly business, just as it was "a business decision when they decided to publish that man in the first place. When his comments about pedophilia/pederasty came to light, Simon & Schuster realized it would cost them more money to do business with Milo than he could earn for them."
It's telling that Simon & Schuster's and CPAC's relationships with Yiannopoulos were only disturbed when he had the audacity to suggest that modern pederasty might have merits. No, that's wrong. Yiannopoulos had already made his statements when he landed his book deal and his speaking role. Those statements had to be widely distributed in order to cause a fuss. The publisher and political organization certainly weren't fazed by any of his other hateful rhetoric, even when it incited violence. Someone had to reveal that Yiannopoulos had gone so far as to suggest that sexual molestation of children could be beneficial in order for him to feel some real, wallet-smacking backlash.
That is not OK.