roxane gay pulls her new book from simon & schuster following milo controversy

'I kept thinking about how egregious it is to give someone like Milo a platform for his blunt, inelegant hate and provocation,' the 'Bad Feminist' author said.

by Hannah Ongley
25 January 2017, 11:30pm

In July of last year, professional internet troll Milo Yiannopolous was rightfully booted from Twitter after spurring a barrage of online abuse towards comedian Leslie Jones. But he has since found another outlet for his controversial thoughts — and will be compensated for it in far more than just RTs. Milo received a reported $250,000 advance from Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, for his book Dangerous. Understandably, people weren't too happy about it — one of them being badass Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay, who has just pulled one of her forthcoming books from the publishing house in response to the controversy.

Roxane's book How to be Heard was scheduled to be published in March 2018 under TED Books — which the author was unaware was an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In a statement given to Buzzfeed News, she explained her decision to yank the title after learning about the connection.

"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," she said. "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."

Roxane says the decision is about "putting my money where my mouth is" rather than a statement about censorship. While Milo has a right to say what he wants, "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." She adds that she is fortunate enough to be in the position to be able to say no, and understands that not all writers are in such a position.

The announcement comes just two days after Simon & Schuster's CEO sent a letter to authors reassuring them that Milo's book would not contain hate speech — leading many people to wonder what, then, it would contain. How to be Heard, meanwhile, has not yet been picked up by another publisher, but it's surely only a matter of time. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Twitter

Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist
Milo Yiannopolous
simon & schuster