Roxane Gay Nixes Simon & Schuster Project Amid Milo Yiannopoulos Book Deal

roxane gay cancels simon schuster book deal miloWikicommons

Roxane Gay is side-eyeing the fuck out of Simon & Schuster right now, and for good reason.

The best-seller and Bad Feminist author was not very pleased with reports of a book deal between Simon & Schuster and problematic Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.roxane gay drops simon schuster how to be heard book deal

To catch you up to speed, Yiannopoulos, in short, is quite the douche bag. He is a self-described “super-villain”; now-banned Twitter bully; and (reluctant) homosexual, who once advised gay men “get back in the closet” and suggested trans people were afflicted with mental illness. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, he might also be adding author to his resume.

On December 29, 2016, THR reported that Yiannopoulos received a $250,000 book deal for his forthcoming memoir, Dangerous, with Threshold Editions, an imprint Simon & Schuster. While the publishing house nor Threshold have yet to corroborate claims of this deal or the editor’s supposed quarter-million dollar advance with an official statement, the buzz of their alleged collaboration was enough to ruffle the feathers of the best-selling author.

Along with authors Rainbow Rowell and Tim Federle, Gay chimed in on the news of Yiannopoulos’ alleged book deal by withdrawing her forthcoming project out from Simon & Schuster. Gay told her agent to nix her collaboration with the publishing house for her upcoming book, How to Be Heard, which was slated for March 2018, BuzzFeed News reported.

In a detailed, perfectly summed up statement provided to BuzzFeed News, Gay aired out her frustrations at Simon & Schuster’s supposed new dealings with Yiannopoulos:

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.

While Simon & Schuster has yet to release an official response to Gay’s departure, the author has left little room for interpretation by taking her stance on Twitter in defense of her decision. In other words, she isn’t bothered by the Twitter trolls chastising her for turning down the chance to have her work recognized on a platform of such scale.

Personally, I think it’s amazing to see authors, especially those of color, like myself, stand up to bigots like Milo. There was nothing un-classy about Gay’s exit and withdrawal, and her statement proves just that. It’s also nice to know that she doesn’t take any of her “privileges” for granted, and she’s well-aware the platform she’s been given is a great one. But creative expression at the expense of one’s own moral integrity is not something that can be negotiated or compromised.

Lastly, even though she didn’t have to explain herself or the reasons behind her decision, it’s endearing to know that Gay is a woman of her word. She’s leading by example and won’t allow the media to muzzle her, or the Twitter trolls to get in the way of what she stands for. I couldn’t have more respect for this woman than I do in this moment.

Kudos to you, Roxane!

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Paris Close
the authorParis Close

Founding Editor. Give me Gillian Flynn or give me death.