Milo Yiannopoulos’ book was canceled, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be published
Milo Yiannopoulos’ book was canceled Monday. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be published.
Simon & Schuster took the unusual step of canceling publication of “Dangerous,” by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, after a video surfaced that showed the Breitbart editor appearing to defend sex between young boys and older men.
Yiannopoulos’ book deal — rumored to be for $250,000 — had already been controversial because of the writer’s statements about women, Muslims, Black Lives Matter, transgender people and other groups. For his actions, Yiannopoulos had been suspended from Twitter.
Those things had not dissuaded Threshold Editions, the conservative Simon & Schuster imprint that was to publish “Dangerous” in March. But the video in which Yiannopoulos appeared to defend pedophilia was evidently a bridge too far for parent company Simon & Schuster.
What’s going to happen next? Yiannopoulos’ book might find its way to bookshelves after all. Here are four notable cases of high-profile books that have been canceled; most found their way to readers after all.
“American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis
It’s one of the most violent and notorious books in recent American history, but Bret Easton Ellis’ third novel, “American Psycho,” almost didn’t see the light of day.
Simon & Schuster paid Ellis a reported $300,000 advance for the novel, which follows Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street trader and serial killer with a vicious hatred of women.
Word soon got out about the content of the novel, which features several intensely graphic scenes of sexual assault and murder. Spy and Time magazines ran excerpts from the book, and a huge public outcry ensued.
Simon & Schuster shocked the publishing world in 1990 by canceling the book just weeks before its publication date, an extremely unusual move, especially since Ellis had gained fame with his first two novels, “Less Than Zero” and “The Rules of Attraction.”
The paperback rights to “American Psycho” reverted to Ellis, and he sold the book to Vintage, which published the book as a soft cover original in 1991. The National Organization for Women announced a boycott of Vintage’s parent company, Knopf, but the novel has nevertheless remained in print ever since.
“If I Did It” by O.J. Simpson
Eleven years after the football star was acquitted of murder in the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman, publisher HarperCollins announced it had bought the rights to a book by Simpson called “If I Did It.”
The book, co-written with Pablo Fenjves, was to be published by ReganBooks, a HarperCollins imprint run by Judith Regan, who reportedly paid $3.5 million for the rights to the book and an accompanying two-hour television special.
“If I Did It” wasn’t a confession — it was, according to Simpson, an imagining of how he would have killed his ex-wife and Goldman had he actually done it. (Simpson, now in prison for armed robbery, has maintained his innocence in the slayings.)
When the book and TV deal were announced, the public revolted. Both were quickly canceled, and Regan lost her job the next month, with her imprint being dismantled by HarperCollins.
The following year, Goldman’s family bought the rights to the book in a Simpson bankruptcy proceeding. They had been unable to collect on a $38-million judgment against Simpson they had been awarded in a wrongful death civil suit.
In 2007, independent press Beaufort Books released the book under the title “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.” The word “If” was rendered in a tiny font, making the title look like “I Did It.”
Many booksellers refused to display the book but sold it to customers who asked, making it a bestseller in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The book is still in print.
“Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up” by Paula Deen
Fans of cooking television were shocked in 2013 when Deen, a Georgia chef known for her broad smile, Dixie accent and famously butter-heavy recipes, admitted that she had used the “N-word” in the past.
Deen was being sued for racial discrimination by an employee who alleged that the chef had used slurs when talking about African Americans and had once considered (but later rejected) a plantation-themed wedding for her brother featuring African American servers.
The lawsuit was dismissed, but the damage to Deen’s reputation had already been done. She lost business deals with a host of companies including the Food Network, Wal-Mart and Sears.
She also lost her book deal with Ballantine, which had planned to publish “Paula Deen’s New Testament,” a cookbook featuring healthy recipes, in October 2013.
She wasn’t without a publisher for long. In March 2015, Hachette announced it would sell and distribute the chef’s books through her company Paula Deen Ventures.
Later that year, a book with a new title but the original subtitle, “Paula Deen Cuts the Fat: 250 Famous Recipes All Lightened Up” was released. It remains in print and has an average rating of 4 ½ stars on Amazon.
Untitled by Jian Ghomeshi
A household name in Canada for years, most Americans hadn’t heard of Canadian radio broadcaster Ghomeshi until he was arrested in 2014 and charged with sexual assault and choking.
Canadians knew him as the co-founder and drummer for the band Moxy Fruvous and for his popular Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show, “Q,” also broadcast on NPR stations in the U.S., in which he interviewed a series of entertainers and artists.
He was also an author. His memoir “1982” was published by Penguin Random House Canada to mixed reviews, and he had a deal for a follow-up book.
That changed after Ghomeshi was accused of sexual assault by an ex-girlfriend and several other women, and fired by the CBC. Nine days after his termination, Penguin Random House Canada announced it would not be publishing his follow-up book “in light of recent events.”
No details about Ghomeshi’s second book had been released.
Ghomeshi was acquitted of the sexual assault charges last March, with one charge being withdrawn by prosecutors.
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