Roxane Gay withdraws Simon & Schuster book over Milo Yiannopoulos

Roxane Gay withdraws Simon & Schuster book over Milo Yiannopoulos
Roxane Gay has withdrawn a book over the publisher's deal with Milo Yiannopoulos. (Jay Grabiec)

Bestselling author Roxane Gay has withdrawn a book from Simon & Schuster in protest of its deal with Milo Yiannopoulos.

Gay, author of the bestselling essay collection "Bad Feminist" and the new short story collection "Difficult Women," has pulled her forthcoming book from publisher Simon & Schuster in the wake of its decision to publish a book by the controversial British conservative writer, she told BuzzFeed on Wednesday.


"I can't in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo," Gay explained.

Gay's book, "How to Be Heard," was due to be published by TED Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint. Yiannopoulos, a high-profile voice on the "alt-right" website Breitbart, has a book coming out on another Simon & Schuster imprint, Threshold Editions. The imprint publishes conservative authors such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and President Trump

At the end of December, after news about Yiannopoulos' deal broke in the Hollywood Reporter — a rumored $250,000 — there was much conversation, both for and against.

Milo Yiannopoulo
Milo Yiannopoulo (David Ng / Los Angeles Times)

Yiannopoulos' book, "Dangerous," is scheduled for publication on March 14.

"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," Gay explained to BuzzFeed. "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."

Yiannopoulos is a provocateur who has drawn outrage from critics on the left for his frequently incendiary comments, such as "America has a Muslim problem." He was banned from Twitter after a series of insulting tweets about comedian and "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones, whom he referred to as a "black dude."

A number of people in publishing, including authors, booksellers and critics, had taken their concerns about Yiannopoulos' book deal to parent company Simon & Schuster.

On Monday, BuzzFeed published a letter Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy had sent to its authors promising that "we do not support or condone, nor will we publish, hate speech. Not from our authors. Not in our books. Not at our imprints." She went on to say that they did not think Yiannopoulos' book will "incite hatred, discrimination or bullying."

Gay made her decision to pull her book before BuzzFeed published Reidy's statement. Her TED Talk "Confessions of a Bad Feminist" is online here.

On Wednesday on Twitter, Gay wrote, "I guess the news [is] out. Everything I need to say is in my statement. I can afford to take this stand. Not everyone can. Remember that."