Despite receiving "overwhelmingly negative" feedback, "Chicago Review of Books" editor-in-chief Adam Morgan said Tuesday he doesn't regret last week's decision to boycott covering Simon and Schuster titles because one of its imprints is set to publish a book by controversial conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.
"Chicago Review of Books" announced the yearlong boycott Thursday on Twitter after media outlets reported Yiannopoulos inked a $250,000 deal with Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of Simon and Schuster. The Breitbart News editor was banned from Twitter last year after leading a harassment campaign against "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones, who is black.
Yiannopoulos, whose appearance at DePaul University last year was interrupted by protesters, said in an interview he hopes to "offend every reader" of his book "Dangerous," due out March 14.
In a statement last week, Simon and Schuster asked readers to "withhold judgment until they have had a chance to read the actual contents of the book."
"At Simon and Schuster we have always published books by a wide range of authors with greatly varying, and frequently controversial opinions, and appealing to many different audiences of readers. While we are cognizant that many may disagree vehemently with the books we publish we note that the opinions expressed therein belong to our authors, and do not reflect either a corporate viewpoint or the views of our employees," the statement read.
Morgan said about 15 of the 300-plus books covered in "Chicago Review of Books" last year were from Simon and Schuster. The focus this year will shift to independent and small presses, he said.
"This year, we would just rather use those 15 slots on a different publisher that isn't normalizing hate speech," Morgan said.
Positive and negative comments rolled in shortly after "Chicago Review of Books" tweeted its decision.
It wasn't the Nazi imagery or the social media users who called him a bigot and child molester in response that bothered Morgan. He said he pushed those comments aside and took into account the people who pointed out the decision is unfair to authors who are set to release Simon and Schuster books who didn't have a part in the publisher's decision to work with Yiannopoulos.
Morgan said the nearly year-old literary review will try to include coverage of international versions of those books, and not link to Simon and Schuster. Morgan said he is also working with writers who conducted interviews with Simon and Schuster authors for "Chicago Review of Books" late last year to help them get published elsewhere.
"I don't regret (the decision), but it is an imperfect solution," Morgan said.
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