Roxane Gay pulls book from Simon & Schuster after Milo Yiannopoulos publishing deal

The feminist author has pulled the publication of How to Be Heard after Milo Yiannopoulos received a high-profile publishing deal from Simon & Schuster

Clarisse Loughrey
Thursday 26 January 2017 13:21 GMT

Feminist writer Roxane Gay has pulled the publication of her upcoming book How to be Heard from Simon & Schuster, after the publisher reportedly paid Milo Yiannopoulos $250,000 for his memoirs.

Yiannopoulos, who is a columnist with Breitbart News, was banned from Twitter for inciting a wave of racist abuse against Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones; yet, Simon & Schuster's imprint Threshold Editions still sought to strike a deal with the journalist, having previously published Donald Trump's last book, Crippled America.

How to be Heard was set to be published in March 2018 with TED Books, also an imprint of Simon & Schuster; but Gay told BuzzFeed News that she has asked her agent, Maria Massie, to pull the project.

"I can't in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo. So I told me agent over the weekend to pull the project," she stated. "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."

How to be Heard is yet to place elsewhere, but Gay hopes the book is published "someday".

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