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Boycott Planned Over Publishing Deal With Breitbart Editor

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Some people will not compromise their values.



Critics Threaten Boycotts Of Simon & Schuster Over Milo Yiannopoulos Book Deal


“In response to this disgusting validation of hate, we will not cover a single Simon & Schuster book in 2017.”






After Milo Yiannopoulos, former Twitter creep and current editor at the notorious alt-right news platform Breitbart that is favored by white nationalists, announced yesterday he’d signed a $250,000 book deal with Simon & Schuster’s conservative Threshold imprint, the backlash was immediate.

“YUCK AND BOO AND GROSS,” responded comedian Sarah Silverman on Twitter. Shannon Coulter, marketing specialist and founder of the Ivanka Trump boycott campaign #GrabYourWallet, tweeted, “[simon & Schuster] are you concerned $250k book deal you gave Milo Yiannopoulos will read as condoning the racist harassment [Leslie Jones] endured?”

Soon, however, pushback against the publisher transitioned from simple outrage to calls for organized resistance. One literary journal announced a boycott on coverage in 2017:


In response to this disgusting validation of hate, we will not cover a single @simonschuster book in 2017. https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/814504106731700225

An indie bookstore also tweeted that it would not be stocking Simon & Schuster titles thanks to the Yiannopoulos deal:


Sometimes it's a tough call for bookshops between respecting free speech and not promoting hate speech. Sometimes not. Byebye @simonschuster https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/814504106731700225

Some readers tweeted their agreement, noting that they couldn’t give their money to a publisher that supported Yiannopoulos’ message. Even Judd Apatow chimed in.

Threshold, an imprint specifically tailored to conservative nonfiction, has published books such as Donald Trump’s Crippled America, but a boycott of Simon & Schuster would likely hit hardest the authors from other, more diverse imprints not directly associated with this dustup, given that liberal boycotters were unlikely at any point to buy books from the right-leaning line.

Writer and book publicist Kima Jones pointed out in a tweet that a broad boycott of the entire, diverse Simon & Schuster catalog would harm the careers of many writers of color, in the name of standing against white nationalism:


Not reviewing black writers and writers of color with 2017 @simonschuster titles is going to dismantle white supremacy how?

Writer Tanya Contois suggested specifically boycotting Threshold, while buying, reviewing and promoting books from the diverse Salaam imprint at Simon & Schuster.

But a few creatives now unwillingly associated with Yiannopoulos are choosing to pressure the publisher instead, declaring they would rather sever their professional relationships with the company than be on the same payroll. Emmett Plant, a producer who worked on more than 20 “Star Trek” audiobooks for CBS/Paramount, tweeted that he’d produced his last for them. (Simon & Schuster is a division of CBS Corporation.)


Simon and Schuster gave Milo a book deal. Cool. Who has two thumbs and will never produce Star Trek for them ever again? This guy. I'm out.

Writer Danielle Henderson, whose memoir The Ugly Cry is slated for publication by Simon & Schuster in 2018, revealed in a series of tweets that she was so outraged by her publisher’s new author that she was prepared to walk away from the deal if necessary:


I’m looking at my @simonschuster contract, and unfortunately there’s no clause for “what if we decide to publish a white nationalist”

— Danielle Henderson (@knottyyarn) December 29, 2016


But know this: i’m well aware of what hill I am willing to die on, and my morals and values are at the top of that list.

— Danielle Henderson (@knottyyarn) December 29, 2016


I will happily go back to slinging coffee—I’m not afraid to stand for what I believe in, and I make a MEAN cappuccino foam

— Danielle Henderson (@knottyyarn) December 29, 2016

She also pointed out that the publisher had fought hard to win her book, which has been optioned, and that they offered her a larger contract than Yiannopoulos. This likely gives her more clout, and more options, than many other authors at Simon & Schuster, though more established authors at the publisher have remained silent as of yet.

Is silence actually the best response? Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation, seems to think so.


Outrage helps sell books. Utter silence is what kills them.

In a post-Trump election era, however, many on the left must be wondering where the line between a chilling silence and the silence of tacit acceptance falls.
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