Roxane Gay, acclaimed novelist and essayist of Bad Feminist fame, has pulled her forthcoming book How to be Heard from an imprint of the Simon & Schuster publishing house.
Simon & Schuster has come under fire recently for giving a platform to alt-right gay golden boy and conservative Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Notoriously racist and sexist, Yiannopoulos is known for his Twitter attacks against Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones. He describes himself as “the supervillain of the internet,” which is about the stupidest grandiose complex we’ve ever heard. In any case, in December of 2016, Yiannopoulos signed a $250,000 book deal with Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, prompting an internet outcry and a debate over freedom of speech.
At first, Gay was relieved because she thought her forthcoming book wasn’t going to be published with the company, and tweeted about her relief.
Then Gay realized that she was publishing with TED Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Eventually, she told her agent to pull the book. In a statement to Buzzfeed News, Gay explained that she wasn’t against freedom of speech, but rather Yiannopoulos’ “blunt, inelegant hate and provocation.” She said:
Milo has every right to say what he wants to say … 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.
How to be Heard is still available for preorder on the Simon & Schuster website, though TED Books released a statement yesterday saying, “We’re disappointed that we won’t get to put this important book out into the world, but we respect and accept her decision.” Gay says that as of now, there is no alternate publisher in place. Somehow, we think that’ll change very soon.
Read Paste’s review of Bad Feminist here, and ignore Milo Yiannopoulos everywhere.