Roxane Gay Pulls Her Book from Simon & Schuster Due to Milo Deal

roxane-gayAuthor, professor, editor Roxane Gay has announced that she is pulling her next book from Simon & Schuster in response to the publisher’s decision to publish a book by alt-right leader/figurehead Milo Yiannopoulos.

The book, How to Be Heard was to be published in March 2018 by TED Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. The controversy began when the publisher announced it would publish a book by Yiannopoulos with a $250,000 advance. He’s a high-profile leader of the alt-right and has organized harassment campaigns against those he disagrees with for the lulz. He rose to prominence through GamerGate, the online troll group mainly focused on video games, when he latched onto their cause.

On Monday the CEO of the publisher sent a letter to authors that the upcoming Yiannopoulos book would not contain hate speech (though one wonders how much will be plagiarized).

Gay said she wasn’t interested in doing business with a publisher that would give Milo a platform.

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.

You can read her full statement at Buzzfeed.

The issue with Simon & Schuster extends to the comic book industry for many reasons, just one of which is the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s signing onto a letter defending the book publisher and decrying what they see as censorship.

Gay herself is a comic book writer herself and currently writes Black Panther: World of Wakanda published by Marvel Comics. Marvel’s CEO Ike Perlmutter is a Trump supporter and will be involved in some compacity with the administration. It’s unknown if her boss’ stance there will impact her further involvement with the comic publisher.