Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos signed a $250,000 book deal with Threshold Editions, an imprint of publishing house Simon & Schuster, the Hollywood Reporter announced on Thursday. People are not pleased.
The book deal gives Yiannopoulos a new platform to amplify his hateful rhetoric and contribute to misogyny and white supremacy. Yiannopoulos rose to prominence as an editor at Breitbart, which former Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro called “the alt-right go-to website… pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.”
Yiannopoulos first rose to fame in 2014 due to his prominent role in GamerGate, an incident targeting women in the tech industry with harassment and rape and death threats — causing some to literally flee their homes. At the time, Yiannopoulos called on people to fight (or harass) what he described as “an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers…terrorizing the entire community.”
Since then, he has made a career on attacking others, including but not limited to women, Muslims, transgender people, Black Lives Matter activists, people of color in general, and refugees. Earlier this year, he created a college scholarship “exclusively available to white men” and raised over $100,000 for it — but has yet to distribute any of the money, choosing to keep it in his private accounts instead. In July, he was banned from Twitter after encouraging harassment of Saturday Night Live comedian Leslie Jones after the release of the new Ghostbusters movie.
Many in the publishing industry expressed their concern and disappointment in Simon & Schuster for working with Yiannopoulos.
— Chicago Rev of Books (@ChicagoRevBooks) December 29, 2016
— Raven Books (@ravenbooks) December 29, 2016
Publishers & agents get to ask themselves daily where they would draw the line, what books they wouldn't take on. The answer defines us.
— Karolina Sutton (@KarolinaSutton) December 29, 2016
If you approved a $250K book deal for the troll promoting racist, sexist views so extreme he got thrown off this platform – we need to talk.
— Carolyn Kellogg (@paperhaus) December 29, 2016
Not only is Yiannopoulos a well-known member of white supremacist circles, but he’s also a renowned plagiarist. As the Houston Press reported last year, his 2007 self-published book of poetry is actually composed of plagiarized Tori Amos lyrics. Earlier this year, BuzzFeed reported that most of Yiannopoulos’ work is written by interns. While denying the accusations, Yiannopoulos confirmed with BuzzFeed that he had 44 interns helping him with writing and research.