Author Roxane Gay will not publish her upcoming book with Simon & Schuster as a result of the company’s alleged $250,000 book deal with professional alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos. Gay’s book, How to Be Heard, was supposed to be published in March 2018, but Gay tweeted on Monday that she had pulled her book from the publisher and further elaborated her decision in a statement to BuzzFeed Wednesday.
This decision comes in spite of a leaked letter from Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy in which Reidy reassures concerned authors that Yiannopoulos’ book, Dangerous, would not “incite hatred, discrimination or bullying.” In spite of boycott threats, Simon & Schuster has defended its decision to publish Yiannopoulos, who is known for his harassment of a transgender University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee student, comparing feminism to bowel cancer, and inciting a Twitter mob against comedian Leslie Jones.
But the publisher’s defense was apparently not enough to appease Gay, who declined to turn in her own book in after realizing the connection between TED Books and Simon & Schuster. (Though TED Books is not actually an imprint of Simon & Schuster, as Gay states, How to Be Heard was part of a series co-published by them both.) “I can’t in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo, so I told my agent over the weekend to pull the project,” Gay told BuzzFeed.
“Milo has every right to say what he wants to say, however distasteful I and many others find it to be,” Gay went on. “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.” Gay has not yet found an alternative publisher for How to Be Heard.