Drawing a line

Roxane Gay pulls book from Simon & Schuster in protest over Milo book deal

Roxane Gay is honored with the Freedom to Write Award during the PEN Center USA's 25th Annual Literary Awards Festival at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on November 16, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Roxane Gay, the best-selling feminist author of Bad Feminist and Difficult Women has announced she will no longer publish her book with Simon & Schuster, after they offered a book deal to controversial alt-right troll and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolous. The publisher’s decision sparked outrage among many writers, including Gay, who was left unsettled by the fact that her upcoming book How to be Heard was to be published by TED Books — an imprint of Simon & Schuster. “I was supposed to turn the book in this month and I kept thinking about how egregious it is to give someone like Milo a platform for his blunt, inelegant hate and provocation. I just couldn’t bring myself to turn the book in,” Gay told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “My editor emailed me last week and I kept staring at that email in my inbox and finally over the weekend I asked my agent to pull the book.”

During an appearance at Indiana University on Wednesday, Gay elaborated, saying that she did not want to normalize racism and revealing that the $250,000 advance Yiannopoulos received exceeded the advances for her first five books. Milo’s controversial and often offensive views on women, Muslims and other minorities have made him an alt-right darling as well as a focal point for criticism from the left. In her statement Gay made it clear she was not interested in censoring him. “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.” She stressed that, as a popular and established author, she is in a “fortunate enough” position to not do business with Simon and Schuster. “I recognize that other writers aren’t and understand that completely,” she added.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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