NEW YORK—In the face of heavy criticism, Simon & Schuster is moving forward with plans to publish a book by the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.
Yiannopoulos writes for Breitbart News, considered by many a platform for the so-called “alt-right” movement, an offshoot of conservatism that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism. Yiannopoulos’ Twitter account was suspended earlier this year after a series of racially insensitive tweets aimed at Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones, who is black. Yiannopoulos has denied he is a white nationalist.
While many in and outside of the publishing industry criticized Simon & Schuster, the book, which is available for preorder, was at the top of Amazon.com’s bestseller list Friday.
Simon & Schuster said Friday that it does not condone discrimination or hate speech and said the book, which is titled “Dangerous,” is about free speech. It will be published in March by an imprint of Simon & Schuster geared to conservatives. It has also published books by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and President-elect Donald Trump.
“We have always published books by a wide range of authors with greatly varying, and frequently controversial opinions,” Simon & Schuster said. It asked readers to “withhold judgment until they have had a chance to read the actual contents of the book.”
The Hollywood Reporter reported Thursday that Yiannopoulos was paid $250,000 for the book. Simon & Schuster, which is owned by New York media company CBS Corp., said it does not discuss book advances.
When asked for comment, Yiannopoulos referred to his Facebook post about the book.
“They said banning me from Twitter would finish me off,” he wrote. “Just as I predicted, the opposite has happened.”
The Chicago Review of Books tweeted that it won’t review any Simon & Schuster books next year because of the publisher’s “disgusting validation of hate.” In an emailed statement, it said that 15 of the more than 300 books it wrote about last year were Simon & Schuster imprint books. In their place, The Chicago Review of Books said it will choose 15 books from independent and small publishers to cover.
Danielle Henderson, a writer whose memoir is expected to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2018, tweeted , “I’m looking at my @simonschuster contract, and unfortunately there’s no clause for ‘what if we decide to publish a white nationalist.'”
A representative for Henderson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
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