Free speech organizations including the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) have begun to speak out in defense of Simon & Schuster after a book deal the publisher's Threshold Editions imprint made with controversial Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos spurred widespread backlash, including calls to boycott S&S and to not review S&S titles.
The NCAC has released a statement that, while supporting the right to boycott a book or company for any reason, argues that to do so risks "undermin[ing] intellectual freedom and harm[ing] readers and writers."
"In the present case, the calls for a boycott stem not from the content of a book, which has not been published, but because of previous statements by the author which critics characterize as hate speech," the statement reads. "This kind of response will have a chilling effect on authors and publishers, which is undoubtedly the goal of those who support such boycotts."
The statement has has been endorsed by the American Booksellers Association, Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, and the National Council of Teachers of English.
“The ability to think and read freely lies at the heart of our democracy,” NCAC executive director Joan Bertin said. “Endorsing the right to express offensive ideas is not equivalent to endorsing the ideas themselves.”