In a letter sent to employees and some authors, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy looked to assure those concerned about the signing of controversial author Milo Yiannopoulos by S&S imprint Threshold Editions that the company will not publish books that contain hate speech.
The letter comes partly in response to a letter delivered to Reidy earlier this month, signed by a number of S&S children's authors, protesting the signing of Yiannopoulos for his book Dangerous, which will publish on March 14, and for which Yiannopoulos reportedly received a $250,000 advance.
In her note to employees introducing the letter, Reidy said she had heard from many of them as well as from some authors, bookselling accounts, and “members of the reading public” about the decision to sign Dangerous. She also noted that the letter was being distributed to authors who had contacted the company and is posted on the publisher’s author portal.
In the letter, Reidy said, S&S had taken all the comments it received about the deal seriously and then stated “I want to make clear that we do not support or condone, nor will we publish hate speech. Noting that Threshold, like all S&S imprints, is editorially independent, Reidy said Yiannopoulos’s proposal was to write a book “that would be a substantive examination of the issues of political correctness and free speech.”
In making the deal, Threshold editors, Reidy wrote, “believed that an articulate discussion of these issues, coming from an unconventional source like Mr. Yiannopoulos, could become an incisive commentary on today’s social discourse that would sit well within its scope and mission, which is to publish works for a conservative audience.”
Reidy said she understood that there could be a debate about who should be awarded a book contract, but that for S&S “it ultimately comes down to the text that is written. And here I must reiterate that neither Threshold Editions nor any other of our imprints will publish books that we think will incite hatred, discrimination, or bullying.”
Download the complete letter here.