After enduring withering criticism since it was revealed in late December that it planned to publish a book by controversial Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, Simon & Schuster said late Monday that it has canceled the book.
A brief statement released by the company read: “After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos.”
While S&S has stayed behind its decision to publish the book for almost two months, the last straw may have come over the weekend when organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference disinvited Yiannopoulos after a video interview emerged of him appearing to condone pedophilia. Yiannopoulos denied that he condoned pedophilia and that the video had been edited. Nevertheless Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union which is organizing the meeting, issued a statement early on Monday saying they had canceled his appearance. S&S’s statement followed a few hours later.
Dangerous had originally been set to be released in March, but last week Yiannopoulos posted on Facebook that he was delaying publication until June to include the events that took place at the University of California’s Berkeley campus when violent protests forced him to cancel an appearance.
S&S’s decision to publish the book was condemned by many industry members who were outraged that the company would give a platform to someone they considered racist and misogynist. Others backed the publication on the grounds of supporting free speech.
Reflective of the debate over the planned release of the book was the opposing opinion pieces that appeared in PW’s Soapbox column. In her essay, Joy Peskin, editorial director of FSG Books for Young Readers, said the decision to publish Dangerous tarnished the entire book industry. Yiannopoulos’s agent, Thomas Flannery, responded with a defense, observing that “the right to speak freely should be the bedrock of our industry."