Simon & Schuster Gives Racist Troll $250K Book Deal, But Boycotting Them Makes No Sense
Editor’s Note: Subsequent to the publication of the article, a video of Milo making comments condoning sex between children and adults was widely circulated. As a result, his book deal with Simon & Schuster was pulled. He also stepped down from his role as an editor with Breitbart News.
Milo Yiannopoulos is laughing all the way to the bank. The interviewer from CNN (shown in the first video below), despite her faux outrage, is greatly helping this Milo’s profile. CNN is doing this because these interviews generate rating and money for their company. The hypocrisy is sickening.
This is solely about money. Milo is no different than Twitter, CNN, and CNBC. This is the exact same thing that raised Trump’s profile. Outrageous statements are profitable. Milo is simply the latest capitalistic troll to exploit the dysfunctional of our culture.
Now I appreciate I’m is actually feeding into the frenzy of Milo, but I do this because I know full well I’m not going to make money from this effort—corporations own that market. I just hope to make some points that will help readers think about the platforms they consume “information.”
Milo Yiannopoulos’ has a book Dangerous coming out in June. It was already #30 on Amazon’s bestsellers list on February 14th—not in some miscellaneous sub-category either. It is #30 overall! The book is published by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
Yesterday I posted a link to AALBC.com about a fascinating book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, which is also published by Simon & Schuster. I received the following in reaction,
The crazy thing is that I had no idea who Milo Yiannopoulos was prior to Emanuel’s comment. Milo is apparently the guy who spearheaded the racist trolling of Leslie Jones on Twitter. We previously talked about Leslie’s Twitter trolls on our discussion forum, without ever mentioning Milo. Leslie threatened to leave Twitter and Twitter booted Milo in reaction (presumably).
While we (or least I) was unaware of Milo extreme trolling, corporate media were obviously paying attention and anxious to capitalize off Milo’s racist attacks. In the process they raised MIlo’s profile; which of course boosts rating—adverse cultural impact be damned!
Simon & Schuster even offered him a $250K book deal! Imagine a quarter of a million dollar book deal, apparently for being racist enough to get thrown off Twitter?
But then Milo is not your garden variety troll; he has Breitbart News as a platform, he is very clever, media-savvy, and funny. I have been personally been the target of Trolls. Not only did it not bother me I found some it kinda funny and even posted examples. But my trolls don’t write for Breitbart, and I’m not a celebrity. For me, it is just another day on the web: I ban my trolls and keep it moving. No interviews on CNN, no book deals, no outrage on Twitter, indeed no attention at all. But celebrities and the trolls are a different matter.
There was a spate of angry tweets leveled against Simon & Schuster and others announcing boycotts:
In response to this disgusting validation of hate, we will not cover a single @simonschuster book in 2017. https://t.co/NAJhTgdeyX— Chicago Rev of Books (@ChicagoRevBooks) December 29, 2016
Sometimes it’s a tough call for bookshops between respecting free speech and not promoting hate speech. Sometimes not. Byebye @simonschuster https://t.co/nxTFS34Y1b
— Raven Books (@ravenbooks) December 29, 2016
This is all very powerful stuff. Roxanne Gay caught my attention by pulling her next book which was also being published by Simon & Schuster. The book’s title is How to be Heard. A curious title, given Gay’s reaction is exactly the opposite of the title connotation silencing a troll
@theferocity @jarry @BuzzFeedBooks eh. I pulled my book from S & S anyway.
— roxane gay (@rgay) January 24, 2017
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Simon & Schuster. Indeed, I’d seriously considered banning them in my own personal boycott because they are the only publisher of significance to never spend a penny, in advertising, with AALBC.com. This is despite the fact that Simon & Schuster has the top selling imprint on AALBC.com, Atria Books.
Now I would be more than happy to boycott Simon & Schuster. In fact with the website’s new design, I could remove all of Simon & Schuster’s titles from my website by changing a few lines of code.
But I’m not going to ban Simon & Schuster’s books, not for this reason. Simon and Shuster is a massive corporation Milo’s imprint Threshold Editions has nothing to do with the imprint 37 INK, who publishes some important books. It makes no sense boycott 37 INK’s titles because another imprint decides to publish the rantings of some racist troll. It is the reason I still carry Simon and Shuster’s books even though they won’t break down and support the site with ad revenue.
The real problem is not Simon and Schuster, or even Milo. Both are simply capitalizing on the fact that, in America, skilled trolling is profitable. One could argue that MIlo and Threshold Editions are behaving perfectly rationally given the environment.
We live a culture were saying outrageous things is not only very profitable but can get you into the Whitehouse.