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Editor’s Notes Revealed in Simon & Schuster’s Rebuttal to Milo Yiannopoulos Lawsuit Both Hilarious and Infuriating

I know that Christmas was a couple of days ago, but this tweet from yesterday totally makes it feel like Christmas is still happening!

Professional douchebag Milo Yiannopoulos is suing publisher Simon & Schuster for $10 Million after they cut ties with him and canceled his book deal for Dangerous back in February. The publisher, meanwhile, has responded by letting Yiannopoulos’ legal team know that his book was hot garbage on multiple levels. Thing is, what were they expecting?

There’s definitely a healthy dose of schadenfreude to be had at Yiannopoulos’ expense as you read the reasons why Simon & Schuster claims they were well within their rights to cancel their deal with him.

All of these reasons have to do with whether or not Yiannopoulos’ manuscript was deemed “editorially acceptable” by the publisher, which had to be determined within 45 days of receiving the manuscript.

The publisher is claiming that editor Mitchell Ivers gave him many, many notes within two weeks of receiving the manuscript and that the extent of the revisions needed, made canceling the whole project a better idea than going to the trouble of publishing it.

Here are some of the note highlights from the rebuttal:

  • “Ivers noted that the ‘Why Establishment Gays Hate Me’ chapter “needs a better central thesis than the notion that gay people should go back in the closet” and the feminist chapter needed a “stronger argument against feminism than saying that they are ugly and sexless and have cats.”
  • Ivers wanted a preamble at the beginning of the book where Yiannopoulos would be serious for a minute and provide a “short and serious statement here that sets out why you do what you do, without trolling, without bombast, without name-calling, and without ego.”  [I can already see how this would be impossible]
  • “Unclear, unfunny, delete.”
  • “This entire paragraph is just repeating Fake News.”
  • “This entire argument is ridiculous.”
  • “This…doesn’t make sense or pass intellectual muster. It’s just trolling on an issue that many readers…might take seriously.”

I love how Simon & Schuster is basically like “You’re mad, because we’re not publishing your book anymore? How about writing a book that doesn’t suck, and see how that works for you.”


I’m kind of appalled at the nerve of Simon & Schuster.  While we can see that they’re being critical of the ideas he presents in these notes, WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY DOING GIVING HIM A BOOK DEAL IN THE FIRST DAMN PLACE? It’s impossible to believe that they didn’t know what they’d be getting!

Is there an argument for sexism that would pass “intellectual muster” enough for Simon & Schuster to publish it? Is publishing racism okay, so long as it’s clear and funny? The answer to both of these questions is no, and yet it’s clear from their initial decision to publish the book, the notes revealed in this rebuttal, and the fact that they only announced their cancellation of his deal once he was linked to pedophilia that Simon & Schuster is perfectly happy to throw marginalized communities under the bus so long as they can make some money off of it.

This isn’t about free speech. This is about a private company choosing what to give a platform.

I’m reminded of Roxane Gay, who used to be a Simon & Schuster writer herself. That is, until a racist named Milo Yiannopoulos was given a book deal there, too. She pulled her book in protest, which they totally allowed, only dealing with Yiannopoulos when it would make them look bad.

But in the meantime, after Gay pulled her book, Simon & Schuster moved up Yiannopoulos’ release date from March to a June 13th release, which just so happened to be the same day as the release of Gay’s memoir, Hunger, from Harper Collins, a move that smelled like malicious retaliation for her protest…all in support of a sexist, racist, attention-succubus off of whose controversy they might be able to make some money.

That is, if he could deliver a readable book, which he apparently can’t.

So yes, by all means, let’s laugh at a professional editor’s notes on Yiannopoulos’ terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad book. And then, let’s get angry at a professional publisher that actively gives avowed sexists, racists, and self-hating homophobes a platform in the name of commerce.

(via Jason Pinter on Twitter, image: Simon & Schuster)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.