More than 160 children’s book authors have sent a letter to Simon & Schuster protesting the publishing company’s recent book deal with Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
The letter was sent Thursday to S&S CEO and president Carolyn Reidy and comes two months before Yiannopoulos’ upcoming book, “Dangerous,” is set to hit bookstores.
Yiannopoulos made headlines when he was banned from Twitter last summer after a feud with comedienne Leslie Jones that led to a groundswell of online harassment targeting the “SNL” star. After the book deal was announced, Jones criticized S&S on Twitter, saying the book would “help them spread their hate.” Other celebrities, such as Judd Apatow and Sarah Silverman, joined Jones in protesting the deal.
The letter by the group of children’s authors called Yiannopoulos “a man who routinely denigrates, verbally attacks, and directs dangerous internet doxxing and hate campaigns against women, minorities, LGBTQ individuals, Muslims, and anyone he chooses to target who supports equality and human decency.”
“This is not an issue of advocating or suppressing free speech, as Mr. Yiannopoulos has a broad internet broadcasting platform,” the letter read. “His voice is certainly being heard, and it is a voice of hate that stirs its followers to emotional, verbal, and physical violence directed at anyone who disagrees or speaks to the contrary.”
Among the letter’s signees are “Mortal Instruments” author Cassandra Clare and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi. The letter can be read in full on Publisher’s Weekly.
Simon & Schuster announced the $250,000 deal with Yiannopoulos on Dec. 29 through their conservative politics imprint, Threshold Editions. Two days later, the company released a statement defending their decision.
“We do not and never have condoned discrimination or hate speech in any form,” the company said. “At Simon & Schuster we have always published works by a wide range of authors with greatly varying, and frequently controversial opinions, and appealing to many different audiences of readers.”
“While we are cognizant that many may disagree vehemently with the books we publish we note that the opinions expressed therein belong to our authors, and do not reflect either a corporate viewpoint or the views of our employees.”
Yiannopoulos’ “Dangerous” will be released in bookstores March 14.