The publishing giant Simon & Schuster has gotten a lot of flack in the past few days following the announcement of their book deal with notorious alt-right figure, Breitbart editor, and Twitter harasser Milo Yiannopoulos. The publisher paid Yiannopoulos a reported $250,000 advance for a forthcoming title, and when word of that deal reached the public, the public was, well … not into it. The feedback reached enough of a crescendo, in fact, that Simon & Schuster felt compelled to issue a statement about it — one in which they recognized the controversy without actually disavowing Yiannopoulos’s words or deeds:
The response didn’t sit well with many, of course; the tweeted statement received a flood of negative responses. Nestled among those, per Entertainment Weekly, was a tweet from comedian and SNL star Leslie Jones. Jones almost fled Twitter when she was on the receiving end of a barrage of harassment this past summer, and Yiannopoulos was banned from the social-media site for his role in egging on the egg avatars who staged the assault on her. Ostensibly, the attack was about fan dissatisfaction with the all-female Ghostbusters reboot, but many of the individual tweets Jones received had racist and sexist messaging in line with Yiannopoulos’s writing and worldview, and that of the racist, so-called alt-right movement.
Understandably, Jones is not altogether excited to see her alpha tormentor get a book deal, nor the book’s publisher defend its (tepid) reasoning. Jones tweeted at Simon & Schuster, excoriating them for their role in spreading hate:
Right now, Simon & Schuster stands by the Yiannopoulos deal even as many celebrities and authors speak out against it. Whether that stance will hold amid a cacophony of protest remains to be seen, but in the meantime Yiannopoulos’s book, Dangerous, is set for a March release.