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Roxane Gay Says Publisher Finally Cutting Ties with Milo Yiannopoulos Was Business Decision, Nothing More

Roxane Gay, whose work focuses on racial and gender identity, directly opposes the views of ultra-conservative Milo Yiannopoulos. (kellywritershouse/Flickr)

Feminist writer Roxane Gay isn’t patting publisher Simon & Schuster on the back for ending its contract with alt-right journalist Milo Yiannopoulos.

On Monday, Feb. 20, Gay revealed on Tumblr that she is not impressed by S&S nixing Yiannopoulos due to comments in an uncovered video where he seemingly condoned pedophilia. Before tweeting the link to her Tumblr post, Gay, who made headlines in January when she pulled her book, “How To Be Heard” from Simon & Schuster after learning about its deal with the former far-right editor, prefaced her statements by pointing out the publisher moved up the release date for Yiannopoulos’ book, “Dangerous,” before deciding to can him.

Gay expanded on those statements in a blog titled, “All I Really Need to Say,” where she brushed off S&S bending to Yiannopoulos’ newest controversy as them making “a business decision the same way they made a business decision when they decided to publish that man in the first place.”

“They did not finally ‘do the right thing’ and now we know where their threshold, pun intended, lies. They were fine with his racist and xenophobic and sexist ideologies. They were fine with his transphobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They were fine with how he encourages his followers to harass women and people of color and transgender people online. … A great many people were perfectly comfortable with the targets of Milo’s hateful attention until that attention hit too close to home.”

Gay denied speculation that she will go back to Simon & Schuster now that they have severed ties with Yiannopoulos, saying that them changing his book release from March 2018 to June 2017 — the same day her next book “Hunger” is due — doesn’t change anything. “This was not a company I wanted to do business with,” she said. “My protest stands.

“Simon & Schuster should have never enabled Milo in the first place,” Gay wrote. “I see what they are willing to tolerate and I stand against all of it. Also, I’ve received far better offers for ‘How to Be Heard’ from other publishers.

There are some who will spin the cancellation of this book contract as a failure of the freedom of speech but such is not the case. This is yet another example of how we are afforded the freedom of speech but there is no freedom from the consequences of what we say.”

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