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Milo Yiannopoulos's Publisher Says His Book Won't Include Hate Speech

In a letter to concerned authors, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy explained the decision to publish Yiannopoulos's book and promised it will not "incite hatred, discrimination or bullying."

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In late December, news that conservative writer and alt-right firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos had received a reported $250,000 book deal from Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, was met with outrage and criticism.

On Monday, BuzzFeed News obtained a letter from Simon & Schuster's CEO Carolyn Reidy that responds to the controversy and explains the decision to publish Yiannopoulous's book Dangerous.

In the letter, Reidy writes that Simon & Schuster does not support, condone, or publish hate speech, and that Threshold Editions' decision to publish Yiannopoulous's book was editorially independent and "made without the involvement or knowledge of" other publishers at Simon & Schuster.

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Reidy says Threshold Editions considered Yiannopoulous's book — originally intended to be an examination of issues surrounding free speech and political correctness — because it could become "incisive commentary on today's social discourse" and appeal to the imprint's conservative audience.

In considering this project, the imprint believed that an articulate discussion of these issues, coming from an unconventional source like Mr. Yiannopoulos, could become an incisive commentary on today’s social discourse that would sit well within its scope and mission, which is to publish works for a conservative audience.

The letter concludes with reassurance that none of Simon & Schuster's imprints will publish books they think will "incite hatred, discrimination or bullying" and a promise that Simon & Schuster will work with Yiannopoulos to hold his book to those standards.

Once Threshold made an offer to Mr. Yiannopoulos, our responsibility as a publisher is to work with him to produce the book he and our staff envisioned, and one that adheres to the standards that I have articulated. We promise to do just that.

Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear Author,

I’m writing to you regarding the controversy surrounding the book Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos. Since Threshold Editions announced their plans to publish, we have received many comments from you and many of our authors and readers expressing concern and displeasure. I want you to know that we take all of this feedback seriously and appreciate that so many people, especially our authors, have taken the time to communicate with us.

First and foremost, I want to make clear that we do not support or condone, nor will we publish, hate speech. Not from our authors. Not in our books. Not at our imprints. Not from our employees and not in our workplace.

When Threshold Editions met with Mr. Yiannopoulos, he said that he was interested in writing a book that would be a substantive examination of the issues of political correctness and free speech, issues that are already much-discussed and argued and fought over in both mainstream and alternative media and on campuses and in schools across the country. Threshold Editions, like all our imprints, is editorially independent. Its acquisitions are made without the involvement or knowledge of our other publishers. In considering this project, the imprint believed that an articulate discussion of these issues, coming from an unconventional source like Mr. Yiannopoulos, could become an incisive commentary on today’s social discourse that would sit well within its scope and mission, which is to publish works for a conservative audience.

Once Threshold made an offer to Mr. Yiannopoulos, our responsibility as a publisher is to work with him to produce the book he and our staff envisioned, and one that adheres to the standards that I have articulated. We promise to do just that.

There is no question that we are living in a time when many are feeling uncertainty and fear. It is a moment when political passions are running hotter and stronger than at any time in recent history, and cultural divides across the country seem to be getting wider. And so I can appreciate the strong opinions and feelings this has stirred in you and others. I also recognize that there may be a genuine debate to be had about who should be awarded a book contract. For us, in the end, it ultimately comes down to the text that is written. And here I must reiterate that neither Threshold Editions nor any other of our imprints will publish books that we think will incite hatred, discrimination or bullying.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Reidy also sent the letter to S&S employees in a corporate communications email obtained by BuzzFeed News on Tuesday, with a preface acknowledging hearing their concerns as well as those of "bookselling accounts and members of the reading public."

Dear Colleague,

In the past few weeks I have heard from many of you, either directly or through your managers, regarding the Threshold Editions acquisition of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos. I have also heard from some of our authors, bookselling accounts, and members of the reading public.

Your opinions are not taken lightly, and while we are clearly in the middle of a controversial situation, I am gratified by your obvious pride in working for Simon & Schuster, and that you care enough and have taken the time to be in touch.

Attached is a letter being distributed to our authors who have communicated with us about this matter. If you have been contacted by authors who did not also write to me, feel free to send this letter on to them. It will also be posted on our Author Portal.

I hope you will read this letter and be assured that above all else, we will not publish a book that we consider to be hate speech.

Jarry Lee is the Deputy Books Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jarry Lee at jarry.lee@buzzfeed.com.

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