Leslie Jones Speaks Out Against Simon & Schuster Over Milo Yiannopoulos Book Deal

Milo Yiannopoulos says he was offered ‘a wheelbarrow full of money’. Photograph: Richard Saker for the Observer
Milo Yiannopoulos says he was offered ‘a wheelbarrow full of money’. Photograph: Richard Saker for the Observer

Ghostbusters star says publisher is helping figures including the ‘alt-right’ Breitbart News commentator to ‘spread hate’

Comedian Leslie Jones has spoken out against Simon & Schuster’s decision to publish a book by outspoken “alt-right” figure Milo Yiannopoulos, months after he was banned from Twitter for allegedly encouraging a bombardment of abusive tweets towards the Ghostbusters actor.

It was announced last week that Yiannopoulos, an editor for Breitbart News, had signed a $250,000 (£203,000) contract with Threshold, a conservative imprint of publisher Simon & Schuster, after he was offered – in his words – “a wheelbarrow full of money”. Threshold has previously printed books by Donald Trump, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh.

The news sparked outrage among those who say he should not have a platform to share his views. After a coordinated appeal began on 29 December, with instructions on how to call the publisher and individual agents being shared widely online, Simon & Schuster briefly responded to the backlash, asking critics to “withhold judgment until they have had a chance to read the actual contents of the book”.

It later issued a longer statement, saying it does not and never has condoned discrimination or hate speech in any form, that it had “always published books by a wide range of authors with greatly varying, and frequently controversial opinions”, and that “while we are cognisant 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”.

Jones, who almost left Twitter after the abuse until the CEO of the social media platform, Jack Dorsey personally intervened, accused Simon & Schuster of helping the likes of Yiannopoulos “spread their hate”.

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SOURCE: The Guardian