Simon & Schuster forced to defend book deal for blogger Milo Yiannopoulos

Controversial alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos. Photo: WikiCommons
Controversial alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos. Photo: WikiCommons

Simon & Schuster has defended a reported $US250,000 ($346,000) book deal with alt-right blogger Milo Yiannopoulos, after the news sparked backlash from authors and book reviewers accusing the publisher of condoning hate speech.

Dangerous, due out in March, has already shot to the top of Amazon's bestseller list, based on pre-order purchases alone.

Yiannopoulos, 32, a blogger for the far-right opinion website Breitbart News - whose influence now reaches the highest offices of US government, after president-elect Donald Trump named Stephen Bannon, the site's founder and executive chair, as his Chief Strategist – has a history of controversial statements, including attacking feminism, Islam, transgender people, Black Lives Matter and the "regressive left", on a platform of anti-PC "free speech".

Last July, he was permanently banned from Twitter, following racist and sexist messages aimed at Ghostbusters actress, Leslie Jones.

Confirming the announcement in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Yiannopoulos taunted his detractors.

"They said banning me from Twitter would finish me off. Just as I predicted, the opposite has happened," he said.

"Every line of attack the forces of political correctness try on me fails pathetically. I'm more powerful, more influential and more fabulous than ever before, and this book is the moment Milo goes mainstream.

"Social justice warriors should be scared – very scared," he added.

Simon & Schuster's decision to publish Yiannopoulos' incendiary views – via their imprint Threshold Editions, which previously published Trump's Crippled America and Great Again - was instantly condemned from many within the industry.

On Twitter, the Chicago Review Of Books called the announcement a "disgusting validation of hate", and said it "will not cover a single Simon & Schuster book in 2017."

Carolyn Kellog, the book editor of The Los Angeles Times, similarly called out the publisher, saying "If you approved a $250k book deal for the troll promoting racist, sexist views so extreme he got thrown off this platform – we need to talk."

In a statement addressing the backlash, Simon & Schuster said it does not condone discrimination or hate speech and asked readers to "withhold judgment until they have had a chance to read the actual contents of the book."

The book is due for release on March 14.

This story Simon & Schuster forced to defend book deal for blogger Milo Yiannopoulos first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.