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Roxane Gay is honored with the Freedom to Write Award during the PEN Center USA's 25th Annual Literary Awards Festival at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on November 16, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
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Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay pulled her newest book from Simon & Schuster after the publisher reportedly gave conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos a $250,000 book deal, BuzzFeed reported.

Yiannopoulos, an editor at conservative news site Breitbart, came under fire last summer for instigating a series of racist tweets about Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones. Yiannopoulos, who has also been criticized for his comments about rape victims was subsequently banned from Twitter. But he still managed to ink a book deal with Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

That didn’t sit well with Gay, a feminist writer who often explores the intersection of race and gender. The best-selling author told BuzzFeed News that she asked her agent to cut the cord on her relationship with the publisher. TED Books, an imprint of the company, was slated to release her book How to Be Heard in March 2018. She hasn’t secured a new deal to publish the book. “I can’t in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo,” Gay said. “So I guess I’m putting my money where my mouth is.”

Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy had previously sent a letter to other authors with the publisher about their controversial decision to sign Yiannopoulos. Reidy said that the company doesn’t support hate speech, and that Theshold made the decision “without the involvement or knowledge of” other publishers. She also assured authors that the book wouldn’t include hate speech.

“This isn’t about censorship. Milo has every right to say what he wants to say, however distasteful I and many others find it to be,” Gay said. “I’m not interested in doing business with a publisher willing to grant him that privilege. I am also fortunate enough to be in a position to make this decision. I recognize that other writers aren’t and understand that completely.”

Simon & Schuster did not respond to Motto’s request for comment.


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