Monday, January 09, 2017
Free-speech groups defend publication of Milo Yiannopoulos memoir
A boycott of far-right controversialist Milo Yiannopoulos’s publisher Simon & Schuster will have “a chilling effect” on authors and publishers and will not prevent the spread of “noxious ideas”, according to free-speech campaigners.
Led by the National Coalition Against Censorship, eight groups have issued a statement criticising the backlash over his $250,000 (£203,000) book deal as the latest attempt to stifle books likely to cause offence.
The statement, signed by among others Index on Censorship, the Authors Guild and the National Council of Teachers of English, said: “The suppression of noxious ideas does not defeat them; only vigorous disagreement can counter toxic speech effectively”.
It added: “Shutting down the conversation may temporarily silence disfavoured views, but does nothing to prevent them from spreading and resurfacing in other ways.”
The move follows a vociferous campaign against the publisher for signing the so-called “alt-right” figurehead and Breitbart News technology editor to write Dangerous, due out in spring. The book will appear under the publisher’s Threshold Editions imprint, set up as an outlet for conservative voices. Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have also been published by the imprint.
Last week, the Chicago Review of Books announced that it would not review Simon & Schuster authors in 2017 in protest at the deal.