Publisher Simon & Schuster announced Monday it cancelled Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’s book deal, the latest development in the growing backlash over resurfaced videos of the far-right provocateur criticizing age-of-consent laws.
A statement from the publishing house offered little explanation: “After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of ‘Dangerous’ by Milo Yiannopoulos.”
Hours earlier, organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference rescinded their invitation for Yiannopoulos to participate in this week’s conference. “Due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning pedophilia, the American Conservative Union has decided to rescind the invitation,” ACU chairman Matt Schlapp said in a statement.
The videos have been available for years, but resurfaced on social media over the weekend. In them, Yiannopoulos jokes about a teenage sexual encounter with a Catholic priest and argues about age-of-consent laws.
The controversial Breitbart editor defended himself on Facebook, writing that he does not support pedophilia, and “I am certainly guilty of imprecise language, which I regret.”
Simon & Schuster faced a flurry of criticism from the literary world late last year when word got out that the publishing house paid Yiannopoulos a $250,000 advance for a forthcoming book.
Known for inflammatory comments about women and Muslims, Yiannopoulos is an openly gay and self-described “free-speech fundamentalist” who has declared that “feminism is cancer” and was blocked on Twitter after sending tweets targeting “Saturday Night Live” cast member Leslie Jones, who is black.
Word of the book deal prompted the Chicago Review of Books to announce it wouldn’t cover any book from the publishers in 2017 “in response to this disgusting validation of hate.” Writer Roxane Gay said she would pull her upcoming book from the publisher.
By Monday afternoon, though, the outcry of the videos led to discussions at Breitbart over the editor’s future at the company, The Post reported, citing two people familiar with the organization.