Saturday, July 08, 2017


Fox News reports:
Outspoken former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has filed a $10 million lawsuit against publishing house Simon & Schuster after it canceled his book deal.
You know you've burned a lot of bridges when you're a right-winger and even Fox is questioning your motivation:
Yiannopoulos announced the lawsuit Friday in New York, just days after he self-published the Simon & Schuster-canceled memoir, “Dangerous.”

The controversial writer told Fox News that the timing of the lawsuit aligning so close to the release of his book is “largely coincidental” and that “any suggestion that this lawsuit is solely designed to drum up publicity is completely wrong!”
A story in The Hollywood Reporter suggests that portions of the lawsuit read like a whiny Breitbart article:
The 83-page lawsuit ... even includes quotes from celebrities.

The lawsuit, for example, says Leslie Jones accused the publisher of helping Yiannopoulos and his ilk "spread their hate"; Sarah Silverman tweeted, "The guy has freedom of speech but to fund him & give him a platform tells me a LOT about @simonschuster. YUCK AND BOO AND GROSS"; Judd Apatow tweeted, "In these times we cannot let hatemongers get rich off of their cruelty. Shame on @simonschuster."

... The reaction included feminist author Roxane Gay pulling her book from Simon & Schuster; a publisher tweeting, "Stop buying, stocking, assigning, and reviewing their books until they end their relationship with Milo"; the Chicago Review of Books threatening to "not cover a single Simon & Schuster book in 2017"; and a writer for Elle accusing the publisher of "endangering human lives" by publishing Dangerous.

Also, CNN published an editorial asking, "Why on earth would Simon & Schuster give (Milo) a platform?"; a Teen Vogue writer encouraged the public to send a "deluge of calls and physical letters" to the publisher; and Los Angeles Times books editor Carolyn Kellogg accused the publisher of promoting an author with "racist, sexist views."
I'd have to see all this in context, but it's as if Yiannopoulos is suing in part because people who don't like him exercised their First Amendment right to criticize him.

His complaint seems to be that Simon & Schuster declared the book unpublishable after all this fascist free speech from evil liberals. But it's quite likely that S&S, under the terms of the contract, has every legal right to be the sole judge of whether a book is suitable for publication. Publishers Weekly reports:
Questioned about the "at will" clause included in most publishing contracts, Yiannopoulos said: "The reason they gave for termination was that the manuscript was unfit for publication. It's different from their texts and emails from two days before—and that is their problem.... It is, in my view, a clear-cut breach of contract. You can't send people texts and emails and say 'you done good' and that you're happy with the manuscript and looking forward to publishing it, full steam ahead, and then two days later say the manuscript is unfit for publication...."
Well, if "at will" means what I think it means, S&S clearly can do precisely that, if it determines that that's an appropriate business decision. Why does Milo Yiannopoulos hate capitalism?

Yiannopoulos continues:
"...I think it's up to a jury to decide what the real reason was and to award me the damages that I'm owed for the reputational damage and how much it set my career back."
Reputational damage? Yiannopoulos is now marketing the book partly based on mainstream opposition to it. (Tagline at Amazon and elsewhere: "The liberal media machine did everything they could to keep this book out of your hands. Now, finally, Dangerous, the most controversial book of the decade, is tearing down safe spaces everywhere.") Isn't this a guy who prides himself on being hated by the legacy media? Why, you'd almost think he craves the old media's approval.

What's more, as The Hollywood Reporter tells us, he's claiming that S&S's cancellation of the book was the real blow to his reputation, and stories of his actual words and deeds had nothing to do with it:
The lawsuit says Simon & Schuster spiked Yiannopoulos' book "in the wake of false and misleading reports that he had publicly condoned pedophilia — an accusation he has vociferously denied in social media postings, as well as in the pages of Dangerous,dc which Yiannopoulos self-published on July 4, 2017."
Pay no attention to Yiannopoulos's actual voice on tape!

The advance for this book was $255,000, of which Yiannopoulos was paid the first portion, $80,000 (which he got to keep). He's suing for $10 million. Why? He hasn't been silenced -- the book is out there, and is currently on back order at Amazon (where it's #2 on the bestseller list) and Barnes & Noble online, where it's not topping the charts, apparently because Barnes & Noble also includes sales at retail stores in determining its bestsellers, and the book (as Publishers Weekly notes) appears not be available in B&N's brick-and-mortar shops. That's Yiannopoulos's fault -- he could have found alternate means to distribute his book to physical stores, but he never worked that out.

The book is selling at online retailers, but maybe not as briskly as he claims, according to Publishers Weekly:
Yiannopoulos's outside PR firm, AMW Public Relations, told PW that "100,000 copies were delivered to Amazon and sold out in the first day of release," although "a large number of them were on pre-order." (A source familiar with the sales of the book indicated that the 100,000 sales number sold through Amazon was too high.)
He held a demonstration yesterday at S&S headquarters and attracted "100-150 fans and a large contingent of police," according to Publishers Weekly. I suppose he blames S&S for the small crowd, and for the rain that made demonstrating on behalf of a self-promoting narcissist seem like an unpleasant way to spend an hour in the summer. Prior to that, he'd staged a book party that was about as classy as you'd expect:
The night before the rally, to give a boost to the book, Yiannopoulos held a launch party at the DL on New York's Lower East Side, where supporters—mostly young, many wearing Make America Great Again hats—gathered to buy books and eagerly await the provocateur. The event was thrown by Milo Inc., Yiannopoulos's company, which [Matt] Sheldon [of Yiannopoulos's PR firm] said received $12 million in funding from private investors.

The atmosphere was a far cry from that of the average Manhattan book launch. At 10:30, Yiannopoulos stormed the stage in a karategi, the traditional Japanese karate uniform, and engaged in stage combat with a number of actors, dressed in burkas and pink hats that have become a symbol of the Women's March on Washington...; prior to Yiannopoulos's appearance, a Hillary Clinton impersonator occupied a dunk tank on the third floor patio. A .38 pistol was used as a prop in the performance, and an NYPD officer on premises—there were upwards of 20 stationed outside the event—confirmed that it had been cleared with the department prior to the event.

Sheldon said there were 450 in attendance; when Yiannopoulos appeared on stage, the room was busy but had not yet filled to capacity.
I don't feel sorry for this guy. He wanted to be transgressive and he wanted the be the mainstream's favorite provocateur no matter what he said or did. If he wants to sue someone for destroying his career, he should sue himself.

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