Milo Yiannopoulos launched his career as a right-wing shockster with little apparent editing. Whether the offending moments occurred while speaking on a college campus or in the pages of Breitbart or in some video, here was a guy who built a brand on random thoughts designed to build a brand.
Then the brand ran into Mitchell Ivers, vice president and editorial director for Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster with which Yiannopoulos had contracted to write a book under the title “Dangerous,” a screed about free speech and the contemporary left. Threshold Editions never published “Dangerous,” which it canceled in February after a video showed Yiannopoulos appearing to smile on sexual relationships between men and boys.
In July, Yiannopoulos self-published “Dangerous” and then sued Simon & Schuster for $10 million for canceling the book. Since then, the two parties have been battling things out in a New York State court.
We’ll forego the boring arguments about the legal basis for Simon & Schuster’s decision to bail on Yiannopoulos’s book, other than to say: Yiannopoulos alleges that the company canceled in deference to “pressure from authors, bookselling accounts, business and special interest groups, celebrities, and various other self-appointed censors”; the publishing company counters that it did not receive a publishable book from the author.
And with that, we tee up some delicious textual back-and-forth as exhibited in court filings.
Item No. 1:
Yiannopoulos: “As for feminists, they’re so easy to wind up, they turn everyday people into trolls. A mini-Milo born every minute.”
Edit: “This is unclear.”
Item No. 2:
Item No. 3:
While most of the edits to “Dangerous” attempted to scale back Yiannopoulos’s bottomless insufferability, there is some discussion of real stuff.
Item No. 4:
Item No. 5:
Item No. 6:
Editing Yiannopoulos isn’t just editing words; it’s editing a mass of self-regard.
Item No. 7:
The debate over “fake news” played out in summary fashion in the Yiannopoulos manuscript:
Item No. 8:
Item No. 9:
An epic manuscriptual moment here. Yiannopoulos is ripping into Jessica Valenti, a writer for the Guardian. And the author appears to be condemning some of his own tricks, with little self awareness.
Item No. 10:
Item No. 11:
Item No. 12:
Item No. 13:
There are many, many other brushbacks to Yiannopoulos in the text. Have a look for yourself.
If the manuscript doesn’t say enough about the author, check out the email — part of which is featured below — that he passed along in early January 2017 to his editors with his draft. It is declarative:
We won’t attempt to edit that.
If there’s a through line in Ivers’s edits, it relates to “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones, who received a torrent of racist abuse on Twitter after the movie’s release. Yiannopoulos slammed her in a series of tweets, including: “Ghostbusters is doing so badly they’ve deployed @Lesdoggg to play the victim on Twitter. Very sad!”
Twitter banned Yiannopoulos for his actions, saying in a statement that “No one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”
Though Yiannopoulos made references to the Jones situation in his draft, his editors bristled at his less-then-thorough recap of his involvement in the matter:
In a mid-January email to Yiannopoulos, Ivers listed seven issues with the manuscript, with the first being:
As a book editor under the Simon & Schuster corporate umbrella, how often do you get the opportunity to order the deletion of the “ugly-people chapter”?
A statement on Yiannopoulos’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon alleged that “Ivers said one thing in manuscript edits, but quite another when he was giggling and flirting with me via text.”
“‘Don’t quote me but you done good’ is what Simon & Schuster told me about my manuscript,” Yiannopoulos wrote, “just days … before dumping my book in February in breach of contract.
“I look forward to prevailing in court.”
This post was updated with quotes from Yiannopoulos’s Facebook page.
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