In a statement, the National Coalition Against Censorship and other organizations dedicated to defending free expression are voicing concern over recent calls to boycott the publisher Simon & Schuster because one of its imprints – Threshold Editions –is publishing a book by the controversial conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.
Yiannopoulos, a self-described “super-villain”, is notorious for comments and views that are deeply offensive to many. Last week, the news that Threshold Editions – whose stated mission is to publish books by conservative voices, including Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, and Glenn Beck – will publish Yiannopoulos’ forthcoming memoir, Dangerous, sparked a firestorm of criticism, with many online commentators calling for a boycott of the imprint’s parent company, Simon & Schuster. The Chicago Review of Books went so far as to announce they will not be reviewing a single Simon & Schuster release in 2017. The outrage is the most recent in a number of similar responses to publishers who have published controversial books, including Bad Little Children’s Books by ABRAMS and A Birthday Cake for George Washington by Scholastic.
NCAC’s statement supports the right to boycott a book or a company for any reason. It underlines, however, the chilling effect the response will have on authors and publishers who want to tackle topics and ideas that some may find disfavorable. The statement argues that “the suppression of noxious ideas does not defeat them; only vigorous disagreement can counter toxic speech effectively.”
The statement is endorsed by American Booksellers Association, Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, and the National Council of Teachers of English.
Read the statement below; click here for a full screen view.