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Milo Yiannopoulos’ book deal has been cancelled

The autobiography has been pulled by his publisher following the Breitbart editor and alt-right poster boy's comments about child abuse

The book publisher Simon & Schuster has pulled the release of Milo Yiannopoulos’ autobiography, Dangerous, after allegedly pro-paedophilia comments were found to have been made by the Breitbart editor in a podcast. Employees of right-wing website Breitbart have also threatened to quit if he isn’t fired.

Yiannopoulos shared a Facebook status that read: “They cancelled my book”, later adding, “I’ve gone through worse. This will not defeat me.” The book was due to be released in June this year.

A statement from Simon & Schuster, whose conservative imprint Threshold Books had advanced the publication for $250,000, confirmed: “After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos.”

According to the Washingtonian, “at least half a dozen” members of staff at the conservative Breitbart, where he is a senior editor, have threatened to walk out if he isn’t fired.

Though Yiannopoulos was involved in the Gamergate controversy and was ultimately banned from Twitter for encouraging racist trolls to attack Ghostbusters’ Leslie Jones, it’s the recent comments that have come to light that pushed the publisher to pull the book, despite mounting pressure across the last year. It's far from the first time people have reacted to his hate speech: students at Berkley started a campus riot to shut down an event where Yiannopoulos was due to speak. A past campaign by U.S racial justice group Color of Change handed in a petition of almost 50,000 signatures challenging the book deal. Alongside his comments on child abuse, he's said in the past that birth control makes women "unattractive and crazy", called rape culture "a fantasy" and says transgender people are "mentally ill". But it's the most recent revelation that have proven a step too far for the book publisher and conservatives.

A podcast by Drunken Peasants, with clips circulating on Twitter, has emerged in which Yiannopoulos says relationships between “younger boys and older men” see boys “discover who they are”, and that the age of consent “is not this black and white thing”. The sometimes sexual relationships, according to the alt-right personality, “give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable rock where they can’t speak to their parents”.

He also added: “Paedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13-years-old, who is sexually mature. Paedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty. Paedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet who have not gone through puberty.”

Yiannopoulos was disinvited from the Conservative Political Action Conference following the revelation. ACU chair Matt Schlapp wrote on Twitter: “Due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning paedophilia, the American Conservative Union has decided to rescind the invitation of Milo Yiannopoulos.”

Responding to this, he said he “deeply regrets” how his words have been taken, explaining in a now-deleted Facebook video. “I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim,” he said. “My own experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to on this subject, no matter how outrageous. But I understand that my usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humour might have come across as flippancy, a lack of care for other victims or, worse, ‘advocacy’.”

Bad Feminist author, activist and university professor Roxane Gay previously pulled her book How to be Heard from Simon & Schuster imprint TED Books in response to the deal struck with Yiannopoulos. Writing on her Tumblr about their recent decision to pull the autobiography, she said: “In cancelling Milo’s book contract, Simon & Schuster made a business decision the same way they made a business decision when they decided to publish that man in the first place”.

“When his comments about peadophilia/pederasty came to light, Simon & Schuster realised it would cost them more money to do business with Milo than he could earn for them. They did not finally 'do the right thing' and now we know where their threshold, pun intended, lies. They were fine with his racist and xenophobic and sexist ideologies. They were fine with his transphobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They were fine with how he encourages his followers to harass women and people of color and transgender people online.”

She added:  “Let me assure you, as someone who endured a bit of that harassment, it is breathtaking in its scope, intensity, and cruelty but hey, we must protect the freedom of speech.”

Yiannopoulos has confirmed on his Facebook that he will hold a press conference today (February 21) to address his comments.