A piece by Will Pavia in yesterday’s Times:
In a lawsuit filed in July, the British writer and contrarian Milo Yiannopoulos accused Simon & Schuster of damaging his reputation as a “free-speech celebrity” by cancelling the publication of his book.
Now the publisher has responded to his $10 million claim with something worse for the reputation of a self-respecting writer: a copy of his original manuscript, complete with blunt comments from his editor, lamenting the book’s “scattershot thinking”, its paragraphs of “fake news” and its off-colour jokes about lesbians and fat people.
In a sworn affidavit, Mitchell Ivers said that he and his colleagues at the publisher were “disappointed with the work” that Mr Yiannopoulos submitted at the beginning of last year. “It was not the serious and substantial commentary on free speech and political correctness that we discussed,” he said. “Instead, it was a superficial reworking of Mr Yiannopoulos’ various speeches where he fed one-liners to crowds and made incendiary comments.”
It was also “riddled with highly offensive commentary and ‘jokes’ that were distractions and many would see as racist, misogynist, anti-immigrant, antisemitic or homophobic,” he said.
Nothing Mr Ivers said in his affidavit was quite as brutal as the exhibit the publisher’s lawyers then filed with the court, which contained his comments in the margins. “This is not the time or place for another black-dick joke,” Mr Ivers writes, explaining one of his proposed changes.
Mr Yiannopoulos alleges that Simon & Schuster cancelled his book because of a controversy over comments he made on a podcast about under-age sex. The publisher says that it was already unhappy with his book.
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