CBLDF and other organizational members of the National Coalition Against Censorship this week issued a statement regarding calls to boycott all books from publisher Simon & Schuster after one of its imprints announced the upcoming release of a memoir by Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos. The statement supports the right to boycott a book or other product for any reason, but also warns that “the suppression of noxious ideas does not defeat them; only vigorous disagreement can counter toxic speech. Shutting down the conversation may temporarily silence disfavored views, but does nothing to prevent them from spreading and resurfacing in other ways.”
Yiannopoulos’ book Dangerous is to be published by Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions, which specializes in books by conservative authors, including Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, and Glenn Beck. There is no question that Yiannopoulos’ past discourse has been on par with those voices and often even more extreme, but the NCAC statement makes the point that “publishers and writers need the freedom to express and disseminate ideas, even if they are controversial and offensive to some. We need not endorse the ideas contained in a book to endorse the right to express them.”
CBLDF and the other signatories to the statement — American Booksellers Association, Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, and the National Council of Teachers of English — therefore strongly support Simon & Schuster’s right to publish any book under any of its 35 imprints, just as we strongly support critics’ right to respond verbally, through social media or in print.
Check out the full statement in support of Simon & Schuster below.