I despise Milo Yiannopoulos, but Roxane Gay is wrong to try to censor him

Caucasian man with duct tape on mouth, white .

I oppose censorship.

I guess that’s not surprising since a rival blogger tried to force my blog off the internet because she disagreed with what I wrote. She was initially so successful that I had no choice but to sue her in Federal Court in 2013. The case, Tuteur v. Crosley-Corcoran, was ultimately settled confidentially, but you will notice that my blog is still here.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Gay’s move is a terrible philosophical mistake, and an utterly bone-headed move on a practical level.[/pullquote]

In is inevitable then that I cannot join in the general Leftist glee that feminist scholar Roxane Gay has withdrawn her work from publisher Simon & Shuster to protest their publication of a forthcoming book by Milo Yiannopoulos. Don’t get me wrong; I have the utmost contempt for Yiannopoulos and his lazy fascism. I intend to fight back against Yiannopoulos and his ilk with my heart and soul. But I think it is absolutely critical that the Left should not betray its own values in an effort to stymie the Right.

According to The Week:

Bestselling author Roxane Gay will no longer publish her forthcoming book with Simon & Schuster after the publishing house’s decision to reportedly buy alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos’ book in a $250,000 deal last month, BuzzFeed News reports. Gay’s book, How to Be Heard, was scheduled to be published by the Simon & Schuster imprint TED Books in March 2018.

“I can’t in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo,” Gay said Wednesday. “So I told my agent over the weekend to pull the project.”

Don’t get me wrong. Gay is well within her rights to do this, but I think she is making a terrible mistake, both philosophically and practically.

It is philosophically wrong to use financial leverage to attempt to censor another author’s work, and that’s just what Gaye is trying to do. Gaye wants to send a signal that publishing houses will feel financial pain if they publish works by hard right/fascist authors. Perhaps it has escaped her notice but some of the most profitable published works are from conservative authors. How would we feel if Ann Coulter threatened to pull her work any company willing to publish Gay? I hope we would be outraged. It’s no less an outrage when Gay attempts to do the same thing to Yiannopoulos.

Free speech and the free exchange of ideas is at the heart of democracy. I may disagree with you profoundly but I will defend to the death your right to express yourself. That principle appears to face its greatest threat ever in the person of Donald Trump. It is at this critical moment that we must stand forcefully and unambiguously for that right and not invoke special privileges for ourselves that we would not see extended to our political opponents.

Gay’s move is a terrible philosophical mistake, but it is also an utterly bone-headed move on a practical level.

Yiannopoulos got a $250,000 advance of his book. That’s not much more than I got for my book. In other words, Simon and Shuster are not expecting a chart busting bestseller. He would not be able to afford a massive publicity campaign, but now Gay has handed him a million dollars worth of free publicity. This is the BEST THING that could have happened to his book and there is no doubt that he will exploit it to the last penny.

He also could offer a better demonstration of Left Wing hypocrisy than a this. And at this moment in time, when the Left Wing is caught on it’s back foot, that’s likely to be terribly damaging. It feeds into every stereotype relentlessly promoted by Yiannopoulos and his cronies. Why give them this gift?

I understand the righteous rage. It’s hard to be more angered than I am by the new Trump despotism. But free peoples have always understood that freedom to say, write and think things that offend others is a precious freedom. We should not betray that freedom by carving out special exceptions for censorship for ourselves, for we are the ones who will almost certainly suffer most from such hypocrisy.

 

Edited to correct Dr. Gay’s profession; she is a feminist scholar.

  • fiftyfifty1

    So S&S has pulled his book.

    • Roadstergal

      Misogyny, transphobia, and racism were no big deal, but pedophilia was apparently a bridge too far.

    • Lena

      Good to know they do have a hard limit. Racism is fine but (white) (male) children are sacrosanct.

      Roxane Gay commented that she would not be returning to S&S. Not only were they shitty enough to give Milo a platform in the first place, but when Gay pulled her book the moved Milo’s book release to the same day that Gay’s book would be published, which should tell us everything we need to know about S&S.

      But, you know, “free speech.”

  • An interesting write up on the strategy that’s made him famous.
    It supports a lot of what’s been said in this blog post.
    http://observer.com/2017/02/i-helped-create-the-milo-trolling-playbook-you-should-stop-playing-right-into-it/

  • yentavegan

    Forgive my ignorance, tell me how Milo “cyber-bullied” someone. Please tell me what cyber-bullying is and how did Milo do this. I have listened to lectures he gave on youtube, and he reminds me of a stand-up comic. Is he something other than just an entertainer? Does he have some other special power? He is as offensive as Howard Stern or CK Luis. What am I missing?

    • maidmarian555

      He sent his flying monkeys after Leslie Jones on Twitter. For having the temerity to be a black woman in a movie. He has an enormous following and when he said horrible things about her, they all went for her like a pack of hyenas. It’s was purposeful, it was disgusting. He’s now banned from Twitter (and seeing as plenty of distasteful people don’t get banned, that shows you how awful his campaign against her was). If you Google their names together, it will give you a veritable library of information regarding what he did. I’m frankly ashamed he’s British. He’s one of our least admirable exports (and we’ve been exporting crud to the world for about 1000 years).

      • yentavegan

        Did Milo actually tell people to flood Leslie Jones with hate twitter? I did not read that anywhere. Hpward Stern also has a maladjusted peanut gallery who do things in his name..what is the difference?

        • Heidi

          Milo doesn’t deny his own part in it!

        • maidmarian555

          Saying Milo is a shit is not the same as defending Howard Stern. Milo has an excellent understanding of how his followers and Social Media work. Trust me, Twitter would not have banned him if it was some sort of accident and he’d made a statement with no clue of the repercussions.

          • yentavegan

            Perhaps I am late to the Milo game…I have heard his lectures and I have heard the controversial views he spews…I do not think he is dangerous, just charismatic. He has the elitist naughty boy act perfected. He gets away with saying racial slurs because he says them with a British accent and he is flamboyantly gay…He is a character, a put on…Like a scripted creation of his own mind. But is he dangerous???

          • Heidi

            Yeah, I’d call Trump a character, too. And I’d call him dangerous.

          • maidmarian555

            We literally have a Parliament full of horrible, horrible people playing the ‘dumb posh boy’ character. Thing to remember is, they’ve had the best education this country can offer, they all know exactly what they’re doing. Whilst people are having a jolly good laugh, they’re implementing policies that will probably kill some of those who persist in thinking they’re harmless buffoons who enjoy a pint and are ‘really just like us’. Posh Brits are brilliant at this facade. It’s important to remember that’s what it is. An enormous lie, at everyone else’s expense.

          • maidmarian555

            He openly victimised a trans student at a University speech he gave. Literally put her picture up and roasted her whilst her fellow students looked on. He is dangerous, please don’t be fooled. It’s guys like him that people like Trump will wave about whilst they’re implementing their anti-LGBTQ agenda; “Oh but Milo doesn’t object to this anti-gay bill so that means it’s ok”. He’s totally ok with being used as the “But my best friend is gay” guy.

          • maidmarian555
          • maidmarian555
          • Here’s an interesting write up from someone who knows him personally – https://goo.gl/MoJspf

        • Not explicitly because he’s too smart for that, but he made several personal attacks on her knowing full well that it would incite others to do the same.
          He also fabricated several quotes from her, one of which contained an anti semitic slur and the k word.

  • Lena

    Anyone else waiting for the announcement that Amy has a book deal with S&S? Because it’s the only reason I can think of for this bizarre behavior.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Wrong. Harper Collins has right of first refusal for my next book.

  • fiftyfifty1

    Twitter pulled Milo Yianopoulos’ account. Is this censorship? Why or why not?

    • Mark

      Since Milo engaged in and encouraged cyberbulling, banning Milo is on much stronger grounds. Though the punishment may seem severe (perhaps a one year ban would of been better) as long as Twitter is even handed it can’t be considered censorship.

      If Milo is getting more severe punishment than other users who engage in similar behavior but who represents different ideology then that would be wrong.

      Cyberbulling in itself is a form of censorship. For good or bad it’s generally considered more acceptable to attack a public figure than a private one.

      Milo btw cyberbulled many conservatives also. The ones who were against Trump.

      • Milo btw cyberbulled many conservatives also. The ones who were against Trump.

        Yeah he’s a piece of shit.
        There is definitely a place for provocateurs on both sides of politics but this guy is just destructive.

    • Another reason was that he “allegedly” made up quotes by Leslie Jones and made personal attacks upon her appearance and ethnicity.
      His banning was entirely justified.
      There have been cases where Twitter has got it badly wrong. Suspending Thunderf00t for criticizing Anita Sarkeesian was ridiculous, regardless of your stance on his arguments.

      Then there’s this guy who had his life turned upside down for allegedly using *hashtags* to harass someone even though he wasn’t actually contacting them directly. https://goo.gl/PLt4Bk

  • fiftyfifty1

    S&S will be publishing Yianopoulos’ book through its imprint Threshold Editions. Threshold Editions publishes only Conservative books. It refuses to publish other philosophies. Is that censorship? Why or why not?

    • Mark

      This is getting more difficult to answer now. There is always a slippery slope argument to make and at some point a line has to be drawn somewhere. Sometimes people talk of grey areas because different people of sincere beliefs can differ on the details.

      Some people may talk of strict inflexible points to avoid the slippery slope and the constant movement of the ‘line’ sort of speak with similar situations, arguing with some degree of logic how much different is this situation than the other.

      So with that in mind, I would attempt a distinction between an ideological publisher, one who goes into business to promote a group vs. a more neutral one. (Yes, one is never truly neutral but enough of a distinction can be made for those who strive to be neutral and those who don’t)

      A feminist publisher who has a guiding principles should be able to hew to that principle. The more general the definition the more open the publisher should be.

      So a religious book store might included all things religious but may draw a controversial line at let’s say Scientology, something most religions consider as a cult.

      So for a general publisher or book store or library the standard should be works that have no specific ideology.

      Ie I would hate for people to ask libraries to get rid of books they sincerely believe is inappropriate because many people hold vastly different views on what is sincerely wrong, wrong so much that a library should not even have it, based on ideological notions.

      With that some people hold an absolutist idea of free speech on ideological grounds and would ban no book because to draw a line is so difficult.

      I take a more ‘exception to the rule’ approach so it would require extreme to remove a book. A very high threshold.

      An analogy being parents and their children. We all agree a parent really is horrible, but it would require quite a lot before we took their children from them.

      So I understand that where you and Gay draw the line is different.

      What I really hope is that line is drawn equally for all people. If Milo is inappropriate then perhaps anyone who engages in that type of behavior or writing should be treated as such, even if we agree with them.

      That standard is hard since politics like medicine can be very subjective. If someone took a principled view that treated bans to publishing equal across the board, then that would be imo not nearly as bad as holding the ‘other side’ to standards that we don’t apply to our side. That would be censorship.

      The other sides argument can and should be debated on points.

  • yentavegan

    I equate Milo as our Truman Capote. Putting that argument aside for now, perhaps the uncomfortable truth for me is that by Ms. Gay singling out Simon & Shuster as being in bed with the enemy is that S&S is easily identifiable as a Jewish owned business and her boycotting that publisher gets my paranoia alarms ringing.

    • Brix

      But it’s not. Simon and Schuster is owned by CBS.

    • Are you fucking serious?
      The fact that it’s a Jewish owned business is completely irrelevant unless it’s the reason for the boycott.

  • fiftyfifty1

    The really funny thing is that Dr. Tuteur is basically accusing Gay of censoring by throwing her weight around. As if! I will die a happy women if such a day comes when we have to worry about feminist scholars and all their unfair influence.

    • Who?

      Amen.

      Personally I’d love to be one of those silenced white fellas with a national tv show and a couple of columns every week in the newspaper.

      • Yeah, the mainstream white community is hardly under threat despite what talkback radio pundits would have you believe.
        But being publicly dismissive towards these concerns – no matter how ridiculous – is one of the reasons there’s now a reality show star in the Whitehouse.

    • How else would you describe it?
      It is censorship, although fairly benign.
      The problem is that it sets a bad precedent and comes across as validating the libruhl media conspiracy claims of the alt-right.

      • Who?

        A private person making a business decision for personal reasons-or business reasons-isn’t censorship. I think it was a bad idea, but not because it censored Milo. Milo has had exposure to people like me who would never have heard of him if it wasn’t for this. Milo’s fine.

        Who cares what the alt-right think: they reflexively despise anyone who doesn’t agree with them, so trying to do anything in an attempt to avoid them feeling further validated in their position is a pure waste of time and energy.

        • We’re using different definitions of censorship.
          Her motivation is entirely personal rather than financial, and the goal is to make it harder for him to disseminate his message. That’s a form of censorship. It has little real world effect, but it certainly affects how outsiders view the issue.

          Who cares what the alt-right think?
          Everyone should! The amount of traction they’re getting amongst middle America is downright terrifying.
          I’m not suggesting there be any ideological compromise, but rather a more careful consideration of how to best engage with mainstream America.

          • Who?

            She entirely failed if making it harder to disseminate his message was her goal. He’s still with S&S, got lots of lovely free publicity and has a nice victim card to pull out at parties. Sounds like a win for him to me.

            Here in Australia we struggle on without ‘freedom of speech’ which doesn’t seem to stop some pretty obnoxious public discourse. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean the right to a venue, an audience or a platform. None of which Milo has lost.

            We have an alt right here, gaining traction. Interestingly though we generally find religion a much less compelling driver than Americans seem to. We also have compulsory voting, so their challenges are somewhat different than in the US. There’s no need to challenge them much here, for now at least the representatives are such transparent lunatics they flame out pretty fast on their own. The day we get a charismatic one the game will change.

      • fiftyfifty1

        As I’ve said before, I describe it as “taking by business elsewhere”.

    • I will die a happy WHITE UPPER MIDDLE CLASS women
      if such a day comes when we have to worry about WHITE UPPER MIDDLE CLASS feminist scholars

      Fixed that for you.

      • fiftyfifty1

        Nah, Gay’s not white. But if you are insisting that I list the colors and incomes of everyone involved in my wish I can do it: “I will die a happy white woman (and here’s hoping upper middle class, although I could be happy low income, as that’s where I came from) if such a day comes when we have to worry about feminist scholars of any gender, race or income and all their unfair influence, and I will die especially happy if those unfairly influential feminist thinkers are not white because that will be a sign of increasing opportunity in this racist country, and since we are wishing here, I’m going to wish they go beyond upper middle class and make themselves rich in the process!

  • Brix

    This debate just makes me appreciate everyone here even more. That we can vehemently disagree while STILL being respectful, not accusing or being hurtful and listening to each other’s points of view says a lot about the people here. And lemme tell ya, with what I’ve been exposed to lately, that means A LOT.

    • Brix

      And I’m not saying that I’ve always succeeded at that. But I do try.

  • Brix

    I don’t support censorship. But as a woman of color I could not stomach being on the same “playbill” as an unrepentant racist. Sometimes it’s just about being able to live with yourself.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Yes, I believe that Gay’s decision likely comes from a place of “I would rather have my dignity than this dirty money. I couldn’t live with myself if I sold my self-respect for the chance of S&S advancing my career.”

      • Brix

        EXACTLY!

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        You don’t need to send out a press release if that’s what you are trying to accomplish.

        • fiftyfifty1

          No, you don’t. But is it wrong to do so? Is boycotting wrong? Was Eleanor Roosevelt just virtue signaling when she resigned from the DAR and told the world in the newspaper?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Eleanor Roosevelt was doing the opposite! Doing the same thing would have been a prominent racist DAR memberdropping out because they ALLOWED Marian Anderson to sing.

          • fiftyfifty1

            It’s not analogous. DAR member who protested Marian Anderson’s singing in the Constitution Hall did so not because they were protesting her message but because they were trying to uphold racial segregation. To argue that what Gay did was analogous, you would have to argue that Gay left S&S because she was objecting to Yiannopoulos’ race.

  • Squillo

    To be absolutely clear: as an ardent fan of free speech, I loathe the idea of suppressing or censoring even the most repugnant ideas.

    NAMBLA wants to demonstrate on the National Mall? Tell them where to apply for a permit, but don’t fill out the forms for them. Your crazy uncle wants to publish a blog claiming the Holocaust never happened? Don’t help him figure out Markdown, but do help him fight any spurious DMCA notices. Those are my personal standards for the minimal protection of free speech; yours may vary.

    That said, I don’t have any problem with discouraging repugnant speech through the power of the Conservative-approved free market, which is all Roxanne Gay is attempting to do. In publishing her books with Simon & Schuster, she is essentially their business partner. Her contract with her publisher enables them to share in any profits derived from the sale of her work. In pulling her work from Simon & Schuster, she is simply removing it from that profit equation in protest of a business decision she abhors.

    This is neither suppression nor censorship in any sense. Gay is not forcing Simon & Schuster not to publish Milo Yiannopoulos’s work; she is forcing them to choose whether to publish his work or hers. She doubtless understands that they will bet on the horse most likely to win, place or show. If they bet on her, Yiannopoulos will have lost any future advances from Simon & Schuster; he will have lost whatever benefit he would get from their particular ability to market his books. If they bet on him, Gay will have lost the same. But whatever Simon & Schuster decides, neither author will have lost the right or the practical ability to disseminate his or her ideas far and wide.

    That right is something worth fighting for. A publishing deal? Not so much.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I appreciate your argument; it is certainly well-reasoned. Nonetheless, I still believe that although Gay has every right to do what she did, it’s an attempt to censor him and not praiseworthy in the least.

      • Squillo

        Fair enough. And thanks for hosting this forum for free speech!

      • Roadstergal

        I just wonder what the right thing is to do, in your view… I mean, if I find out that my work is going to generate revenue for Company X that they will use to promote speech I highly object to – I have no recourse?

        • fiftyfifty1

          Just articulate your opinion on the Marketplace of Ideas, Roadstergal. Let the market decide what is Truth. Nothing can go wrong….

    • fishcake

      Interesting. If NAMBLA were demonstrating, I would hope that would be protested. I would hope that their messages would then lose strength as a result of the protests. So then would these protestors be guilty of an attempt to censor NAMBLA akin to Gay’s supposed attempt to censor MY? There have been many protests of MY’s speaking engagements.

      Protests don’t always have clear intentions and can be emotional to the point of distraction, but they are also considered brave and noble by many. How are Roxane Gay’s actions and goals different from a protestor’s actions and goals?

  • kfunk937

    Jeebus, it’s not as if Gray filed a SLAPP suit. She simply took her custom elsewhere, as is her right. The government didn’t shut S & S down and no one threw Milo in a gulag, or even advocated for such measures. I understand why having had DMCA used against you wrongly might contribute to your discomfort, but that’s not the same thing either.

    If you think that her choice may have been a strategic error that would endanger liberal voices, that’s another thing (although I disagree that it would). I also disagree that it’s a philosophical error: withdrawing from the contract and returning any advance received is itself protected speech.

    And it’s not as if conservative houses seek out liberal authors, or conservative readers buy their books in any case.

  • Jimmy

    If society “needed” people like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, then we can tolerate the Milo’s of the world. Just because the nature of the prevailing orthodoxy has changed, doesn’t change the moral calculus.

    • Squillo

      Toleration is essential, but it doesn’t have to extend to going into business with the Milos of the world.

      • Jimmy

        Roxane Gray need not, if she were to open a publishing house. But what she’s doing is black-listing and it’s just as reprehensible when applied to Milo as when it was applied to “communists.”

        • MaineJen

          It’s a personal “blacklist.” It’s “I’M not going to do business with hate promoters,” not “NO ONE is EVER allowed to do business with hate promoters.” There is a difference here.

          • Squillo

            Yes, and there’s a wide gulf between encouraging people not to do business with them and forcing them not to.

        • Squillo

          And she need not lend her earning power to a publishing house in the name of tolerance. It may or may not be part of a blacklist attempt; if so, it’s a pointless one. Yiannopoulos will have no trouble finding employment or a platform elsewhere.

          There’s no moral duty to go into business with someone whose ideas you abhor, and a publishing contract is a business agreement. Your publisher is your business partner, and they are business partners with every other author they publish.

          The comparison with the communist witch-hunts of the last century is spurious. The victims of McCarthyism and its like suffered far broader and more dire economic consequences, and, on occasion, were deprived of their liberty.

        • Squillo

          The comparison with the communist witch-hunts of the last century is spurious.

          Victims of McCarthyism suffered far broader and more dire economic consequence, government harassment, and, in a few cases, were deprived of their liberty.

          • Jimmy

            We’re arguing principle, not practical consequences. In spirit, she’s practically making the statement that some people and some ideas should be stigmatized.

          • kfunk937

            Arguendo: and that would be a bad thing why, exactly? Social stigma can be a powerful thing, e.g. reduction in smoking. Barring possibly driving them back into the shadows/under the rocks they crawled out from under, why shouldn’t wanna-be nazis and white supremacists be subject to stigma and social approbation?

          • Squillo

            In this case, I don’t think you can separate them. The “spirit” of the doctrine of free speech is necessarily tied to the practicalities.

          • Brix

            Some people and some ideas SHOULD be stigmatized. All thoughts, ideas and beliefs ARE NOT equally valid. Nor are they all virtuous or acceptable in a society. Racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, queerphobia, bigotry…none of these are valid beliefs that should be held in esteem. As human beings and members of society it is our moral OBLIGATION to ensure that isms and humanity based phobias are stigmatized.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            That’s what religious anti-gay zealots believe, too! They think it’s their moral OBLIGATION to ban abortion, gay marriage, etc.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Because refusing to do business with a company that gave a man that led a racist, sexist, cyber bullying campaign against a woman of color for being in a movie 250,000 is just like trying to use the power of the state to control other peoples healthcare and sexual decisions.

            If you truly thing that no ones views should be shamed or stigmatized then you should shut down this blog. Isn’t one of the goals to shame the natural parenting industry?

          • Brix

            By that argument we have no moral obligation to stand for or against anything. Because if we do we’re some sort of zealot. Racism is okay, sexism is just fine…homophobia, why not? It’s just another way of thinking. Except it’s not. These types of thoughts become actions. Isn’t that how Hitler came to power? His ideas were just words at one point. And the more he repeated them without significant backlash the stronger they and he became. Until his words and the failure of the masses to condemn his words carried him right into power. And we all know what came next.

            What happened to you is terrible. But this situation is not that. You were persecuted with lies, manipulation and underhanded tactics. No one is persecuting MY. And Roxane Gay didn’t threaten to leave her publisher if they wouldn’t drop him from their roster. Her actions were not a manipulation or a power play. She didn’t like a choice they made so she took her book and walked away. As we all have the right to do when a relationship no longer suits us.

          • Mark

            We have every right and indeed and obligation to stand up to evil.

            Dr Tuteur is taking about taking on the ideas, not trying to prevent their publication.

            Gay will be fine. Again if she wanted to share a stage with like minded people why is she publishing with a major publisher.

            I am sure their are many authors that you would not like if you choose to publish with S&S. Gay sells books at Amazon and that is associating with some pretty horrible people too.

          • Brix

            Except that she didn’t try to prevent the publication.

          • Mark

            Hitler did not event his ideas, they were already in use. He just used them well.

            But Milo is no Hitter as much as he might enjoy the association (for its shock value)

            The left is already accused of controlling the ‘media’ . It’s the ideas that ‘they don’t want you to hear’.

          • Mark

            All ideas are not equal but how it’s interpreted it is subjective.

            What you and I may wish to stigmatized would be different. Even the words you use are broad and open to interpretation in its specifics.

            Its also one thing to stigmatize and to de-legitimize and yet another to censor.

            As a liberal it pissed me off to no end to see outright antisemetic speech of some in the left. I think it’s not legitimate but I can’t censor and it would be the wrong way to effectively attack it if I could (Jews control the media you know)

          • Brix

            Censoring someone is stopping them from saying what they wish to say. No one is doing that here. That doesn’t mean we have to listen to or normalize what they say. And that doesn’t mean that we have to share a space with them, either. We have the right to choose not to associate with anyone we please.

            As a human being, regardless of party affiliation or political bent I have the obligation to stand up for what’s right. You think my arguments are dangerous. I think yours are. Because if society legitimized all beliefs equally I’d still be property, I’d still be drinking from the “Colored” water fountain and I’d still be unable to vote. And that would be the real injustice.

          • Mark

            How are my ideas dangerous?

            I don’t think your ideas are dangerous.

            The best reply to Milo would be to ignore him or dismiss him as nothing more than a gadfly.

            No, no one has to listen to him. IMO let him publish and have it be a dud. All he does is insult people why debate that? Many conservatives dislike because of that.

            As far as sharing space, sharing a publisher is really remote. Sharing a library, sharing a bookstore, when does it stop.

            I think Dr. Tutuer is talking about engaging in debate to prove them wrong. I engage with antisemetic and racists quite a bit on another channel. Some really stupid stuff. It’s not fun most time and sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time. I have managed to change some people’s minds. To show them how racist their thoughts are. Especially applying what one person said to the entire group. No I should not have to do this, but I do. Why? Most of my ancestors are ashes in Europe.

          • Mark

            I hope you realize that even though we may have different ideas and was to achieve them, that we are all looking for a less racist bigioted world.

            If you can ignore the part about Hillary I think this video gives a decent account of what I am thinking.

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GLG9g7BcjKs

            And I have not lived in your shoes and I am unlikely to experience the racism and bigotry that you have experienced.

        • fiftyfifty1

          People keep talking about Gay “blacklisting” Milo. But I can’t find any evidence at all that he has been. All I can verify is that he has $250,000 and a contract with S &S. If getting a quarter of a million dollars and a book contract is “blacklisting” then sign me up.

  • Kerlyssa

    yeah, that isn’t what censorship is

    • Jimmy

      Yeah it is. We need a culture of free speech.

      • Roadstergal

        Which we do. He has no shortage of outlets.

      • LibrarianSarah

        Trying to stigmatize a boycott isn’t promoting a culture of free speech.

  • Cody

    One of my favourite comedians Sarah Silverman has the same attitude as Dr. Amy. This seems to be a cultural phenomenon that is unique to the U.S.A. I think most other democratic societies generally believe that freedom of speech should extend to people speaking out against the government, but that it should also have limitations. Freedom of speech isn’t idolized in quite the same way in Canada, and I think I’m glad for it. I don’t find that this specific instance being discussed is actually a violation of free speech, but then I was raised in country where hate speech is illegal.

  • Squillo

    You are the publisher of this blog. Your current Alex U.S. rank is 182,750, which makes it pretty big in general blog terms, and probably huge in terms of birth-related blogs. Let’s say that 75% of your readers came here primarily to read my comments (y’all know you do). If you decided to pay Gloria Lemay to write posts for you, would I be philosophically wrong to stop coming here and commenting? Would that be censorship in any meaningful sense?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I don’t understand how that is analogous. I’m not a publishing business. And there aren’t only 5 entities publishing on the web.

      • Squillo

        You are a publisher, whether or not you are a business. As I’ve said to the countless copyright trolls who drop in here every time you post excerpts from a loss mom’s post, the moment you hit the “publish” button on a post, you are a publisher. And there aren’t only 5 entities publishing books, either; there are currently only 5 entities that allow an author to make significant money publishing books.

        That has nothing to do with the right, legal and moral, to free speech. It has nothing to do with the ability to express or access ideas because there are far more than 5 platforms for speech. If every Big 5 publisher shut down tomorrow it would be a shame for a number of reasons, but no one’s right to express or access ideas would be significantly affected.

      • Lena

        You don’t seem to understand modern publishing (in addition to not understanding what censorship mean). Yes, there are 5 of the traditional NY publishers left. But there are a ton of smaller publishers, and self-pub has become so major that the NYT created a separate category for digital books because they were taking up all the slots on their bestsellers list. Every major publisher could blacklist him, and he could still publish if he wanted to…just not with a $250,000 advance. Hell, if he self-published, his white-supremacist spiel could net him a hell of a lot more if he marketed right.

        What else you got?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          You don’t say!

      • Brix

        Neither is Roxane Gay.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    What’s the difference between what Gay is trying to do and blacklisting?

    • Squillo

      Blacklisting is only effective where the marketplace is limited. The marketplace of ideas is not especially limited in the U.S., so even if Gay had tried to engage in actual blacklisting–say by secretly calling all her bestselling author friends and telling them not to publish with S & S–the very very worst thing that could happen is that S & S would go out of business, depriving its shareholders, employees and authors of a source of income. That would be awful in its own way, of course, but shareholders have other places to invest, employees have other employment options, and authors have other publishing options.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        You could have argued that about the McCarthy era blacklists. It’s not as though those blacklisted screenwriters, directors, etc. couldn’t have gotten other jobs in other industries, yet it was incredibly chilling nonetheless.

        • An Actual Attorney

          That blacklist was sponsored by the HUAC. so completely different than am open marketplace of ideas. The difference is the government action.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            You’d be okay with a blacklist of liberal authors created conservatives as long as the government wasn’t involved?

          • An Actual Attorney

            Explain how you are using the term blacklist. I think my answer is yes, but we may have a proverbial failure to communicate.

          • Squillo

            “Okay with” in the sense of cheering? No. In the sense of shrugging it off and not objecting? Maybe, maybe not. “Okay with” in the sense of not setting their homes on fire? Yes, I’d be okay with that.

          • kfunk937

            You are aware that the right-wing actively “blacklists” already, with their liberal professors’ list and other bad-guy/”fake-news” curated collections for their base, right? It’s still not a blacklist, nor is it censorship.

        • Squillo

          It was chilling in that environment precisely because the charge of “Communist!” prevented them from earning a living in almost any industry and had the even more chilling effect of being backed up by the threat of being locked up. The charge of “Conservative Asshole” doesn’t have that effect.

          • Who?

            It’s probably a badge of honour in certain circles.

      • Mark

        No

        What would be awful is if publishers stayed away from controversial authors because they are afraid of losing business.

        People should boycott books not publishers libraries bookstores etc.

        • Squillo

          Publishers do it all the time, Mark. And yet, the marketplace of ideas seems to be thriving.

          • Mark

            Yet we should not be encouraging it.

          • Squillo

            I’m fine with people encouraging others not to listen to ideas I disagree with. I’m not fine with people using force, extortion or the legal system to achieve that end.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Has Milo been blacklisted?! What hyperbole.

    • MaineJen

      No one is saying “MY should not be published at all, by anyone, because of his hateful views.” THAT would be censorship. This is one author saying “I am not going to allow my book to be published by the same publisher that deals with MY.” Both authors still have many options and are not having their speech curtailed.

      • Squillo

        Even saying he “should not” be published wouldn’t be censorship, even if it would be wrong, IMHO. Threatening to jail him would be censorship; threatening to burn down the offices of any publisher he signs with would be suppression.

    • Guest

      Really? You’re flailing at this point. Gay is removing her work from a publishing house that is planning to publish work she doesn’t want associated with her name. Blacklisting would be S&S refusing Mr. Yiannopoulos’ work and demanding that other publising houses do the same thing. For all time. Gay is not, to my knowledge, encouraging this, and if you have evidence that shows she is doing this, please provide it. Having an opinion and following through on it is not blacklisting.

      You’re also changing the subject, subtly each time. First it was censorship. Then it was simply a philosophical misstep but you still so strongly disagree that it’s objectively wrong for Gay to misstep in such a way. Then it was analogous to you having someone lie about your actions to remove you from the internet, which you have not presented proof of Gay doing in any of your comments. Now it’s blacklisting. PIck one. You’re veering into Brooke territory with the arguments in this thread, it’s really bizarre.

  • LibrarianSarah

    What we have here similar to what I used to call “the book burning conundrum.” Burning books is generally considered an act of censorship. However, telling someone that they cannot burn books is also an act of censorship because the act of burning books is also a form of free speech (similar to burning a flag). In fact, in the modern age when you can access almost any book online electronically the latter would most likely be a greater form of censorship than the former.

    If Roxanne Gay and others boycott succeeds in getting Milo’s book pulled he would still be able to self-publish the book and will probably make good money off the controversy. But a boycott is the only way that people could meaningfully communicate their dissatisfaction with S&S’s decision. Let’s face it the only language a corporation speaks is dollars and cents.

    At the end of the day nobody has the “right” to a $250,000 book deal and there are plenty of other ways for Yiannopoulos to publish his book that doesn’t involve S&S.

    • fiftyfifty1

      I agree. A boycott is a type of protest, so people need to be able to do that or it restricts free speech. Conservatives boycott all the time and I’ve never faulted them.

    • MayonnaiseJane

      I always solved the book burning conundrum as such: if you own the book, burn away. If it’s someone else’s book, that’s destruction of property and you need to stop. Never seemed overly complicated. Most of the “book burning” that were horrid involved rounding up copies of the book that were in private hands, without the consent of their owners.

      • LibrarianSarah

        That usually works but I could see a thinned skinned billionaire or an well funded political or religious buying up all copies of a book in existence and burning them which would also be a form of censorship. That is less of a problem today though with digital publishing.

        • MayonnaiseJane

          All it takes to stop that, is a few principled people who refuse to sell their copies. There’s always gonna be a few people for whom the book is priceless.

  • Roadstergal

    Wasn’t there a book in the ’70s – I want to say it was Chariots of the Gods, or some other bullshit by Van Daniken, but I can’t remember – where a bunch of scientists said they’d pull their work if the publisher went ahead with it?

  • indigosky

    Sorry, disagreeing with you for the first time ever, Amy. Free speech has limits. That’s why you can be prosecuted for any deaths or injuries caused by yelling “Fire!” in a crowded building and the crowd panicking. This creature is publishing disgusting hate speech, he only exists to egg on those who would gleefully bully and harass people both on line and in person. Denying his work a publisher is not censorship, it is called having morals. And it’s not like there is no way to get his work out there. He can self-publish, I have a friend who does so and it is quite easy.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      When I write that breastfeeding has trivial benefits lactivists insist I am anti-breastfeeding. They’re wrong. And the implication that decrying censorship means I’m pro-hate is equally wrong.

      • Well, no one thinks you’re pro-hate, but we’re pretty sure you’re wrong about this being censorship, and what you are doing is defending S&S publishing for enabling hate. They chose to offer Yiannopoulos a contract to give him a platform, so another person chose to disassociate herself from anyone who would enable hatred. This is not censorship. This is making there be social and business consequences for enabling hatred, which is actually a good thing.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          Of course S&S has a right to publish hateful speech, but that’s not my point.

          • And anyone who disapproves of that decision is therefore free to disassociate themselves from S&S, right? That IS our point.

        • Who?

          I think they publish him to make money, not to give him a platform.

          Clearly they also thought they would make money out of Dr Gay, and she has now deprived them of that opportunity.

          They have a duty to their shareholders to make money, not to offer a platform.

          • Well, if people jump away from their platform because they’ve given hate speech free reign, and they lose money, they’ll learn now won’t they?

            Yes, they publish him to make money, but I’m of the school that corporations have social responsibility as well as a responsibility to make money for their shareholders. We enable them to exist (our laws, legal system, etc), so they need to act like part of society too.

          • Who?

            I’m with you on csr, but corporations seem to have missed the memo. My view is based on where we are, not based on my concept of what a better world might look like.

            Also, the people who like Milo do think he deserves a platform, and maybe that someone like Dr Gay doesn’t. She’s miscalculated badly, apart from some virtue signalling to those who already agree with her.

          • Sure, people are going to disagree on who deserves a platform. This may be a wrong move, or a counter-productive one, by Dr. Gay. I’m not weighing in on that at all.

            It isn’t hypocritical or censorship, though, and that is where my disagreement with Dr. Amy lies.

          • Who?

            I agree with you. Whatever it is, it’s not censorship.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Yes. If I belonged to a country club, and then I found out that the country club had just admitted a neonazi, I would pull my membership and go join somewhere else. The club can keep the neonazi and his money and welcome to it! People can call that bullying or censorship or thin-skinned or politically correct or virtue signaling or whatever they want. My guess is Gay just calls it self-respect. Gay doesn’t want to be with S&S anymore. She’s taking her money and talents elsewhere.

      • An Actual Attorney

        But a business decision isn’t censorship. No more than “birth rape” is rape. This may even be immoral pressure (I don’t think it is) or a stupid gesture (which it might be, I don’t know), but it is not, by definition, censorship.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Not all censorship is government censorship and government censorship isn’t the only kind that matters. Gay’s own writings tell us that:

    “Feminist author Roxane Gay was invited to speak at the Jesuit school St Louis University, and was apparently told not to discuss abortion. She did, and explained to the students who gathered to hear her talk:

    ‘This morning I received an email that was, essentially a gesture of censorship. It was a message predicated on the assumption that I came here to corrupt young minds with an agenda. As I mulled it over I wondered how desperately fragile a faith must be if it cannot withstand critical engagement or diverse points of view.'”

    SLU was not “censoring” Gay in that she was free to discuss her prochoice views in other places. But that’s not how Gay interpreted it. She was appalled that anyone believed that their religious sensitivities were more important than her right to say what she wanted where she wanted.

    I wonder how desperately fragile Liberalism must be if it cannot withstand critical engagement or diverse points of view, not matter how odious or hateful they may be.

    • Mark

      Well said

      Liberals should be strong

    • They wanted her to speak, but not hear what she had to say. St. Louis University did not have to invite her to speak, though. There is a big difference there.

    • MayonnaiseJane

      It seems to me that she WASN’T censored by the school. She was being paid to speak for a customer, the school. If part of their stipulation was that she avoid a certain topic while speaking on their stage, and she objected to it, then the proper response would have been to do exactly what she’s done with her book, decline the business arrangement. Agreeing to, and then breaking, a business arrangement is dishonest.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        The point is that SHE thought it was censorship!

        • MayonnaiseJane

          Right but she was wrong. She wasn’t censored and neither is Milo.

      • Who?

        If they told her when they booked her, she could choose to not take the gig.

        If they told her on the morning, she could pull out and publicly say why (if anyone cared)or turn up and either be quiet on the topic, or do what she did. Or she could have turned up and told the audience what she was belatedly asked to not talk about, then give the rest of her speech.

        It seems with the late notice the school broke the arrangement, leaving her with options.

        • MayonnaiseJane

          Technically she had that option yes, but it would have been the higher ground probably to take one of the first two options, either telling them the deal was off if they try to change the terms, or agreeing to the terms sincerely, not agreeing to the terms and then breaking them on stage.

    • MaineJen

      I would say the exact opposite. Inviting her to speak and then attempting to “control” her speech is censorship. Gay herself not wanting to be associated with a publisher who promotes hate speech…not censorship.

      FTR, I think it’s okay to punch Nazis too.

    • Squillo

      And Gay is wrong about that being censorship, even in the colloquial rather than the legal sense. Like Yannopoulos, she has many other opportunities to talk about whatever she likes. She doesn’t have a right to discuss anything she wishes on any platform, and she particularly doesn’t have the right to be paid for it.

      If she or Yannopoulos were in a situation in which opportunities for free expression were seriously limited (as in some countries) one could argue censorship in these two cases, but it just ain’t so.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Gay is not the only one who has done something like this. The Chicago Review of Books has announced a boycott of all S&S books for 2017. That’s going to hurt a lot of worthy authors more than it hurts Yiannopoulos.

    • Mark

      It also fuels the myth of the liberal elite.

      The conspiracy minded folks who think things are being hidden from them.

      • Elizabeth A

        The myth of the liberal elite. As opposed to the myth of the conservative elite. The conspiracy-minded folks who think things are being hidden from them. Like Trump’s tax returns.

        • Mark

          Trump is a first class A hole

    • And? S&S made their choice. This is how the free market works.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Did Gay call for a boycott of S&S? I read her statement but couldn’t find anything like that. Is there a different statement elsewhere?

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    I’m arguing, in effect, that publishing houses are a form of ‘common carrier.’ (I’m aware that at the moment publishing houses are not legal viewed as common carriers). Publishing has been consolidated into only 5 major houses so attempting to manipulate what any of those 5 publishers are allowed to publish is attempting to control what information can be spread.

    No matter what Gay has said, this is clearly NOT about refusing to take money from those who deal with Yiannopoulos since Gay is not withdrawing her book from Amazon and bookstores who also profit from his work. It’s about refusing to work with a publisher who is allowing him to disseminate his work.

    I’m arguing that there is something different from boycotting Yiannopoulos’ writing and boycotting the publisher of Yiannopoulos’ writing. I honestly believe in the marketplace of ideas and I am very wary of anyone who wants to interfere with that marketplace.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I’m arguing, in effect, that publishing houses are a form of ‘common carrier.’

      But they aren’t. They discriminate all the time. See my examples below. Christian book publishers don’t have to and don’t publish works by those they consider unacceptable heathens. Science publishers don’t publish pseudoscience crap.

      Book publishers can and do make decisions about what to publish all the time, and that is even based on content. Gay is making a statement about S&S choosing to publish hate. They don’t have to.

    • Elizabeth A

      I disagree with you that publishing houses are common carriers in any way. They absolutely are not. Publishing houses make choices about what they publish at all times. They always have and they always will. They could not possibly sustain the volume of publishing everything that everyone wants to publish.

      I also would argue that the producer of individually-owned intellectual property (like a collection of essays) has absolute rights to decide whether to sell that intellectual property, and which of the interested buyers s/he would prefer to deal with. Roxane Gay is the only person with the right to her own work, and the existence of a willing buyer does not obligate her to deal with that buyer. That is one of the things that “free speech” means.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        We can agree to disagree about that but it’s important that people understand that’s the heart of my argument, NOT whether a punk like Yiannopoulos has a right to be published or whether Roxane Gay has a right to pull her book from S&S.

        I happen to think Gay has made a terrible philosophical mistake and will end up accomplishing the exact opposite of what she sought, first by promoting Yiannopoulos and second by making liberals the target of similar campaigns by conservatives.

        • Elizabeth A

          That philosophical mistake – if it is one (I definitely disagree on that point) – is hers to make.

          And, frankly, the fact that you describe Roxane Gay as “a comedian” suggests that you have no idea what you’re talking about here.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Maybe this whole brouhaha will serve to introduce Dr. Tuteur to Gay’s work.

          • fishcake

            Either Dr. Amy isn’t familiar with Roxane Gay’s work, or “comedian” was a jab.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I’m not familiar with her work.

          • fishcake

            A little bit of context then. Roxane Gay is interested and knows more about the business side of writing than your average writer. She has written essays concerning the subject. She’s served as an editor. She’s supported the VIDA counts, which looks at representation of women in literary publications. Just saying that her decision wasn’t off the cuff.

            Thanks for changing your description of her from “comedian” to “scholar.”

        • Mark

          Your last paragraph sums it up very nicely

        • Squillo

          I take no issue with your argument that it’s a philosophical mistake; it may well be. But the charge of “us[ing] financial leverage to attempt to censor another author’s work” is misguided. Yiannopoulos has many, many fora in which to exercise his free speech. There is no Constitutional right to profit financially or otherwise from that speech, which is what a publishing deal with a hefty advance does, and what Gay’s move attempts to prevent.

    • lawyer jane

      I agree with you Amy. That said I think the publisher would have been perfectly within their rights to reject the manuscript on the grounds of not wanting to give him a forum.

    • Squillo

      I would agree with you if S & S hadn’t paid Yiannopoulos $250,000. They’re willing to pay for his ideas up front, essentially betting that they will be popular enough to earn out his advance. To that end, they will market those ideas and try to get people to buy them. That’s a mercenary form of endorsement. Distributors like Amazon are providing a marketplace for his ideas and promoting them via their various algorithms, but they not endorsing them by paying him directly for them and have no interest in selling his book in particular over someone else’s. I would be concerned if Gay decided to pull her work from Amazon in protest of their doing business with S & S; they are far closer to being a common carrier than are any of the Big 5.

    • I honestly believe in the marketplace of ideas and I am very wary of anyone who wants to interfere with that marketplace.

      This.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    How would people feel about an major author pulling his work from any publishing house that published books by feminist authors? Would that be okay? Why not?

    • fiftyfifty1

      That would be totally OK with me. They are free to look for another publisher. Just like when Conservatives boycott Cheerios for showing an interracial couple. They can eat something else for breakfast.

    • Daleth

      Totally okay with me because it tells me who that author is and what they believe, which then allows me to decide whether I want any of my own money flowing towards him.

      All these acts have consequences. People boycotting Simon & Schuster is a natural consequence of their decision to give hundreds of thousands of dollars and massive publicity to a neo-Nazi. Consequences and censorship are two entirely different things.

    • Yes, it would. No one has to do business with anyone. If someone wants to lose money to make a point (in a legal manner, of course), they are free to do so.

    • Guest

      Of course I’d be okay with it; that’s the whole point of a consumer driven market. It’s not censorship of feminism to disagree with it. You’ve really missed the mark here.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Would that be okay? Why not?

      whoops, that challenge backfired, didn’t it?

      Jeez, I have to say, Amy, that any author that would pull their work from a publisher because they publish feminist authors is an author I am happy not to read in the first place.

      Not only do I not have a problem with it, I WISH more a-holes would refuse to work with a business that works with feminsts.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        What makes you think you would know that an author threatened a publisher? Gay sent out a press release because she was virtue signaling. Many of the most powerful deploy their power behind the scenes.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Threatened? As in threatened to take their business elsewhere?

          Yeah, Gay wanted to make a public statement. So what?

          I just don’t understand the problem.

        • Squillo

          I think you’re conflating two separate issues: One, is it ok for Gay to refuse to publish her work with S & S; two, is it okay for her to engage in “virtue signalling” with a press release, also presumably to influence others to impose business and social consequences on S & S.

          I think the answer to both is “yes,” but both should be considered separately in terms of whether they are ultimately helpful or harmful to the cause to which she’s aligned herself.

          I don’t think it’s harmful for Gay to refuse to do business with S & S; it may be harmful to the liberal cause to publicize it as she has.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            How would you feel if Kanye West or Kim Kardashian refused to do a book deal with any company that publishes Roxane Gay? What do you think would happen to Roxane Gay’s books?

          • Squillo

            Gay would still have plenty of platforms to promote her ideas. She might lose money if the Big 5 refused to publish her, but I’m only willing to fight for her right to speak, not for her right to profit from it or enjoy a particular platform.

            I don’t think much of the “chilling effect” argument when we’re talking about current publishing in the U.S. Publishing is freer and more robust than ever.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            That’s ideologically consistent. However, I suspect may of the people who are supporting Gay’s stance would be very upset if the Big 5 refused to publish her as the result of Conservative pressure.

          • Squillo

            Amy, that’s the way it works. A company or individual does something you don’t like, you don’t support them. There’s nothing inconsistent in saying “I support these ideas and not those” and voting with your feet or dollars. Being upset with a company for making a particular decision isn’t the same as being upset that they are making a decision.

            You’ve said you believe women should have the choice to give birth at home. Does that mean that, in the interest of preserving that choice, OBs should hold their noses and share practices with homebirth midwives? Isn’t refusing to do so an unfair blacklist?

          • Mark

            A publisher should do many things you don’t like

            Same as a bookstore

            They are going to publish books on many subjects and many view points.

            That is good.

            It’s the viewpoints you should not like. It that someone published them.

          • Squillo

            I don’t like when someone publishes them, either. I do like that Yannopoulos can write a bunch of leaflets and hand them out on the corner for free or ask people to pay $100 bucks for them, and no one is going to arrest him for it. I do like it that there are thousands of available platforms for Yannopoulos to avail himself of, and that, even if no one ever paid him another dime for his ideas, they would still be available to him.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes, here in the US I am entitled to free speech. That doesn’t mean you are required to give me your megaphone.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            My concern is that so many of the tactics that liberals once used so effectively have been turned on them, in particular the idea that facts are subjective. I think we need to be mindful that our sense of righteousness does not blind us to ways that conservatives can copy us to suppress liberalism.

          • Squillo

            I understand that. I’m willing to entertain the argument that it’s counterproductive and that liberals need to change tactics. Where I disagree is the idea that it’s “philosophically wrong” (as opposed to being a philosophical mistake), or the equivalent of censorship, or that I should be equally outraged at the prospect of a business making a particular decision, as you argue in the post, or that it’s hypocritical or “ideologically inconsistent” as you seem to imply in some of your comments.

          • I’m willing to entertain the argument that it’s counterproductive and that liberals need to change tactics.

            This holds true regardless of whether you agree with Amy’s philosophical position, and ultimately it’s a far more important issue.

          • Charybdis

            Are you somehow saying that liberals have been effectively suppressing conservatives by using certain tactics and those same liberals are now upset because conservatives are now using those same tactics to fight back after years of suppression and the liberals who once wielded these tactics with, I don’t know, glee or condescending superiority, don’t like it?

            Because that’s how I’m reading that statement. I admit, I’ve been violently ill with a nasty GI bug the past few days and am still a bit dehydrated, so I might not be catching the proper nuance. But really?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            No.

          • Charybdis

            Okay, good.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Shoot, Amy has already admitted that she has another publisher.

            So Gay has multiple publishers willing to publish her book, and chose one that upholds standards that she espouses? That’s the complaint?

            Wow, even less ado about nothing

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            You may not wish to take me seriously, but the problem I’ve identified is going to come back to hurt us in a very big way. If you think it’s okay for liberal writers to create blacklists of conservative writers than you’ll have to accept conservative writers creating blacklists for liberal writers.

          • Who?

            I think we can have a different conversation about whether Milo is a conservative or a reactionary. Conservatives are getting lumped in with a bunch of lunatics who couldn’t muster a truly conservative idea between them.

            That aside, people will follow their own interest. The Milos will attack the Dr Gays regardless, and likely the other way around will happen too. Given the incumbent government in the US, the pseudo-conservatives have the upper hand this minute.

            It’s a free country. The actual problem are those who would remake freedom in their own image. If I was in the US I’d be worried about that.

          • Elizabeth A

            What do I think would happen to Roxane Gay’s books if she couldn’t use the same resources as Kim and Kanye?

            Self-publishing and Patreon. Sort of like a number of really exciting projects by Ursula Verson/T. Kingfisher, and Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Okay. As long as you’re willing to accept the same tactic being used on her you are standing for principle.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I would think that Kimye had some reason they were protesting Gay. I would try to find out what that reason was and depending on what I found, I would either decide Kimye was a jerk or decide Kimye had a good point. If S&S dumped Gay because of Kimye’s protest, that would be some news, and it would be discussed to no end in the media and fora like this. Which hey, would probably be a good thing.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Virtue signaling is when you display your opinion about something with the aim of gaining social points *without taking any other action*. Basically it is empty posturing. Gay, in contrast, very much put her money where her mouth is.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            She most certainly did not! She hasn’t lost a penny. Let’s see her pull her books from Amazon and bookstores. That would be putting her money where her mouth is.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “She hasn’t lost a penny.”

            Sure she has. She had to give up her advance (whatever it was I expect it was more than a penny) and has no promise that she will be picked up by another publisher. That sounds like putting your money where your mouth is to me.

    • Squillo

      Yes, it would be okay. It would also be okay for a private individual or company (Amazon, say) to refuse to carry that author’s books.

    • MaineJen

      That would absolutely be okay. It’s his work, he has a right to pull it. It would also leave him with precious few publishing houses from which to choose, so in effect he would be “censoring” himself…

  • Lena

    That’s not what censorship means, Dr. Amy.

    Jesus Fucking Christ, I’m sick and tired of people being accused of censorship for reacting to really shitty actions. Roxane Gay disagrees S&S’s decision to publish a Neo Nazi, and she’s putting her money where her mouth is. She’s not an agent of the government punishing S&S, she’s making a personal moral decision.

    You’re smarter than this, Dr. Amy. Stop it.

    • J.B.

      free speech =/= consequence free speech

      I despise when people receive death threats for tweets. However, employers can and will fire someone for setting of a tweet storm. Depending on the circumstances I may or may not agree with it. But it is perfectly legal. Making a reasoned, well articulated disagreement with a publishing house is a better approach (IMO) than Madonna’s performance during the women’s march. Celebrities will use the power of the purse and the power of celebrity – and I’m not really concerned about the response to an author relative to the response to tv and music celebrities.

      • MayonnaiseJane

        For the record, death threats are against Twitter’s TOS… so banning people who send them is completely kosher.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      There’s a difference between government censorship and private attempts to censor. Obviously this has nothing to do with government censorship and I didn’t suggest that it did.

      • Guest

        This isn’t private censorship either. S&S is not the party making ideological decisions here, someone’s merely exercising their ability to vote with their money, as it were, by voting against Milo Yiannopoulos.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Well, S&S could choose to not publish his stuff. But then again, they make decisions all the time about what books to publish and which ones they won’t. If you are going to claim censorship every time a book publisher declines to publish a book, you are going to have a long, long list of censorship.

          If I remember right, Dr. Seuss was turned down by 27 publishers before someone bit on And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Censorship!!!!!!!!

          • Guest

            By that same token, if we don’t buy his book, are we censoring him?

  • the wingless one

    It’s nice to know there are still some out there who believe in “though I may disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Thank you Dr. Amy.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Who has said anything otherwise?

      Jeez, no one has even suggested that S&S doesn’t have the right to publish it for him.

      But this isn’t about rights, it’s about whether she wants to associate with anyone who would give that person a mouthpiece.

      This discussion has nothing to do with “rights.”

    • fiftyfifty1

      “though I may disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
      I agree with this too. That’s why I think we should reserve the term censorship for actual censorship. To do otherwise waters it down.

  • RudyTooty

    “Free speech and the free exchange of ideas is at the heart of democracy.
    I may disagree with you profoundly but I will defend to the death your
    right to express yourself.”

    I. AM. WITH. YOU.

    Watching some inane arguments unfold in recent days on the internet have shown me that the right does not have a corner on the market when it comes to the inability to recognize irony or hypocrisy.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Lawyer Wendy Kaminer has written something similar: https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/01/10/stand-down-liberals-milo-isn-dangerous/fg60ttIcWb9DVisdm9YktJ/story.html

    “Thanks to its decision to publish a book by alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, Simon and Schuster is the latest company threatened with a consumer boycott. “YUCK AND BOO AND GROSS,” comedian Sarah Silverman elegantly tweeted after news of his $250,000 advance. He may well earn more from royalties, especially if feminists and other progressives continue providing him with free publicity and an excuse to proclaim himself a victim of political correctness.

    But the prospect that Yiannopoulos stands to profit from a boycott should trouble his opponents less than the chilling effect of consumer book boycotts on speech. As the National Coalition Against Censorship points out, boycotts like this are increasingly familiar. “We are aware of at least seven other similar situations involving threats or fears of boycotts, four of which were successful in having books withdrawn, delayed, revised, or not reprinted.” As boycotts become more common, corporate media may become less willing to publish controversial books, right and left. Simon and Schuster’s entire publishing enterprise, not just the Yiannopoulos screed or the imprint publishing it, is being targeted, which means that Yiannopoulos could prosper while the company and other authors suffer.”

    • Mark

      Milo is certainly an attention seeker and this gives him exactly what he wants.

      But as pointed out this kind of boycott really impinges on free speech.

      • Who?

        How though? Anyone can write a book. Is it an assault on their free speech if a profit driven business refuses to publish it? Does it truly matter whether that’s because it is a poor piece of work, or because the publisher thinks, for whatever reason, noone will buy it?

        Freedom of speech is different from having a right to be published, let alone a right to be read, understood and appreciated.

        • Mark

          A publisher is supposed to publish books not an ideology.

          A book store sells books not ideology.

          The fee exchange of ideas is what is important.

          If there are to be exceptions to the rule, it should be an extreme example and not be an easy decision.

          * white it may be perfectly legal this is not a precedent we want to make.

          • momofone

            I think I see what you’re saying, but I’m not sure I agree. Book stores sell books, but people choose them based on many things, ideology among them. If I write a book and no one will publish it, are they violating my rights, or exercising theirs?

            (If I’m not understanding correctly, please let me know.)

          • Mark

            Yes

            The story talks of an author pulling a book deal with a publisher because that publisher is doing a book deal with Milo.

            It’s pressure on a publisher not to publish a book. While not censorship it does seem to politicalize publishing.

            I disagree with that. You and I may have different views on Israel and Palestinian conflict, but to force a publisher to choose sides is wrong IMO.

            And we can continue with book stores, libraries etc.

            If we do play this game anyone can.

            If there is to be an exception it should be for way out ideas like David Duke.

            I may not like the natural parenting movement but they should be able to publish without the publisher censoring content

          • Elizabeth A

            Roxane Gay did not politicize publishing all by herself by making one decision. Publishing has always been political. That’s why totalitarian governments work so hard to control it.

            Anyway, she gets to decide to whom, and whether, to sell.

          • Mark

            Everything is political does not mean we can not or should not attempt to limit political influence in things that should not be political.

            Medical research is political but we should strive to make it less so not more

          • Elizabeth A

            Roxane Gay’s writing is very political, and given that it’s *her* writing, she gets to decide to be political with it.

          • Mark

            And so will others

            They will demand that generally neutral parties be made to choose sides.

          • Elizabeth A

            The notion that Simon & Schuster is a generally neutral party is laughable. But let’s be clear here: In this particular instance, the party picking a side is Roxane Gay. She has not demanded that S&S do *anything*, she’s simply returned their advance and walked away with her book.

            It is my belief that attempts to be personally neutral carry a large moral cost. It is no surprise to me that Roxane Gay – a woman who makes a living by having and expressing opinions – is not personally neutral. Her choice in this case is consistent with her expressed opinions about politics AND her choice is well within her personal rights to make.

            I like living in a society where I have the personal right to make choices, and I suspect that you do too.

          • Mark

            It is certainly her right to do that.

            It is my right to complain that I don’t think publishers should be one side or another.

            It’s my right to say that I think publishers should be as neutral as possible as to content, the same with bookstores and libraries.

          • Elizabeth A

            Publishers tend to have political opinions, and to express them, and to want to continue to express them. Publishing companies are not, and never have been, neutral to content, and many bookstores and libraries aren’t either.

          • fiftyfifty1

            ” many bookstores and libraries aren’t either.”
            Yes. Should a feminist bookstore be forced to carry Men’s Rights books? Is it censorship if they don’t?

          • MayonnaiseJane

            Bookstores absoloutly should not have to be neutral to content… Libraries on the other hand, (not sure how they got dragged into this mess all the sudden,) SHOULD be content neutral, as they are public amenities funded by the government, meaning that regardless of if they agree with the content of a book, sufficient numbers of requests to check out a title, should be an impetus to get it in stock, or at least find out where it is, and get a waiting list going for the inter-library loan.

          • Guest

            Who is making who chose what now? Did Ms. Gay provide S&S with an ultimatum? Did she call for a boycott of their books? Did she even say people shouldn’t buy Mr. Yiannopoulos’ book? I was under the impression she took her business elsewhere; is that enough of an economic blow to totally disincentivize S&S from publishing Mr. Yiannopoulos’ book?

            Your arguments are not in line with the facts of the matter. You’re arguing about a different situation.

          • Squillo

            A lot of speech (and by extension publishing) is inherently political, small p or big P, and limiting political influence in it would be a very bad idea.

          • Mark

            Respectfully disagree that a Main Street publisher should be political.

            I would want a major publisher to publish all sorts of works; works that would contradict other works.

            Their job is to publish works not promote an agenda.

            A major book store should have books on many topics. If I went to Barnes and Noble there would be many books I strongly disagree with.

            Major authors should not try to eliminate works they don’t like by trying to influence publishers.

            I cry foul.

            What a terrible world we would live in if we try to control or limit speech we don’t like. We will all pressure major publishers until they just give up publishing controversial works

          • Squillo

            How, exactly, is Gay “elminating” Yannopoulos’s work? Even if no Big 5 publisher publishes his book, he has only been deprived of his profits from it; he is not deprived of his ability to produce it, nor is anyone else deprived of their ability to access it, whether or not it’s on the shelf at B & N.

          • Mark

            Gay is not

            I am concerned about influential people swaying what can and can not be published.

            Why does Gay not attack Milo instead of the publisher?

          • Squillo

            Your implication was that Gay was suppressing Yannopoulos’s work.

            Major authors should not try to eliminate works they don’t like by trying to influence publishers.

            I agree that influential people shouldn’t be able to decide what can and cannot be published. I don’t agree that that’s what’s happening here, or that it will lead to it.

            Gay should certainly attack Yannopoulos’s ideas. I don’t have a problem with her attacking S & S’s decision to pay him for them.

          • momofone

            I see what you’re saying, but it seems odd to me to be worried about protecting the publisher; they’ll certainly do that themselves.

            I could totally be wrong, but it seems like she (Gay) cut off her nose to spite her face. I also think that, right or wrong, publishing is politicalized. I am not as likely to get a book deal as someone who is more well-known, more expert on a given subject, etc.

          • Mark

            I could not care less about the publisher. They will survive. They will protect their profits l.

            I am concerned for the ‘little author’ who is writing on a controversial subject.

            That author may not get published if big authors or others protest against publishing the ideas.

            This will effect everyone.

            Imo

          • Daleth

            A publisher is supposed to publish books not an ideology.

            No, a publisher can publish whatever it wants, ideological or not. The question is why S&S wants to publish this. The point of a boycott is to persuade it not to. This is absolutely not censorship. The government is nowhere to be seen in this equation.

          • Elizabeth A

            In defense of Daleth’s statement, there are many publishers and publication imprints that explicitly focus on specific ideology, on both the left and right hand sides of the political spectrum.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            And other stuff. There are science publishers, or art publishers, or religous publishers, or children’s books publishers. Publishers can and do focus on any area they want.

            “We don’t publish hate” could easily be one of those. Just as a science book publisher could refuse to publish a book supporting creationism, or a religious publisher could refuse to publish a book on evolution.

            Heck, in these situations, you would expect them to discriminate against stuff that is not consistent with their mission.

          • Squillo

            A publisher only publishes for two reasons: for profit or to promote ideas. Both are important. Fortunately, in the U.S., we have a robust environment for both profit and ideology.

    • Squillo

      All of this may be true (although I think “corporate media” is becoming less and less important in the marketplace of ideas, for better or worse, by the moment.) But the potential damage to S & S and other authors, while regrettable, is price of a free market.

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    Simon & Shuster have a right to publish Yiannopoulos but consumers have a right to boycott them afterwards.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a975490093fda5975704034b0d6f5033bf41a39c7d4d4a9fb925e1385f755b89.png

    • MayonnaiseJane

      Exactly. He’s entitled to speak, to stand on a soap box in town square, but no one is obligated by the doctrines of free speech to provide him their platform, be that publishing his book, or hiring him to speak on their stage. Attempts to indicate to a company that their actions are immoral to you, thru withdrawl of contact with them (i.e. not continuing business ties, consumer boycotts) isn’t censorship. It’s just people exercising their freedom to patronize whom they please and not patronize those who’s business practices they find immoral. It’s the same reason many don’t shop at Wal*Mart because they’re crappy to their employees, and yes, the same reason that some people won’t patronize businesses that have publicly supported LGBT rights. No consumer is obligated to give their custom to someone they don’t like, and no business is obligated to enter into a partnership with an entity they find reprehensible.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    The people who insist we’re all Dr Amy’s sockpuppets ought to read this thread lol. Not that they’d believe it, of course

    • fiftyfifty1

      Dr. Tuteur is clever with her sockpuppets, no?

    • Tsabhira

      They wouldn’t believe it because they allow themselves to be convinced that everyone who opposes their bad science and willful endangerment of women and babies marches around in lockstep on all topics, which is patently not so.

  • JDM

    It sounds like she is boycotting, not censoring. There’s an awfully big difference. If you want to argue against boycotts, fine (although I disagree with that argument) but it requires completely rewriting your post.

    • Daleth

      I completely agree. The basic premise of this post is that Roxanne Gay should just shut up and proceed with her original plans to publish her book with S&S. Why? What obligation does she have to let them publish her book? That’s ridiculous.

  • Jerigole

    “When you frame nazis as just people with different politicsl views, you sre legitimizimg genocide as a political position.”

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Talk about hyperbole!

      • Guest

        You think Nazism doesn’t espouse genocide? Really?

  • Who?

    The only person Roxane is censoring is herself.

    If I was her I wouldn’t make this decision, because sometimes, to get things done, you hold your nose. Also, to trot out another cliche, it’s much easier to get things done from inside the tent than outside. And published by S&S is pretty far inside the tent.

    In the last year or two a well known antivaxxer-Sherri Tenpenny-cancelled her Australian tour. Many local venues had refused her bookings, or cancelled bookings she had made, when doctors and pharmaceutical companies advised they would withdraw their business if the bookings for Sherri T were made or honoured. Those venues decided to follow the regular money, and who could blame them? Annoying Sherri and her acolytes was likely to cause them less harm than annoying big, regular, affluent clients. We somehow survive in Australia without a right to free speech, but all the usual suspects bleated at length about Sherri’s, carefully ignoring the business’s rights to consider their commercial imperative, which would usually be that crowd’s first concern.

    There are local businesses I do and don’t support based on what I understand about their values, and the ones I don’t use seem to do fine.

  • Sheven

    I would say that this isn’t just about politics. Yiannopoulos has publicly encouraged people to harass (and has implied that they harass in a criminal way) random people he doesn’t like. That’s his mainstream claim to fame.

    Is Gay’s move an effective measure? Probably not, and I wish he weren’t getting publicity. But this guy isn’t Bill O’Reilly publishing “Culture Warrior,” he’s OJ Simpson publishing “If I Did It.” At some point, a business is encouraging criminal behavior, and I think that Simon & Schuster is verging on doing that.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      They certainly aren’t directly going to encourage criminal behavior because they’d be legally liable.

      What if conservative authors, who have a massive amount of market share, told S&S that they would no longer deal with them if they published anyone who discussed evolution. Would that be okay?

      • Sheven

        I don’t mean directly encouraging it. I mean giving a serial killer a book deal discussing his crimes.

        So, I wouldn’t say it would be okay for conservatives to withdraw from S&S if they published someone who discussed evolution, but I might consider it okay for them to withdraw if S&S published someone who is best known for encouraging mobs to harass and publish the private nude photos of anyone who advocated for creationism.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          But once you concede the right to do it or that it’s a good idea to do it, you have no control over the reasons why people will do it.

          • Sheven

            It’s certainly their right to do it. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not.

            I just think there’s a difference between boycotting a company for supporting someone who expresses an idea and boycotting a company for supporting someone who encourages harassment.

    • Yiannopoulos has publicly encouraged people to harass (and has implied
      that they harass in a criminal way) random people he doesn’t like.

      I’m no fan of Milo but this isn’t true.
      He’s personally harassed people knowing full well others would follow suit but he’s never suggested, even implicitly, that his followers criminally harass anyone.

  • fishcake

    Roxane Gay is funny, but she isn’t a comedian. This is a tough one, but I think she’ll be OK.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      But what about other liberal writers? What if conservatives (who sell a large proportion of books) refuse to go with any publishing house that publishes liberals? What do you think would happen?

      • Dr Kitty

        People would self publish.
        Small independent liberal publishing houses would publish liberal authors.

        Have you seen that nonsense you can get for £1 on your kindle?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          I’m an author. Self-publishing is generally a giant waste of time and money. You need a big marketing campaign and a major distributor to get your book out to people.

          I have no problem with boycotting the book. I have a problem with boycotting a publishing house for publishing books with which you might disagree.

          I think it is a betrayal of liberal principles and will likely hurt liberals far more than conservatives because of the present structure of the business.

          • Mark

            Seems like I am the only one agreeing with you.

            Censorship is terrible. Publishers should be free to publish almost anything without people pulling business because of what they publish.

            If there was a need to pull support from a publisher for promoting a type of speech the writer did not like, it would imo have to be much more extreme than Milo.

            If there were an exception I would use it for people like David Duke.

            Milo is actually quite entertaining and he gives liberals like me a good idea of how we liberals are being attacked and to help find ways to fend that off.

            On a related note, liberals are getting their ass kicked by extreme examples of micro aggressions and safe spaces, trigger warnings etc. All done to attempt to silence people rather than engage them.

            Intersectionlisim the idea of who ever has the most discrimination against them gets the most freedom to talk.

            Check your privelage is just another way to tell someone to shut up and they are not worth talking to.

            Trump won partly based on identity politics of white Christian America who is sick of some liberals identity politics.

            We need more speech not less. We need to win the battle of ideas with the public not attack people who don’t get our reality.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Intersectionlisim the idea of who ever has the most discrimination against them gets the most freedom to talk.”

            No kidding. Those darn black women. Constantly hogging all the discourse. From government, to books, to radio, to the movies, it’s always their darn agenda and perspective 24/7. Can’t shut up their bully pulpit for one darn minute, can we?

          • Mark

            What is your point.

            It is ok to shut other people up just because of who they are?

          • fiftyfifty1

            No, my point that if you think that the most-discriminated-against are granted “the most freedom to talk” that you are really out of touch.

          • Mark

            Sorry I worded that wrong.

            I am concerned that some people are using that as an excuse to bully other people, into not talking. Not all, but enough to get noticed and used to attack liberals.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Powerless person: “If you really want to help, it would do you well to be quiet and really listen for once instead of immediately jumping to mansplaining/whitesplaining etc.”

            Powerful person: “What? Asking me to listen is a form of censorship. I’m used to having my priorities and reality reflected back to me 24/7 and having to share the pulpit is a form of bullying. Besides, if we allow this, the Conservatives will call us pussies!

          • Mark

            Me

            I listen to everyone.

            ‘Powerless’ person or not.

            Person looks at me? Guesses what my ‘privelage is’ and refuses me to talk even if I do listen to them.

            Free speech is for everyone.

            No one has any idea what anyone gets or not based on what the person looks like.

          • Brix

            I find that ironic since Milo Y is the very definition of a bully. And he’s a racist bully, at that, with a history of harassment of black people (Leslie Jones, anyone?). If a black woman author doesn’t want to be associated with a publishing house with whom she has a relationship, and who chooses to publish the work of a man known to bully and intimidate women who look like her then that is her right. She is under no obligation to protect other liberal or feminist authors, especially considering their woeful failures to truly support and protect women of color and our issues. We have, largely, been left to take care of ourselves. So don’t expect to have any standing (not you, specifically), morally or philosophically, when we do so.

          • Check your privelage is just another way to tell someone to shut up and they are not worth talking to.

            I find it especially hypocritical considering the vast majority of the posters here are white, middle aged and upper middle class.
            That is the very definition of privilege regardless of gender.

          • Elizabeth A

            You’re aware that Roxane Gay is capable of generating a marketing campaign on her own, right? She’s basically a one-woman, feminist cottage industry. It’s hard to get *in* to her speaking engagements. If she chose to self-publish, it would look different than most self-publishing.

            No liberal principle that I’m aware of requires a writer to sell when she or he had rather not.

          • fishcake

            I agree that traditional self-publishing can be ineffective, but it can be elevated and promoted by some people who are talented at cultivating an audience on social media.

            However, not many people can do that. Probably other writers with smaller voices wouldn’t be able to find another publisher after turning down S&S.

            I’m struggling with this one because I support Roxane Gay’s decision to not want to be associated with MY, but if this is the trend, will the “free marketplace of ideas” be damaged down the road?

          • Squillo

            No, you need a big marketing campaign and a major distributor to get lots of people to buy your book. You don’t need them to get your ideas published and read.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            So if Trump suggested to the publishing businesses that it might be a good idea not to publish anymore liberal books, and suggested to Amazon that it might not be a good idea to carry any liberal books, there would be no problem because liberals could just self-publish?

          • Squillo

            When he’s president, of course there would be a problem. As a very powerful private citizen, if he were able to bring enough pressure to bear on publishers and Amazon, maybe. Of course, others would equally free to pressure Trump to change his mind. But free speech isn’t engendered only, or even primarily, in either commercial or self-publishing. As long as there are sufficient platforms where people can express ideas and access them, I’m generally happy. There are arguments to have over what is “sufficient,” certainly.

      • fishcake

        I’m not sure at all what would happen, I just think she will be able to sell her book just fine, and she isn’t responsible for ensuring the success of other people’s future book deals.

        One thing I’m wondering about is: is there a liberal writer as far out as MY is? He seems like a new breed.

  • hmmm

    Yes, and punching Richard Spencer in the head is wrong. I may not be able to stop watching it and smiling, but it is actually wrong. Why does the moral high ground have to stink so often?

    • MaineJen

      Is it, though?

    • Luba Petrusha

      Captain America begs to disagree. Nazis are meant for punching.

  • Sarah

    I think one can consider this an error in practical terms whilst acknowledging that she has every right to place her business where she wishes.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I’m not saying she doesn’t have a right to do it. I’m saying that it’s hypocritical to do it and she could be hurt far more by this tactic than he could.

      • MaineJen

        That may be true…but I’d be more willing to cry “censorship” if it was the publishing house that refused to publish her in favor of Y. Or if she couldn’t find a publisher at all because her writing was banned. This is her pulling out of a contract; a dumb move, perhaps, but unlikely to affect whether or not he gets published.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          But it could affect whether or not SHE gets published. At the moment, conservative authors are far more profitable than liberal ones. What if a group of Conservatives pull the same tactic on her?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Again, how it affects whether she gets published is different from censorship.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Remember what Gina tried to do to me? She tried to keep my ideas off the web by pressuring web hosts. Was that right? I didn’t think so then and I don’t think so now.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “She tried to keep my ideas off the web by pressuring web hosts.”

            She tried to pressure your web hosts? I thought she got you taken down by falsely claiming you were stealing her content and publishing it on your own website without permission (that one picture she posted to you giving you the finger).

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            That was the pressure, sending repeated DMCA notices.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Right, she repeatedly lied because she knew that a DMCA notice automatically gets you a timeout. That’s way different. What would have been the same is if she had been on your same web host and left in protest. Would that have been a problem for you? Would that have pressured your web host? Would you have had to sue?

          • Guest

            I do not see how this is the same as what Ms. Gay is doing, unless you have access to some private communications that haven’t been published in this blog post. Please, provide evidence of such pressure if you have it.

          • Squillo

            What she did was attempt to use the legal system to silence you, which is classic censorship. What Gay is doing is e exercising her right not to do business with a company whose policies (regarding who they choose to publish) she disagrees with.

            I’m pretty close to being a free-speech absolutist, but I have no problem with Gay’s move. I have a much harder time with universities (especially state ones) cancelling speeches.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            For pete’s sake, Amy, you can’t be this oblivious.

            Gina tried to use the force of law (the DMCA) to get you silenced. How can you think this has ANYTHING to do with what Gay is doing?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Because the issue is is using available means to inhibit dissemination of content with which she disagreed.

          • Guest

            The only thing that has happened is Ms. Gay has prevented S&S from disseminating her own work. Literally the only thing. Why do you so deeply disagree with people publishing with houses that are ideologically aligned with themselves?

          • the issue is is using available means to inhibit dissemination of content
            It’s a little annoying when people spout the strict dictionary definition to rebut your point.

            It’s a very mild ineffective form of censorship, but the intent is undeniably there.

          • Who?

            That’s a business decision for her. She may have a better deal elsewhere and wants to generate some interest from readers, for all we know.

      • Sarah

        She could be far more hurt, yes, but not seeing the hypocrisy. Has she said other people don’t have the right to do as she has done?

  • crazy grad mama

    Sorry, Dr. T., but I disagree. I’m with the other commenters on this: it’s not censorship. “Taking your business elsewhere” is a longstanding tradition – it’s giving feedback on the content of people’s speech, not preventing them from saying it. I refuse to buy food from Chick-fil-A, and that’s not censorship either.

    • Charybdis

      This. “Taking your business elsewhere” is not censorship. It is you making an informed choice about where you spend your money. I love Chick-fil-A’s food and will spend money there. I absolutely refuse, however, to purchase anything from/step foot into a Hobby Lobby.

      Look at the advertising for Panera and Chipotle. “Clean food” and “no GMO’s”. Or the companies that advertise “No animal testing”, “No artificial colors/flavors/preservatives/dyes”, “100% Vegan”, “Cruelty Free”, “Antibiotic/hormone free”, etc. Some people will flock to those companies based on their advertising messages because they will spend their money at companies/stores/places that align with their strongly held personal beliefs. Some people don’t give a rat’s ass about company policies/methods/politics and will purchase whatever is cheapest or most convenient. My mother buys American made food/goods whenever she can. She won’t even purchase produce grown in Mexico, because she believes in supporting American businesses/companies/farmers/whatever. She has no problem paying a higher price for said merchandise; it is THAT important to her. Me, not so much. For a couple of years there, finances were TIGHT (DH laid off from good job, found another fairly quickly. Laid off from that one because “last hired, first fired” when the economy went to hell. 15 months later, got a temporary job that morphed into a regular, full time job YAY!) and I went with what was least expensive/most economical. Sacrificed other things so that DS could remain in his private school. You make choices based on a number of variables and sometimes practicality wins out over ideology. You decide what is most important to you and make your informed choices based on that.

      I have a strong streak of both conservatism and libertarianism, which these days, is something I keep fairly quiet about. Because being tarred with the same brush as “insulated dopes”, “Facists”, “a basket of deplorables”, “misogynists”, “racists”, etc., is fairly depressing and frankly, intimidating. There are extremists on both ends of the scale, right and left, conservative and liberal. These are the crazy, shrill pontificators who are constantly in a state of agitation about something.

      It is her choice to pull her book from the publisher if she wants to. She may be genuinely outraged that they are publishing something diametrically opposed to her views and does not want to be associated with them, which is fine. She can find another publisher who is more in line with what she thinks/feels/believes. The publisher is not making her pull her book, nor are they caving to her pressure/demand that Milo’s book needs to be stopped/pulled so they can publish HER book. They are in the business of publishing books and want to publish as wide a range as possible so they get the most business from across the entire spectrum. The publisher doesn’t care about her delicate sensibilities, they just want to publish books that will sell, so they make money. She is simply taking her business elsewhere, as she is entitled to do.

      • Brix

        I agree, fellow Libertarian. Well, except for the “delicate sensibilities” part. I don’t think a black woman taking a stand against a racist is doing so because she’s overly sensitive. Other than that, I’m with you.

  • Tsabhira

    I understand your point that she’s unwittingly giving him publicity, but I don’t think it’ll be enough publicity to make much difference. His followers are already insulated dopes; her pulling her book isn’t going to convince anyone who wasn’t already following him to buy his. He claimed getting banned from twitter would boost him, too, and it didn’t. He’s tapped out — as you note, even the publisher doesn’t think his book will be a blockbuster.

    I don’t agree it’s censorship. I also don’t agree she should be expected to suck it up or silently cooperate with a publisher willing to publish Milo just to avoid giving him a shred of publicity, either. In her place, I wouldn’t want complicity on my conscience, even if it did mean Milo got a few more mentions in the media.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Is she going to refuse to allow her books to be sold and Amazon and in Barnes and Noble? What’s the difference between them profiting from Y’s book and a publishing house profiting?

      • fiftyfifty1

        To me there seems to be a difference between a company that makes a profit by shaping and promoting a product and one that merely sells it. It’s almost as if book publishers (as opposed to simple printing presses) are part of the creative process. This seems different than Amazon and other places that just sell things.

        As another example, if Gay had entered into some hypothetical deal with Barnes and Noble where she was the Featured and Promoted Book of the Month of February and then later found out that Yiannopoulos’ book was the other Featured and Promoted Book that month, and decided “no thanks, take me down” I would not blame her.

  • Dr Kitty

    I understand what you’re saying.
    However.

    She is simply taking her business elsewhere.
    Just as I choose not to use the products of a local bakery that refused to make a cake supporting marriage equality, and would choose not to use the businesses of those who have made racist or sectarian comments.

    Publishers have a right to publish, authors and business owners have a right to free speech- but I have a right to choose who I do business with and where I spend my money.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      She’s more vulnerable to this tactic than he is.

      • Dr Kitty

        Sure and that bakery doesn’t care if I don’t buy from them because plenty of others will.
        But *I* care, and I’m not giving them my money.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          Sure, but a publishing house is not a bakery. It’s a way of communicating with a large amount of people. Would you suggest that people boycott Y’s internet provider because they allow him internet access?

          • Dr Kitty

            A publisher makes more money the more units they sell, knows the content and has chosen to promote it after actively choosing to publish it (as well as overseeing any editing).

            The internet provider gets the same subscription from every user and doesn’t monitor, never mind promote, content.

            Not equivalent.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            But we don’t want publishers to “monitor” content, do we? What if a conservative writers told S&S that he would not publish with them if they published anyone who wrote about evolution? Would that be okay?

          • Dr Kitty

            Of course publishers monitor content, that is why they have legal departments.

            They could make a decision to make money from your theoretical conservative or stand by their principles, jettison him and publish evolutionary biologists.

            And then I, ask a reader, can choose whether or not to buy his books or any other books they publish.

            Just as MSI and IPPF, when given the choice between accepting USAID with the caveat of not discussing abortion, or refusing the money (potentially decimating their services, but ensuring that the women they do reach have the best care) have chosen to refuse the money.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            But we’re talking about a third party exerting pressure on a publishing company. I think Milo is a reprehensible person and the world would be a far better place without him, but I also think he can be defeated in the marketplace of ideas, and a defeat would be better than silencing him.

            That’s just my opinion and we can certainly agree to disagree on that point.

            For me it brings back echoes of my legal battle with Gina. She wanted to exclude me from the marketplace of ideas because she found my ideas repugnant. She thought the ends justified the means, but they didn’t.

          • fiftyfifty1

            If Gina had switched web hosts out of protest, would that have silenced you? Would you have had to take her to court?

          • Guest

            Ms. Gay has excluded herself from the S&S marketplace; an equivalent situation would be Gina refusing to use a blog, or the same blogging platform, or the internet, because you use them. You are not making an equivalent argument at all.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            The issue is using whatever means are at your disposal to prevent the dissemination of views with which you disagree.

          • The issue as I see it is that espousing or enabling hate should come with consequences. If people choose to boycott you because you’re an awful person or enable awful people, that’s completely acceptable.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “But we don’t want publishers to “monitor” content, do we? ”

            Of course they monitor content. Sheesh, you’re the published book author, not me, but even I know that they do. IIRC someone on this blog saw the proposed cover of your book and didn’t like it and you said you didn’t either really but it wasn’t your choice to make, that the publishers got to determine the message of the cover, or some such. Find me a publisher who says “Oh the First Amendment is so important to us that our policy with all books is that you send them directly to the printing press without us even laying eyes on it”.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            You’d be surprised. Books get published by quacks all the time because the publisher just puts in a disclaimer. They are very worried about libel, and hardly worried about accuracy.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Is that how it worked for you?

      • Elizabeth A

        The fact that the move may hurt Roxane Gay is not a measure of whether it’s wrong.

        You’ve advanced two arguments against Gay’s choice:
        1. Censorship is wrong.
        2. Refusing to do business with S&S will hurt Gay economically.

        You’re factually incorrect about point one. This is not censorship. The publisher can do whateverything they want, Gay can do what she wants. No censorship has occurred.

        And the second point is not your problem. Gay gets to make her own decisions about her money, and her work. She has a right to shoot her own feet if she wants. However, publicly available information about Roxane Gay suggests that she will come out of this unscathed.

        • Mark

          So when other people bully mainstream publishers not to publish other books that would be ok?

          It’s legal but I don’t think it’s moral.

          • fiftyfifty1

            So basically you see any sort of boycott as bullying?

          • Mark

            No not any.

            I would boycott David Duke and the like.

            I would not boycott anti abortion books because I am pro choice

          • Elizabeth A

            Have you bought any anti-abortion books? If not, could that be considered a boycott?

          • Brix

            Then it’s more about what you perceive is a stomachable (is that even a word, LOL?) level of bigotry. Milo = entertaining and not so bad and David Duke = unacceptable. But I hope you can see why a black woman might feel differently. I don’t find MY entertaining at all. He incites racial aggression against Blacks and Jews (even if he sometimes walks the thin line and stops just short of going over) and I find that threatening to my personal safety and that of people I love. His bigotry against homosexuals causes me to fear for the safety of people that I love. Personally, I don’t see much difference between Milo Y and David Duke. In fact, at this moment in time I might characterize him as more dangerous than David Duke because of his reach.

          • Mark

            I have not really been following him that closely and I know he’s been involved in cyber bullying. If I saw some other works of him I might change my mind.

            He seems more like an all around antagonist. In fact some parts of the alt right wrote a piece about him saying who is Milo to represent the alt right. Milo is not alt right and we are racist.

            This whole pulling out of a book deal, while is probably emotionally satisfying is just playing into Milo’s hands. It is giving him free publicity and the type he likes, liberals hate me. Best to ignore.

            Which is worse is debatable and I see your point as to reach. What I mean about Milo being amusing is that he knows he’s being atagonistic (or a drama queen) to make a point which to me is already an exaggeration.

            Duke is damn serious far more viscous and scary IMO and has more reach than Milo.

            I know it’s a bit about what I can personally stomach.

            I really included Duke as an exception. I really don’t think publishers should be screening content like that.

            However I threw in Duke as a possible exception. Some ideas are beyond just being wrong or hateful but they are the extremes.

            If a library is doing a good job ther should be books and journals to make Everyone pissed off.

            Imo

          • Brix

            When an antagonist incites his mindless followers into a frothing, seething gang of rabid wolves he is a danger to the safety of those he ridicules. Between his outright racist comments during his speaking engagements and the coded language that his ilk uses to try to duck the mantle of racist (i.e., posting that Leslie Jones was “barely literate”, which is a common tactic to further the narrative that black people are lacking intelligence and education; referring to her as a “black dude”), MY fosters dangerous racist environments every time he opens his mouth. He whips his fans into a frenzy and then attempts to claim clean hands because he didn’t, personally, put his hands on anyone or directly instruct anyone else to do so.

            Here are some examples: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-supporter-milo-yiannopoulos-furthers-racial-hatred-at-depaul-university-ac5468a9e436#.by310lprc

            And here is a breakdown of one example: what he did to Leslie Jones.
            http://college.usatoday.com/2016/07/25/the-whole-leslie-jones-twitter-feud-explained/

            This man is a real danger, which will be evident to all eventually. But for now those marginalized and targeted by his hate campaign perhaps feel the familiar lick of fire on our heels and the threat he poses a little bit more acutely, just based on our own experience.

            Sometimes we have to take a stand and make hard decisions based on what is right and principled rather than worrying about what is good or bad for our enemies. The march from Selma in 1965 also played into the hands of “the enemy”; they were hoping and praying that the “negroes” would give them a reason to attack. But the march went forward because it must and became what we now know as Bloody Sunday. I think Roxane Gay stood for her principles and prioritized her principles over her own comfort (because it’s far more comfortable to just go along) and her wallet. And if that “played into his hand” then so what? So be it. Ultimately, her decision was not about him. It was about what she felt was good and right for herself.

          • Brix

            And here’s an article about his participation in Gamergate, a campaign of harassment including doxxing, death threats, rape threats, threats of violence, etc. against female gamers.

            http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-milo-yiannopoulos-gamergate-feminists-20151028-story.html

          • Mark

            I don’t think the March on Selma gave the enemy what they wanted and if it did they really were stupid.

            I think the sight of peaceful marches being attacked by rapid racist was very terrible but very effective.

            In deference to you I looked at some more of Milo videos. Two so far. One on feminist and science. I cringed on that one and had to go back to it. Suffice to say I disagreed with him but he made a few good points. More importantly his views represent what a lot of people think and it’s necessary to here what they think so you can counter that.

            Another one he attacked atheist. Going so far as to say he likes insulting atheist because they are so thin skinned. He states he likes the identity politics of being gay because he claims it allows him to get away with a lot of shit.

            So I say this in that a major publisher should be publishing a whole lot of speech, if it sells and if it has a point.

            Perhaps Gay would feel more comfortable with a small idealogical publisher, not a mainstream publisher. I would understand that. S&S prints books that you and I would love, be indifferent to or absolutely hate.

            To me the question is Milo so far out of the mainstream so extreme that a mainstream outlet should not publish his works. Is Milo the gadfly really the exception to the rule?

            I don’t think what Gay did was all that bad. I do think it was wrong.

            It opens a can of worms (to a very weak effect) of the idea that ideas and people you really don’t like should not be published. This is very subjective.

            Sure I understand why Gay is pissed and did what she did made her feel great. I just think it was wrong. It gave Milo free advertising made him important enough to fight over. Sets a precedent that anyone can use.

            I know we are not going to agree. That is ok. There really are many ways to look at the world. This issue is so small that perhaps its not even worth all the effort flushing out the details.

            Look if you publish someone who admits to pissing people off as a matter of persuasion it’s a bit rich to think that some people may not get pissed off.

          • Brix

            I may have missed something, and that’s entirely possible, but I was under the impression that all Roxane Gay did was pull her book from her publisher. She didn’t dangle it in front of them and try to manipulate them into cancelling MY’s book deal. She just left. Censorship requires a certain amount of power which only the actual publisher has. At most, Roxane Gay’s actions were a protest. And thank God we’re still allowed to do that in this country. For now, at least.

          • Mark

            We are allowed to protest, and she did not censor Milo. One magazine is refusing to review any of S&S books for a year now, that is probably more pressure.

            We can agree to disagree on if Gays actions are the best thing to do. We both agree it is certainly her right to do and she certainly has reasons to do so.

          • Mark

            What he did or encourage to be done to Leslie Jones is crossing the line into ‘illegitimate’ speech.

            If that is what he has become then he should not be published. I hate Howard Stern, hate him did not listen to him. I did not think he should be kicked off the air though.

            When he called some black college athletes racist sexist names that did cross the line. He deserved to be thrown off the air. The fact that he’s been hewing close to that magical line is no defense.

            Likewise there is plenty of antisemetic speech that would make me personally boil over. But its not for me to call for censorship unless it really becomes illegitimate beyond discourses and becomes the exception.

            The fact that I want to personally silence them means nothing. To attack before it’s generally believed the line is crossed is to give that person a stage. David Duke is really pushing that line. Right now to even attack him is to give him a stage he does not deserve.

          • Elizabeth A

            As the parent of children currently in elementary school, I feel that bullying gets to be an overused term. Just because someone does a thing that upsets you doesn’t make that act bullying, or that person a bully.

            But Roxane Gay is not bullying anyone. All she’s doing is saying that she won’t place her work with one set of people, for political reasons. That’s a choice that she gets to make for herself and her work. Requiring writers to abdicate the ability to make choices for themselves and their work would be immoral.

          • Guest

            Disagreement is not bullying, don’t twist definitions to fit your point of view.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    I don’t understand your objection. She isn’t censoring anything. She isn’t preventing them from doing anything.

    She is just refusing to do business with them if they do business with him. That’s a boycott, not censorship.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      She’s far more vulnerable to this tactic then he is. Conservative books are a very large part of publishing. If conservatives chose to copy her, the Left would have a tough time getting published.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        OK, but that doesn’t make it censorship.

        As for its effectiveness, that’s a question of numbers, as it is with any boycott. If enough participate, it works a lot better.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          It’s not government censorship, but she’s trying to punish S&S for publishing his book.

          • Dr Kitty

            She is saying that she doesn’t want to do business with a company that makes a profit from spreading hate.
            She is not stopping them from publishing him, she is not stopping people from buying his work, she’s saying that she would rather the profits from her work weren’t re-distributed to them.

            I honestly don’t see a problem.

            There are liberal publishers, there are conservative publishers, you can even self publish. People can say almost anything on YouTube and Twitter and personal blogs. Free speech is not at risk.

            I think it is ok to say “you clearly don’t care what the message is, as long as you make a profit, and I’d rather take my business elsewhere”.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            There was no one more hateful than the Nazis who marched in Skokie, but they had a right to do it.

            Like I said before, if people want to boycott the book, they should boycott the book, but it’s another thing entirely to boycott a publisher who publishes hundreds of books a year because they made a deal with someone with whom you disagree.

          • Dr Kitty

            When you chose to publish with Dey St and Harper Collins, what influenced your choice?

            Were the other authors published by them and the ethos of the imprint a factor?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Like I said before, if people want to boycott the book, they should boycott the book, but it’s another thing entirely to boycott a publisher who publishes hundreds of books a year because they made a deal with someone with whom you disagree.

            I don’t see all that much of a difference.

            In your Illinois Nazi example, yes, they have a right to march. But that does not mean the taxi company has to give them a ride to their march. Would it be wrong for me to say that I won’t hire any taxi service that would cater to Illinois Nazis?

            Ob PCM reference
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ukFAvYP3UU

          • swbarnes2

            But a public street is not the same thing as a privately owned publishing house and private people wishing to contract with them. Taxpayers have rights to public facilities, publishers have no rights to contract with authors they want, if the authors don’t want to be there.

          • Sarah

            But… why though?

          • fiftyfifty1

            “There are liberal publishers, there are conservative publishers, you can even self publish.”

            I do think that the presence of other options is important in this case. If there were only one solitary book printer in existence, and you told them “you can’t publish mine unless you pull his” then that would be censorship. But as far as I can tell, Roxane Gay did not try to do anything like that. She just brought her business elsewhere. Writers are free to choose the publishing house that represents them best just like actors can choose the agent that represents them best or companies can hire the advertising firm that fits them best. When you choose to publish with a publishing house rather than self-publish, what you are buying is the Publishing House’s ability to advertise you and promote you and represent your image to the public. They may give you an advance, but in reality you are the one paying them (in the form of a big cut of your sales).

            And if conservative writers ever decide they don’t want to be represented by a publisher that also publishes about evolution or some other liberal theme, then they are free to seek out a publishing house that will be in sympathy with them. There are already publishing houses that specialize in Christian books only. Let them.

            And while it’s true that this will be free publicity for Yiannopoulos, it’s free publicity for Gay too.

    • Steph858

      And from the other side of the equation: businesses have just as much right to refuse to serve a would-be customer for pretty much any reason, no matter how petty (aside from laws which prevent discrimination on the basis of race, gender, disability etc; by ‘petty’ I mean things like ‘The owner of the business is a Manchester United supporter; anyone wearing/carrying anything which indicates they support Manchester City will be refused service’).

      Personally, I have refused to serve people and asked them to leave because they used foul language even after I warned them that I would not tolerate such language being used in my establishment. But I would vehemently oppose any attempts by the government to introduce a law against using swearwords.