NEW YORK (AP) — Cassandra Clare and Laurie Halse Anderson are among more than 160 Simon & Schuster children's authors and illustrators who added their names to a letter sent to the company's chief executive in protest of the recent decision to publish a book by the far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.
Thursday's letter to Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy denounced Yiannopoulos as a "hate-monger" and white supremacist. The signees didn't call for Reidy to cancel publication of Yiannopoulos' "Dangerous," scheduled for March and already the subject of intense criticism, but they warned that Simon & Schuster risked its "considerable reputation and weight."
"This man, and this book, are not America," the letter reads. "This man, and this book, are not the bulk of Simon & Schuster. This man, and this book, are not us, the authors and illustrators of Simon & Schuster. We believe that the children we write for deserve a better America."
Simon & Schuster issued a brief statement in response, saying that it does "appreciate and respect the feelings and opinions of our authors." The publisher has previously defended its decision by noting that it works with "a wide range of authors with greatly varying, and frequently controversial opinions."
The book by Yiannopoulos is being published through Simon & Schuster's conservative Threshold Editions imprint, where authors have included former Vice President Dick Cheney and President-elect Donald Trump. Other Simon & Schuster imprints have published books by Trump's Democratic rival for the 2016 presidency, Hillary Clinton, and by such Clinton backers as Amy Schumer and Bruce Springsteen.
Yiannopoulos writes for Breitbart News, considered by many a platform for the so-called "alt-right" movement, an offshoot of conservatism that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism. Last summer, he was kicked off Twitter after leading a harassment campaign against "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones.
The Chicago Review of Books has tweeted that it won't review any Simon & Schuster releases because of the Milo book. The National Coalition Against Censorship and such industry groups as the American Booksellers Association are backing Simon & Schuster, contending that withdrawing "Dangerous" would have a "have a chilling effect on authors and publishers."
When news of the deal broke in late December, "Dangerous" quickly rose to the top of Amazon.com's best-seller list. Interest has since leveled off and the book ranked No. 388 as of midday Thursday.