Milo Yiannopoulos has reissued his $10m legal complaint against Simon & Schuster US for cancelling his book deal.
S&S US dropped controversial rightwing commentator Yiannopoulos' forthcoming book Dangerous after a podcast interview came to light in which he made comments appearing to condone sexual relationships between men and boys as young as 13. The publishing house severed ties with Yiannopoulos despite having already paid an advance from the publisher's imprint, Threshold Editions, of $80,000 (of a total $255,000 advance) in January for signing, which it said he could keep.
Defending itself against the $10m lawsuit from Yiannopoulos filed on 7th July claiming "opportunistic breach of contract" after allegedly cancelling publication on grounds the book itself was “unacceptable”, S&S US had said the action was "publicity-driven and entirely without merit". It went on to argue Yiannopoulos "accepted" the end of his contract with the publisher by failing to return the $80,000 advance paid in January by the end of July. It said that by allowing him to keep the money, the company no longer had “any further obligation to him under that agreement” and that by accepting the cash “without protest” his lawsuit is voided by “centuries-old law”.
But, in response to these arguments to dismiss the case, Yiannopoulos now argues his acceptance of the money could "not be deemed to be in 'satisfaction' of any dispute because none then existed" and since then he has not signed any modification of the agreement. According to the revised complaint, filed 16th August, he further argues there was "no obligation" to repay the "non-returnable" $80,000 advance.
The complaint reitterates and expands on many of the arguments made in the first instance of the complaint, alleging his editor at S&S US had praised Yiannopoulos’ “thorough and good work” days prior to the "abrupt" cancellation of his book deal, while branding the scandal over his comments about sexual relations between men and young boys as "fake news".
The reissued filing alleges that "despite pre-orders projected to propel the book onto leading bestselling book lists", S&S US “wrongfully, and in bad faith, terminated the contract with Yiannopoulos in violation of its terms and cancelled Dangerous under pressure from authors, bookselling accounts, business and special-interest groups, celebrities, and various other self- appointed censors who disagreed with views expressed by Yiannopoulos”.
It goes on: "In reality, Simon & Schuster, abruptly and without warning, informed Yiannopoulos’ book agent that it was terminating Yiannopoulos’ agreement and cancelling the publication of Dangerous only hours after a 'fake news' story broke that Breitbart News may be dismissing Yiannopoulos in the wake of false and misleading reports that he had publicly condoned pedophilia – a false accusation he has vociferously denied in social media postings, as well as in the pages of Dangerous, which Yiannopoulos self-published on July 4, 2017."
The updated filing continues to say the self-published book is selling “briskly”, but goes on to argue: “even with book enjoying strong sales, any revenue that Yiannopoulos may receive from such publication will hardly begin to compensate him for the vast damages he has suffered, and in any event pales in comparison to the revenues Simon & Schuster spared itself from losing by reason of opportunistically terminating the Dangerous contract and avoiding the massive fallout from its publication of the book."
Yiannopoulos went onto self-publish the book through Amazon on 4th July through his imprint Dangerous Books. The title fell out of the US top 100 two weeks ago. It has sold 61,306 copies in print after six weeks on sale according to Nielsen BookScan. In the UK the title has long fallen out of the weekly top 5,000 chart, since July it has shifted 1,450 copies.