Former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has served his former publisher Simon & Schuster US with a $10m lawsuit, days after his self-published memoir was released.
The controversial right-wing writer held a rally outside the publisher’s offices in Manhattan on Friday (7th July), three days after Dangerous was self-published. During the event he discussed the breach of contract lawsuit with reporters, according to Publishers Weekly, with around 50 supporters turning up to hear Yiannopoulos criticise the publisher for bowing to pressure from “liberal media”.
Yiannopoulos reportedly told reporters outside Simon & Schuster's Manhattan offices: "Because of political pressure ... in the space of 24 hours they suddenly decided that the book was unfit for publication. Well that's unacceptable. They don't get to break the deal on what I believe is a false pretext because they caved to political pressure. So they have to pay."
In the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Yiannopoulos said the publisher’s decision to terminate the contract was due to public perception. The suit said: “Simon & Schuster’s termination of the Yiannopoulos’ book contract had nothing to do with the content of the Dangerous manuscript, and everything to do with the firestorm of controversy around Yiannopoulos, his well-known reputation for political incorrectness, and Simon & Schuster’s announcement of plans to publish his book.”
S&S US pulled out of its book deal to publish the memoir in February following a radio interview in which he appeared to condone sexual relations with young boys. The advance from the publisher's imprint, Threshold Editions, was reportedly worth $250,000.
The publisher said it had not yet been served the lawsuit but said it would “fully expect to prevail in court”. A spokesperson told The Bookseller: "Although we have not been officially served, we believe that Yiannopoulos's lawsuit is publicity driven and entirely without merit. Simon & Schuster will vigorously defend itself against any such action, and fully expects to prevail in court.”
Dangerous was reportedly the number one bestselling new release on Amazon.com immediately following its 4th July publication. Yiannopoulos's PR firm, AMW Public Relations, told Publishers Weekly that "100,000 copies were delivered to Amazon and sold out in the first day of release," although "a large number of them were on pre-order." The book has 378 reviews and an average of 4.9/5 stars on Amazon.com.
Yiannopoulos spoke to Publishers Weekly the night before the rally at his official book launch which was said to have gathered around 450 people. The writer said: “It's a nice f**k you. Their shareholders should be pretty angry right now, because it isn't going to stop at 100,000.
“We're seeing everything pick up and continuing to pick up. Orders from distributors and retailers are getting bigger, not smaller. I think I can sell half a million copies without breaking a sweat.”
He added: “Simon & Schuster's shareholders should be really, really p****d. And I'm really p****d at them—which is why I'm suing them."
Yiannopoulos said last month that he had sold 65,000 in pre-orders of his memoir. He announced plans to self-publish the work in May through his newly announced imprint, Dangerous Books, two months after his S&S US book deal was shelved. At the same time, he also announced plans to file a "$10m lawsuit" against his former publishers.