Milo Yiannopoulos claims he spends thousands of dollars every month. He claims he is professionally thriving and his brand is stronger than ever. So why can’t he distribute the scholarship money he collected and promised to give?
The alt-right professional agitator reportedly inked a book deal worth at least $250,000, according to the Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. The deal is to publish an autobiographical work in the spring of 2017 with Threshold Editions, a subsidiary of Simon and Schuster.
“I met with top execs at Simon & Schuster earlier in the year and spent half an hour trying to shock them with lewd jokes and outrageous opinions,” Yiannopoulos gloated to The Hollywood Reporter. “I thought they were going to have me escorted from the building—but instead they offered me a wheelbarrow full of money.”
The 320-page tome, entitled “Dangerous,” is set to be released on March 14 and it features an image of the frosted-tip author making a steely glance out into the distance. It is another entry in his successful literary career following his 2007 self-published book of poetry called “Eskimo Papoose,” which plagiarized lyrics from Tori Amos songs.
“DANGEROUS will be a book on free speech by the outspoken and controversial gay British writer and editor at Breitbart News who describes himself as “the most fabulous supervillain on the internet,” a statement provided to The Daily Beast by Simon and Schuster read.
Earlier this year, Yiannopoulos announced the creation of a “Privilege Grant” college scholarship to be given to white men only. The Daily Beast reported that the charity had collected in excess of $100,000 and distributed none of it long past the time it had promised to do so. In fact, the money was housed in an account owned by Yiannopoulos, he admitted.
In an update announced a day before the book deal, the Privilege Grant site said it plans to finally distribute grants in spring 2017—almost a year after it was promised.
“We will open applications for our first grants to students in late January,” the release reads. “We will close the applications after several weeks, and grants will be awarded in March. Grant money will be sent to students as soon as the IRS clears the Privilege Grant to disburse funds. We expect that clearance in late March or early April.”
When reached for comment about the grant and information about the collection and distribution process, Yiannopoulos accused The Daily Beast of having “lied about my charity.”
“You think I need $100k that badly?” he wrote in an email Thursday. “You think I’d blow up my career over that kind of money? I spend $50k A MONTH. My tour cost over a million dollars. My book advance is over $250k. What planet are you living on?”
Yiannopoulos didn’t respond to a follow-up question seeking more information but said “you are going to be left deeply embarrassed when we start handing out checks.”
Margaret MacLennan, a self-described “Canadian conservative” YouTube personality, tweeted a number of accusations about the status of the charity earlier this week. She previously told The Daily Beast she was at one time tasked with running the grant.
“Privilege Grant took bank transfers because unlike PayPal, transfers can’t be disputed :) or refunded in case of false advertising,” she said on Monday. In a series of other tweets, MacLennan claimed that she wasn’t paid for her work on the grant and that the new statement about a pledge to distribute money was “a bunch of promises with fancy words thrown in.”
MacLennan has not responded to questions from The Daily Beast about the grant in direct Twitter messages but was incredulous that Yiannopoulos would be receiving this big of a book advance.
It’s unclear if other people are actively involved in the grant at this stage.
Yiannopoulos’s payday was met with calls for a boycott of Simon and Schuster’s entire catalogue, which spans 35 imprints, including a call by a literary journal to not review any of the company’s books in 2017.
A representative for the company did not confirm the reported financial advance amount and said they do not comment on those figures. The literary agent working with Yiannopoulos has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast either.
In response to the announcement, The Chicago Review of Books vowed not to review a single Simon & Schuster book in 2017 due to the new book deal. The company typically publishes about 2,000 books per year.
“In response to this disgusting validation of hate, we will not cover a single @simonschuster book in 2017,” the journal announced on its Twitter account.
Some Simon & Schuster authors struggled with the boycott of their own publisher, noting that they don’t agree with Yiannopoulos’ views, but still need to sell books.
“(That face when your) publisher signs a hate troll & people call for a boycott & you’re like well yeah but um,” Simon & Schuster author Michael Robbins wrote on Twitter. “(It’s the) same imprint (that) published Trump’s ‘Crippled America.”
Another Simon & Schuster author, Karen Hunter, wrote that Yiannopoulos’ book deal has made her reconsider her future with the publisher.
“I am rethinking my relationship with @simonschuster #Milo,” she wrote.
Even if the deal does lead to Yiannopoulos distributing the promised cash, some in the publishing community want nothing to do with it.
“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the publisher of Trump, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, and Beck would give this despicable, racist misogynist a voice,” a former Simon & Schuster executive told The Daily Beast. “I’m all for free speech, but I wonder how his rhetoric could possibly stand up to S&S’s commitment to excellence and rigorous reporting standards.”
—Additional reporting by Noah Shachtman