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Milo Yiannopoulos’ manuscript leaks—and the editor’s comments are priceless
Official Leweb Photos/Flickr (CC-BY)
In the words of his editor: ‘DELETE UGH.’
Disgraced former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ self-published memoir Dangerous has been out since July, but the book’s original version for Simon & Schuster just went viral. And it’s not a pretty sight to behold.
Originally, Yiannopoulos was signed to publish Dangerous with Simon & Schuster, until comments surfaced from old interviews in which he defended pedophilia and child sexual abuse. That backlash quickly led Yiannopoulos to resign from Breitbart and lose his book deal. In turn, Yiannopoulos sued Simon & Schuster for $10 million for breach of contract. That lawsuit is still in progress after the New York State Supreme Court decided against dismissing the case.
Now, Yiannopoulos’ fight with Simon & Schuster is suddenly of interest again, as details of the lawsuit have been made public. Polis Books publisher Jason Pinter stumbled across the lawsuit online (through the New York Supreme Court and County Clerk’s e-filed cases database) and tweeted about it on Wednesday, sharing a memorandum disparaging Yiannopoulos’ writing. That’s because, in Simon & Schuster editor Mitchell Ivers’ view, the book needed major revisions, with chapters like “Why Establishment Gays Hate Me” falling under particular scrutiny for arguing things like “gay people should go back in the closet.”
“Ivers considered Plaintiff’s first draft to be, at best, a superficial work full of incendiary jokes with no coherent or sophisticated analysis of political issues of free speech,” the memorandum states. “Plainly, it was not acceptable to Simon & Schuster for publication.”
This section of Simon & Schuster’s rebuttal to Milo’s lawsuit over DANGEROUS. 🤭 pic.twitter.com/JxydVQpx4f
— Jason Pinter (@jasonpinter) December 27, 2017
So as Pinter’s tweet went viral, Twitter users became interested in uncovering the case to learn more about Simon & Schuster’s take on Dangerous in its original form. And that’s when software engineer Sarah Mei unearthed the entire manuscript from the New York court’s website, detailing some of Yiannopoulos’ missteps.
“I didn’t read the manuscript. Just the comments,” she explained on Twitter. “They’re…amazing. Even better than the excerpts in the filing.”
In a Twitter thread capturing the highlights, Mei points to an inconsistent and juvenile first draft, where Yiannopoulos regularly disparages people of color, feminists, and queer activists while making sexual innuendos and racist jokes. All of this did not fare well with Ivers. In one case, he encouraged Yiannopoulos to delete an “irrelevant and superfluous ethnic joke.” In another, he simply wrote, “This is not the time or place for another black-dick joke.” In some cases, Ivers’ edits have a better sense of humor than Yiannopoulos’ own writing.
“All this pop psychology is hogwash,” Ivers complained in a manuscript comment. “You can’t say ugly people are drawn to the left. Have you ever seen the people at a Trump really?”
I didn’t read the manuscript. Just the comments. They’re…amazing. Even better than the excerpts in the filing.
And a pretty good summary of the book I imagine. pic.twitter.com/2kPESxAlA9
— Sarah Mei (@sarahmei) December 28, 2017
The editor is a conservative man who has published books for 45 & other folks with similar opinions. You can see that in the occasional “good point” comments. But mostly he was very politely having NONE of Milo’s bullshit.
— Sarah Mei (@sarahmei) December 28, 2017
Also I now know I can write a book, because ffs he wrote A WHOLE CHAPTER about how ugly people hate him
Literally anyone could do better than this pic.twitter.com/xdPhoioUT9
— Sarah Mei (@sarahmei) December 28, 2017
An email submitted to the court further details some of Yiannopoulos’ plans for the revisions, including more information on the “day I got banned and how it felt,” a “relationship I had with a Muslim guy,” and “letters from people I’ve fat-shamed telling me how I changed their lives.” In another email clarifying Ivers’ suggestions, he instead encourages the “alt-right” pundit to cut down on personal attacks and focus more substantially on his political beliefs, his personal feelings, and controversial subjects like targeting actress Leslie Jones.
“The feminist chapter: This seemed to be the most problematic part of our discussion, but you will need to develop a stronger argument against feminism than saying that they are ugly and sexless and have cats,” Ivers explained to Yiannopoulos. “While I understand that these repeated jokes might be effective in your lecture venues, the book will need a more intellectually bracing discussion of how contemporary feminism stifles speech.”
Of course, once the rest of Twitter unearthed the manuscript from the New York courts, feminists were quick to make fun of him.
Delete Entire Chapter: The Milo Yiannopoulos Story.
— Alexandra Erin has a regular username now (@alexandraerin) December 28, 2017
As well as being fun to read, Milo's editor seems to be defining the ISO standard responses to tweets. pic.twitter.com/3BdSEdmicq
— Andrew R (@ExcelPope) December 28, 2017
The Milo book editor comments should become everyone’s go to response to online abuse pic.twitter.com/FYuqcSTyxV
— Lynsey Barber… probably hasn’t seen your email (@lynseybarber) December 28, 2017
From now on, when someone tries to pick a fight with me on Twitter, I shall reply with a comment from Milo’s book editor pic.twitter.com/wiuTdDImGD
— Marie Connor (@thistallawkgirl) December 28, 2017
In fact, the Dangerous manuscript is more of a commentary on Yiannopoulos than anything else. It shows Milo at his rawest: immature, thoughtless, and unqualified to offer intelligent discourse on American culture.
— ana marie cox (@anamariecox) December 28, 2017
Ivers also threw some shade at Milo in the draft’s rougher sections, harping on him for using the writing cop-out: “I can think of no better explanation.”
Milo wanted his book to have "letters from people I've fat-shamed telling me how I changed their lives." pic.twitter.com/YWMUVG8OEI
— Griswold Christmas Vacation (@HashtagGriswold) December 28, 2017
I am personally delighted by the part where Milo's editor all but yells "WHY DID WE GIVE YOU ALL THAT MONEY TO WRITE THIS TRASH" pic.twitter.com/IiHwSmhgQR
— Anna Merlan (@annamerlan) December 28, 2017
Milo sued Simon & Schuster for declining to publish his book. In their response brief, S&S included the entire manuscript complete w/the editor's notes and my God they are a joy to read. https://t.co/B1TNcYh1uI
— Jeff B/DDHQ (@EsotericCD) December 28, 2017
Oh yes, and Ivers knows the manuscript is out there.
Retweeted without comment. https://t.co/tzjvJMwX8j
— Mitchell Ivers (@MitchellIvers) December 27, 2017
And yet, Ivers proved somewhat sympathetic to Yiannopoulos’ core beliefs—or at least knew a palatable way to shape them. If his editing eventually led to a polished manuscript from the publishing house, Dangerous could have become a go-to book for the “alt-right”—a scary thing to consider.
incidentally, I (together with a whole bunch of other people) are laughing at Mitchell Iver's comments but when you dig in the lawsuit documents, he was thoroughly sympathetic to Milo's ideas pic.twitter.com/s4slwbwVZx
— Flavia Dzodan (@redlightvoices) December 28, 2017
here's how a conservative editor seeks to whitewash Milo into something more acceptable and profitable pic.twitter.com/I0IlubW13t
— emma steiner (@surfbordt) December 28, 2017
but also take a moment to consider how milo's editor was essentially trying to make white supremacy, misogyny, and homophobia publishable: pic.twitter.com/FD6sUgN84c
— E. Alex Jung (@e_alexjung) December 28, 2017
milo's editor: is there a more palatable word for "genocide"???
y'all: oooooooo drag him sis
— Ziwe (@ziwe) December 28, 2017
Disclosure: Milo Yiannopoulos was the founder of the Kernel, a publication the Daily Dot acquired in 2014.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Waypoint, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.