Boycott Simon & Schuster for Supporting Neo-Fascist Authors
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As avid readers, students, professors, writers, and colleagues in the publishing world, we resolve not to purchase books published by Simon & Schuster (SS) because of their decision to offer a white nationalist “alt-right” figure, Milo Yiannopoulos, a $250,000 book deal. We will not be assigning them in classes for the foreseeable future, unless SS changes course. Along with the likes of "The Chicago Review of Books," we are taking a stand. We ask that you also boycott SS.
One might ask, “But aren’t you infringing on Yiannopoulos’s own free speech by taking this action"?
In the United States, legally, and according to most democratic theorists, free speech is having the right to speak publicly without repercussions from authorities. Real censorship comes only from governments, or when violence is threatened.
Just because a person has the right to speak publicly, it doesn’t mean an individual or institution have to support a person by providing a forum or financial support, i.e., it’s like saying someone can enter your home (a private space), at whatever hour, and start spewing hate speech, and then ask you to pay for it *because* they have freedom of speech.
We have freedom of speech, but not a guarantee of private forum. Of course neo-fascists have free speech, but that doesn’t mean an individual or institution has to support it. If you look abroad for comparison, in many European countries, hate speech is illegal, because hate speech is seen as a violation of the free speech of those it oppresses .
In short, yes we have free speech, but it doesn’t mean that other individuals have to financially support institutions, publishers, or individuals who financially support hate with our own money (which in a capitalist society means supporting them with our own labour). Let them speak, they have their own forums, like Breitbart where this particular author is an editor, and a slew of other neo-fascist publishers. But there is no need for us to support the normalization of hateful rhetoric in the popular press.
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