News broke Thursday that Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial editor at Breitbart News who was banned from Twitter for instigating harassment, has signed a book deal.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Yiannopoulos received a $250,000 advance from Simon & Schuster's imprint, Threshold Editions. The imprint has previously published books by Glenn Beck, Donald Trump, Bobby Jindal, Dick Cheney and other prominent conservative voices.
But for some in publishing, Yiannopoulos's book deal was a step too far.
The Chicago Review of Books announced on Twitter that it would not review any books from Simon & Schuster's imprints in 2017.
Adam Morgan, editor-in-chief for the Chicago Review, said that Simon & Schuster books made up only a fraction of the titles his publication reviewed this year — approximately 15 out of more than 300.
"Next year, we would just rather give those 15 slots to a publisher who doesn't normalize hate speech," Morgan said.
Morgan insisted that it was not a question of free speech: "[Yiannopoulos] has every right to say anything he wants to say; Simon & Schuster has every right to publish whatever they want to publish. And the Chicago Review of Books has every right to cover the books we want to cover."
There is also talk of a retail boycott.
Yiannopoulos has made many headlines this year, from his involvement in the online harassment of comedian Leslie Jones to his targeting of a transgender student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee earlier this month.
The backlash against the Chicago Review by supporters of Yiannopoulos was swift: Morgan said he has received thousands of violent messages, including images of his head Photoshopped onto the body of a Nazi.
The question of whether to boycott Simon & Schuster has proved divisive. Kima Jones, a writer and book publicist, said the boycott has the potential to harm the same voices that boycotters are seeking to defend.
"It's harming the authors that we're saying we want to advocate for," Jones said. Jones has several clients with books forthcoming from Simon & Schuster, including authors of color, who are consistently underrepresented in publishing.
The uproar highlights the divisions among imprints at major publishing houses. The "big five" houses, as they are called — Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster — each have dozens of imprints.
Imprints with wildly different ideologies may co-exist under a single large brand. At Simon & Schuster, the decision to publish a book by Yiannopoulos, who is an outspoken critic of Islam, stands in stark contrast to its decision in February to found Salaam Reads, an imprint devoted entirely to Muslim children's books.
That's the reality of publishing, Jones said. Simon & Schuster isn't the only one with a conservative imprint.
"I think the best way to discuss the situation with Milo's book or any other book that you're not invested in yourself is to support the art that you are invested in," Jones said. "The best way to change the current of the conversation is to shift it towards the books you are interested in."
The plan for any kind of book boycott raises questions, Jones said.
"Then the idea is: Where is the cutoff? Where do we stop?"