Thursday, December 28, 2017

Open Letter to Carolyn Reidy and Mitchell Ivers

(This letter has also been emailed directly to Carolyn Reidy and Mitchell Ivers just to let them know how deeply I disrespect them.)
Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: 212-698-2897
Fax: 212-632-4084

Dear Simon & Schuster, et al:

     Thanks largely to Jason Pinter and his now-viral post on Twitter, we have been afforded a glimpse of the shit show that ensued when your right wing imprint, Threshold, decided to crawl into bed with Milo Yiannopoulos last winter. Here is a guy who’d been fired by Breitbart for making apologist statements in behalf of pederasts, got banned from Twitter for life (which would’ve made for a huge plank in his marketing platform) and was banned from speaking to his old grammar school in the UK as well as Berkeley. Granted, several of these incidents had come to light after your executives had seen fit to sign Milo to a $255,000 contract with an $80,000 advance. But you must have known, should have known what you were crawling into bed with when you signed to a lucrative contract a bigoted, self-loathing gay man who had launched a speaking tour called “Dangerous Faggot.”
     And not only was he escorted straight past the editorial offices of Simon & Schuster but was even led straight to the executive suites. By his own admission, he tried his level-headed best to alienate you out of giving him a contract, showing what a self-destructive piece of shit he truly is but, when the performance art was over, you shoved a large pile of money his feet and shook his hand.
     And now here you are, embroiled in a $10,000,000 nuisance lawsuit in which your lawyers had lost the first round when they had their motion to dismiss rejected by a New York State Supreme Court Judge. And I do not feel sorry for you one bit. And this is a contract you'd actually had the gall to defend, stating. "We do not and never have condoned discrimination or hate speech in any form." Which was an odd tack to take since by the summer of 2016 Yiannopoulos had been banned for Twitter for life harassing and basically stalking black actress Leslie Jones over her role in Ghostbusters
     And, if Simon & Schuster's official corporate line is to condemn "discrimination and hate speech", then explain why you'd chosen to publish a book in which he smears feminists as fat women who own lots of cats? Or says that gay men should stay in the closet?
     This is the price you pay for getting involved with right wingers in the first place, let alone setting up a right wing imprint such as Threshold. Lord only knows why a once-prestigious publishing company would flush itself down the cultural tubes by setting up a right wing imprint instead of a progressive one that at least would’ve attracted intelligent, thoughtful writers presenting intelligent, thoughtful books. But “fairness and balance” only seems to apply when giving right wing nut jobs such as Milo a voice in the national debate.
     Your entire business model is Byzantine and perplexing. Not that this is entirely your fault. The Big Five as a whole is perplexing in its outdated and non-agile business model that never seems to be able to keep step with the Protean changes in today’s publishing business. And Lord only knows why you, Ms. Reidy, were recently honored with being made Publisher’s Weekly’s Person of Year in 2017 after embroiling your publishing company in a lawsuit that has made it, moreso than usual, the laughingstock of the English-speaking world, the publishing business in general and social media.
     Let me tell you a true story:
     About seven years ago, I got fed up with literary agents launching their flunkies at me with countless form letters because they themselves didn’t think I was worth the ten seconds it would take to hit the “send button.” So I submitted my novel, THE TOY COP, over the transom to Judith Curr, co-founder of your other imprint, Atria Books.
     Judith got back to me, sent me an encouraging letter then tried to hook me up with a buddy of hers who just happened to be a literary agent named Judith Sanders, with whom she just happened to have lunch the day before. “Send her the whole manuscript,” she said, “and we’ll take it from there. She ought to be emailing you any minute.”
     Needless to say, warning bells went off.
     Part of the publishing business’s moral leprosy consists of a generation ago your ilk making literary agents primary gatekeepers because you no longer felt like going through the slush pile. Now, in this massive, undeclared kickback scheme you audaciously call a business model, we’re forced to take on an agent and waste untold amounts of time soliciting the attention of these morons who literally fail at their jobs nearly 100% of the time.
     When an agent tries to put you in touch with a publisher, that’s bad enough. But when a publisher such as Judith Curr tries to find an author an agent, it makes it look even more like the collusive kickback scheme that ought to be enforceable under the RICO statutes. And that’s exactly what it is- It’s racketeering. It’s the publisher’s way of telling the author, “Nice property ya got here. Be a shame if… nuttin’ happened to it.”
     Here was the sticking point- Vicky Sanders had rejected 10 days earlier, through the usual form letter, a brilliant novel I’d written entitled AMERICAN ZEN. It was the last of several such letters I’d gotten from Sanders over the years and I’d already written her off on my agent contact list. So when Sanders indeed wrote me within minutes after sniffing out a possible paycheck and opportunity, I told her I didn’t want her anywhere near my literary properties.
     She then pretended she had any control over the situation and did the Aesop’s Fable sour grapes thing and rescinded an offer I’d already rejected, stating there “was too much history between us.” I responded the real problem, in fact, was that there was no history between us and she had nothing but her stupidity, laziness and arrogance to thank for that.
     So what’s the difference between Milo and me, despite the fact Milo has no talent for writing whatsoever? Milo had a literary agent, some idiot named Tom Flannery, therefore, despite his self-immolating behavior, he had instantly had more credibility than me and was led straight to the executive suites before he’d even caught sight of an editor.
     And what happened to THE TOY COP almost seven years ago? When Judith Curr realized I wasn’t going to put any cha ching in her agent buddy’s pocket, she immediately shunted me to one of her flunkies and they both passed on the book.
     And now your formerly great publishing company is embroiled in a nuisance lawsuit over the guy you did choose over me, thereby spending more money than you likely would have made by publishing that putrid piece of shit, Dangerous. Well played, Carolyn, well played.
     Lord only knows what you people were thinking. Even Milo’s right wing editor, Mitchell Ivers, a man who thinks liberals are the ones suppressing free speech (great hiring choice, there, by the way), couldn’t stand reading it. He was given a box of shit a la Steve Mnuchin and was asked to turn it into a bouquet by Simon & Schuster’s executives while they prepared themselves to ride the Milo Gravy Train.
     But a box of shit is still a box of shit and never even rises to the level of fertilizer if it doesn’t have anything viable to fertilize. I would think, seeing as how literary agents, from whom you buy almost all your properties, fail at their jobs nearly 100%, publishing executives would know that just because a person has a literary agent it doesn’t mean they’re worthy of a publishing contract.
     And the moral and legal stench of getting into bed with a guy who’d already made himself a psychedelic bozo is wafting across the internet and you have egg you likely will never wipe off your face.
     If I ever get a literary agent, I will instruct him or her to simply bypass Simon & Schuster in the submission process on the grounds I would never wish to be published by a corporation that had shown the astoundingly bad judgment of offering a large publishing contract to a hateful bigot such as Milo Yiannopoulos.
     And people such as Yiannopoulos, and by extension, Donald Trump, should and will serve as an object lesson in the dangers of doing business with such toxic individuals without first examining our souls and determining who and what we are as a species and judging how far we’re willing to go in the name of corporate profits. And, as much as I loathe Milo and everything he stands for, a part of me hopes he wins his lawsuit and you lose another $10,000,000 to that psychopath for breach of contract.
          Very Sincerely,

     Robert Crawford


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