Court submissions over far-right provocateurs memoir reveal concerns over weak arguments, boasting and racism

Court documents filed in the US have revealed the editorial concerns of the publisher Simon & Schuster about the manuscript of the alt-right controversialist Milo Yiannopouloss autobiography Dangerous.

Having reportedly secured the book for an advance of $255,000 (200,000), Simon & Schuster cancelled the deal in February after a recording emerged that appeared to show Yiannopoulos endorsing sex between younger boys and older men.

In July, Yiannopoulos set out to sue Simon & Schuster for $10m for breach of contract. As part of the case, Simon & Schuster have submitted documents that reveal the problems they had with the book. Among other criticisms, the publishers notes say Yiannopoulos needed a stronger argument against feminism than saying that they are ugly and sexless and have cats and that another chapter needs a better central thesis than the notion that gay people should go back in the closet.

In addition to the documents, a full copy of an early manuscript of the book, complete with the Simon & Schuster editor Mitchell Iverss notes, is available to download from the New York state courts website.

Court document from New York County reveals the editors notes on the manuscript for Milo Yiannopoulos cancelled book Photograph: New York Unified Court System

The tone is set in notes on the prologue to the manuscript. Ivers writes to Yiannopoulos: Throughout the book, your best points seem to be lost in a sea of self-aggrandizement and scattershot thinking, and adds: Careful that the egotistical boasting doesnt make you seem juvenile.

Add something like this only less self-serving reads another comment early in the manuscript.

Ivers frequently calls on Yiannopoulos to back up his assertions in the text. In the first nine pages of chapter one, notes include: Citations needed, Do you have proof of this?, Unsupportable charge and Cite examples.

Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter in 2016 after his role in the online harassment of the Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones. The editor makes several notes asking the author to tone down racism in the text. Delete irrelevant and superfluous ethnic joke, Ivers writes of a passage about taxi drivers. Lets not call South Africa white is another request, while elsewhere Yiannopoulos is reprimanded for using the phrase dark continent about Africa.

Yiannopoulos, who was filmed singing America the Beautiful while the white nationalist leader Richard Spencer and others gave the Hitler salute in the audience, is also criticised for attempting to suggest that the Hollywood left is more racist than Nazis. I dont like using Nazi analogies. Ever, is the editors note.

Yiannopoulos is repeatedly warned his choice of words is undermining any argument he is attempting to make. The use of phrases like two-faced backstabbing bitches diminishes your overall point, reads one comment. Too important a point to end in a crude quip is another. Unclear, unfunny, delete, reads another.

The early sections of a chapter on feminism prompt the note: Dont start chapter with accusation that feminists = fat. It destroys any seriousness of purpose. Yiannopoulos goes on to criticise contemporary feminism as merely a capitalist con-job a money-grab designed to sell T-shirts to Taylor Swift and Beyonc fans with asinine slogans. Um like your MILO SWAG? the editor responds.

Iverss evident exasperation becomes clear by page 84, where Yiannopouloss call for lesbians to be thrown out of academia altogether simply elicits the all-upper-case comment: DELETE UGH.

On Wednesday, Ivers retweeted without comment Publishing Perspectives Editor-in-Chief Porter Anderson pointing out that Ivers overall review described the book as at best, a superficial work full of incendiary jokes with no coherent or sophisticated analysis of political issues.

Mitchell Ivers (@MitchellIvers)

Retweeted without comment.

December 27, 2017

However, the emergence of the notes have not allowed Simon & Schuster to escape continued criticism for their initial striking of a deal with Yiannopoulos, or their editorial efforts to make his ideas more palatable to the market.

Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith)

The publisher knew who Yiannopoulos was when they gave him a $255,000 advance. The editors brutal comments are somewhat entertaining, but none of this should distract from the fact that they sought to make his bigotry both digestible and marketable.

December 28, 2017

The comments from Ivers came to wider attention when excerpts were posted to Twitter by software engineer Sarah Mei, who suggested some of them might make great observations to use in the future.

Sarah Mei (@sarahmei)

Will immediately start using if you want to make a case for [fucking ridiculous thing], youre going to have to employ a lot more intellectual rigor than you use here.

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