Book publishing giant Simon & Schuster just lost the first round in a $10 million lawsuit slapped against them by conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, as they had requested that the lawsuit be dismissed.
During a Thursday hearing, New York Supreme Court Judge Barry Ostrager ruled in favor of Yiannopoulos, allowing the case to move forward.
Yiannopoulos had a deal with Simon & Schuster to publish his book, “Dangerous,” but the company cut ties with him in February when allegations were launched against him, claiming he approved of sex with minors, after an old interview surfaced.
Simon & Schuster sent Yiannopoulos a letter notifying him that they were pulling out of the deal, but told him he could keep the $80,000 book advance he received. They said when he didn’t respond to the letter, and kept the $80,000, they considered the matter closed to everyone’s satisfaction, and the prior agreement was deemed null and void.
But Yiannopoulos was not in agreement and ultimately sued the company in May–for a whopping $10 million–citing breach of contract and alleging they refused to publish the book for political reasons, namely out of fear of backlash from progressives.
He eventually went on to publish the book under his own company.
The judge asked Yiannopoulos whether that was a signal that he accepted Simon & Schuster’s termination letter, to which he responded that under the contract if a manuscript is unacceptable, “We not only have a right but also an obligation to go out and find a new publisher.”
Simon & Schuster has called the lawsuit a “publicity stunt,” claiming that because he didn’t respond to their letter, his lawsuit should be thrown out.
An attorney representing the publishing company, Elizabeth McNamara, said at the hearing, “Milo has one of the largest bullhorns in the country. He knows how to use it. His silence speaks volumes.”
Judge Ostrager disagreed, noting that the contract gives Yiannopoulos 18 months to return the $80,000.
The lawsuit now moves forward, with Simon & Schuster left needing to defend themselves as to why they canceled the contract for the book, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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