Book publisher Simon & Schuster announced it would not cancel a seven-figure book deal with former vice president Mike Pence amid protest from their own staff members. Pence’s as yet untitled memoir is due to be published in 2023.
“As a publisher in this polarised era, we have experienced outrage from both sides of the political divide and from different constituencies and groups. But we come to work each day to publish, not cancel, which is the most extreme decision a publisher can make, and one that runs counter to the very core of our mission to publish a diversity of voices and perspectives,” wrote S&S president Jonathan Karp in a statement.
“Regardless of where those authors sit on the ideological spectrum, or if they hold views that run counter to the belief systems held by some of us, we apply a rigorous standard to assure that in acquiring books, we will be bringing into the world works that provide new information or perspectives on events to which we otherwise might not have access,” he added.
S&S staff members had circulated an open letter calling on their employer to cancel the book deal, saying it had “chosen complicity in perpetuating white supremacy by publishing Pence” and blasting Pence for having “made a career out of discriminating against marginalised groups and denying resources to BIPOC and LGBTQA+ communities.”
Staff members pointed out that S&S had canceled a book deal made with Jonathan Mattingly, the police officer who shot and killed Breonna Taylor in early 2020.
“Even though S&S cancelled its distribution of the book by white supremacist and murderer Jonathan Mattingly, by choosing to continue to distribute Post Hill Press, whose titles include Matt Gaetz’s racist manifesto, the company openly supports and normalizes violence against minors, Black women, and all Black people by individuals and the state,” they note. “This is unacceptable in light of the recent murders of Daunte Wright, Peyton Ham, Adam Toledo, Ma’Khia Bryant* and countless others, over the centuries of harm caused by people in positions of power. We demand you drop all distribution ties with Post Hill Press.”
“We impart to you the sad and unfortunate truth that we are actively making history right now: people will look back on this one day, and see that through our complicity, we chose to be on what is clearly the wrong side of justice,” they conclude.
You can read the open letter HERE.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.