Simon and Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp says he will continue with plans to publish a book by former Vice President Mike Pence despite an attempt by some employees to cancel it.
Karp was responding to an online petition of employees and petitions on social media demanding that Simon and Schuster refuse to publish a sure-fire bestseller. The woke Democratic partisans didn’t mince any words in their denunciations of Pence.
An online petition accused the company of “complicity in perpetuating white supremacy by publishing Mike Pence. The former vice president was accused of promoting policies that were “racist, sexist and discriminatory toward LGBTQ+ people.”
“This is not a difference of opinions; this is legitimizing bigotry,” the petition said.
In a letter to staffers, Mr. Karp said, “As a publisher in this polarized 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.”
Last week, the company canceled the planned publication of a book by one of the Louisville police officers who was involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting.
“That decision was immediate, unprecedented, and responsive to the concerns we heard from you and our authors,” Mr. Karp said in his letter to staffers. “At the same time, we have contractual obligations and must continue to respect the terms of our agreements with our client publishers.”
Karp didn’t mention the probability that the book about the shooting of an unarmed black woman probably wouldn’t sell better than a book by the former vice president. No doubt that played a role in canceling it. Why invite trouble if the returns aren’t going to make it worthwhile?
The same calculus probably entered into the decision not to publish a book by Senator Josh Hawley. The senator’s book deal was canceled apparently after his too-prominent role in challenging the election results.
But it still takes some guts to stand up to the woke bullies and publish controversial material.
Karp described the publisher’s role as “to find those authors and works that can shed light on our world — from first-time novelists to journalists, thought leaders, scientists, memoirists, personalities, and, yes, those who walk the halls of power”.
“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 wrote.
That’s a fine credo to live by if you’re a publisher.