When Simon & Schuster canceled its book deal with U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley earlier this month, citing the Missouri Republican's "role" in events that led to rioting at the U.S. Capitol, it may soon prove to be one of many moves to silence conservative voices if other publishing professionals get their way.
What are the details?
More than 500 American publishing industry professionals — editors, authors, agents, and others — have signed on to a "letter of intent" demanding that publishing houses blacklist members of former President Donald Trump's administration.
"As members of the writing and publishing community of the United States, we affirm that participation in the administration of Donald Trump must be considered a uniquely mitigating criterion for publishing houses when considering book deals," the letter — which Reason said was originally titled "No Book Deals for Traitors" — states.
More from the letter:
Consequently, we believe: No participant in an administration that caged children, performed involuntary surgeries on captive women, and scoffed at science as millions were infected with a deadly virus should be enriched by the almost rote largesse of a big book deal. And no one who incited, suborned, instigated, or otherwise supported the January 6, 2021 coup attempt should have their philosophies remunerated and disseminated through our beloved publishing houses.
"Son of Sam" laws exist to prevent criminals from benefiting financially from writing about their crimes. In that spirit, those who enabled, promulgated, and covered up crimes against the American people should not be enriched through the coffers of publishing.
The letter concludes: "We believe in the power of words, and we are tired of the industry we love enriching the monsters among us, and we will do whatever is in our power to stop it."
Considering the degree to which leftist cancel culture banned, de-platformed, and purged conservatives from the public square — including Trump himself — one might say the aforementioned letter calling for Trump administration officials to be blacklisted from book deals is almost expected.
But Reason noted that it's a slippery slope: "If Anthony Fauci wanted to write a book about his experiences inside the White House, would the letter's signatories really agree that he should be blacklisted from publishing?"
Hawley pretty soon got a new publisher — Regnery — for his book, "The Tyranny of Big Tech." But the senator's response to Simon & Schuster for canceling him in "Orwellian" fashion could easily apply to the hundreds of publishing industry professionals who want Trump administration officials blacklisted from book deals: "It's a direct assault on the First Amendment. Only approved speech can now be published. This is the Left looking to cancel everyone they don't approve of."