Hundreds of publishing professionals demand ban on book deals for Trump officials

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A long list of authors and other publishing professionals are calling on their industry to effectively refuse book deals with anyone who worked in former President 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,” reads the letter signed by hundreds of publishing professionals. The letter allowed others to add their signatures, which had reached around 550 by Wednesday afternoon.

The letter added, “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.”

The letter was just the latest indication that Trump and his supporters will face retaliation for backing his actions in office. Shortly after the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, Simon and Schuster dropped its deal with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who had objected to certifying electoral college votes.

Author Barry Lyga reportedly wrote the letter, which is now featured on his website.

Outside of Lyga’s effort, other calls boycott attempts have arisen as Trump’s administration came to an end. For example, actress Debra Messing pledged on Monday to boycott the advertisers of any network that gives a platform to former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. 

“If I ever see [Kayleigh McEnany] on a panel on a news show or hired by a network, I am immediately ceasing to support every single advertiser on that network,” she said, alongside the hashtag “Deplatform Hate.”

Democratic operatives and the anti-Trump Lincoln Project have also indicated they’re creating a list to track prominent Trump supporters.

Professionals from major universities and publishers — like Cambridge University Press and Simon & Schuster — were among the signatories.

Dan Gainor, Vice President at the conservative Media Research Center, argued publishers were acting like dictators. 

He told Fox News: “The publishing business has really hit the Marx … Tyrants always fear freedom — whether it’s Stalin, Mao, Castro or the new leftist overlords. The left has decided free speech and free press are no longer founding principles, they are targets. It’s especially ironic that the same leftists who supported Obama now oppose Trump staff for putting children in the very cages that Obama staffers built and filled.”

Gainor’s comments touched on an ongoing debate among conservatives and libertarians: Are private industries engaging in a form of totalitarian censorship despite not being government entities?

In the wake of the Jan. 6 riots, conservative commentators like Ben Shapiro worried about the narratives that were emerging and that could potentially fuel calls to boycott conservatives. After the riots, Twitter banned more than 70,000 QAnon accounts while Facebook censored “stop the steal” content and others removed Trump from their platforms. Parler, the purported conservative alternative to Twitter, was removed from Google Play, the Apple App Store, and Amazon’s web hosting services.

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