Simon & Schuster said on Thursday it would cancel the publication of an upcoming book by Senator Josh Hawley, one of several members of Congress who tried to overturn the presidential election results.
Mr Hawley, a Missouri Republican and Trump ally, has been criticized for disputing the results and accused of helping incite the crowd that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. His book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” was due for publication in June.
“We did not take this decision lightly,” Simon & Schuster said in a statement. “As a publisher, our mission will always be to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: at the same time, we take our broader public responsibility seriously. as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what has become a dangerous threat.
The senator’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The cancellation signaled the pitfalls facing mainstream publishers as they attempt to straddle the partisan divide in a hyper-polarized and volatile political environment. The largest commercial publishers have long published work by both Democrats and Republicans, and most have dedicated imprints on the work of right-wing politicians and pundits. But some publishing professionals have questioned whether violence on Capitol Hill would prevent them from working with conservative writers who questioned the legitimacy of the election or took other inflammatory positions.
Over the past four years, a number of people in Mr. Trump’s inner circle have secured offers of books. Macmillan published a memoir by Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, published a book with Hachette and self-published another.
Simon & Schuster, one of the “Big Five” book publishers in the United States that Penguin Random House agreed to buy in November, has published several major political books in recent years, including “Too Much and Never Enough.” , of Mary L. Trump, a niece of the president; “Rage”, by Bob Woodward; and “The Room Where It Happened,” by John Bolton, former national security adviser to the Trump administration. He’s also released conservative brandons like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.
The presidential transition
The Capitol rampage further complicated the already thorny question of whether or not publishers would publish a brief by President Trump.
During most election cycles, publishers rush to pick up books from the former president and the first lady and former administration officials. But the escalation of rhetoric from the president and some of his supporters over the past few weeks has likely changed the calculation for editors and editors who fear eliciting backlash from readers and employees.
Simon & Schuster has been the subject of public pressure campaigns in the past when working with controversial authors. In 2017, he canceled the planned publication of a book by Milo Yiannopoulos, the right-wing commentator, after supporting him for weeks of criticism of the deal.
Last year, another Big Five member, Hachette, rescinded plans to publish a Woody Allen book after sustained pressure that included an employee withdrawal and the conviction of Ronan Farrow, Mr Allen’s son, which had been published by Hachette. The book was later published by Arcade Publishing, an imprint of independent publisher Skyhorse, who also published books by pro-Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
The topic of Mr. Hawley’s book, which was already available for pre-order on Amazon and other retailers, isn’t about elections or Mr. Trump, but tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Its cancellation was remarkably swift and raised questions about how publishers will approach future books by the Tories who have backed Mr. Trump’s efforts to invalidate the election.
It’s unclear whether Mr. Hawley will have to return his pound advance or whether Simon & Schuster will lose it. After the company canceled Mr. Yiannopoulos’ book, he sued Simon & Schuster for alleged breach of contract, but subsequently dropped the lawsuit. It also remains to be seen whether Mr Hawley will seek another publisher or publish the book himself.
The Twitter criticisms of Simon & Schuster for its plans to publish the book came from several writers and at least one Simon & Schuster. author. But conservative publisher Regnery, who published in the fall a book by Senator Ted Cruz, another leader in the campaign to overturn the election results, does not appear to be facing similar pressure.
Tom Spence, president and publisher of Regnery, said the company does not have any other deals with Mr Cruz at the moment but will work with him again. Mr Spence also said that if Simon & Schuster canceled Mr Hawley’s book deal, “we would be interested.”