Simon & Schuster Employees Call on Publisher to Cancel Mike Pence Book Deal

Open letter says Simon & Schuster has “chosen complicity in perpetuating white supremacy” by publishing Pence’s books

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A group of Simon & Schuster employees has released an open letter this week calling on the publisher to cancel its two-book deal with former Vice President Mike Pence and end its distribution deal with Post Hill Press, the publishing house that is set to release a book with the police officer involved in Breonna Taylor’s killing.

In the letter, described as a “statement from the workforce of S&S,” the employees said Simon & Schuster has “chosen complicity in perpetuating white supremacy” by publishing Pence’s books and distributing works from Post Hill Press, which is also the publisher behind Matt Gaetz’s “Firebrand.”

“By choosing to publish Mike Pence, Simon & Schuster is generating wealth for a central figure of a presidency that unequivocally advocated for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, misogyny, ableism, islamophobia, antisemitism, and violence,” the letter said. “This is not a difference of opinions; this is legitimizing bigotry.”

A spokesperson for Simon & Schuster did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, Simon & Schuster announced Pence had signed a two-book deal with the publisher, with the first book tentatively scheduled to publish in 2023. The deal is worth somewhere between $3 million to $4 million, according to CNN.

Last week, Simon & Schuster said it would not distribute an upcoming book by Jonathan Mattingly, a Louisville police officer involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, which is set to be released by Post Hill Press.

But in the open letter, Simon & Schuster employees said that by continuing its distribution deal with Post Hill Press — which specializes in publishing “conservative political books” — Simon & Schuster “openly supports and normalizes violence against minors, Black women, and all Black people by individuals and the state.” The letter also demanded that Simon & Schuster “commit to ongoing reevaluations of all clients, authors, distribution deals, and all other financial commitments that promote white supremacist content and/or harm the aforementioned marginalized communities.”

“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,” the employees said.

Read the full letter below.

A statement from the workforce of S&S:

The events of the past week have affirmed that Simon & Schuster has chosen complicity in perpetuating white supremacy by publishing Mike Pence and continuing to distribute books for Post Hill Press, including predator Matt Gaetz’s FIREBRAND.

By choosing to publish Mike Pence, Simon & Schuster is generating wealth for a central figure of a presidency that unequivocally advocated for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, misogyny, ableism, islamophobia, antisemitism, and violence. This is not a difference of opinions; this is legitimizing bigotry.

Long before his Vice Presidency, Mike Pence made a career out of discriminating against marginalized groups and denying resources to BIPOC and LGBTQA+ communities. From advocating for legalized discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, to eroding the teaching of science in favor of Christian theology in public-funded schools, to ending energy efficiency programs, to pushing for guns to be in schools and cars, to taking away funding for and shutting down clinics treating HIV patients, to promoting conversion therapy, to denying bodily autonomy to pregnant people, to abandoning a nation in crisis as the coronavirus ran rampant and killed more than half a million Americans. Mike Pence has literal and figurative blood on his hands. We demand you cancel Mike Pence’s book deal.

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. This is unacceptable in light of the recent murders of Daunte Wright, Peyton Ham, Adam Toledo, 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.

Rehabilitating fascists is antithetical to the statements released by Simon & Schuster in support of AAPI/Black lives. It puts all of our BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+, disabled, neurodivergent, immigrant, working class employees, and the greater bookseller/reviewer/reading community in immediate and long term danger and dismisses the generations of violence that have contributed to our direct oppression. Your attempts to silence us by refusing to answer questions at the town hall or even dedicate a full hour to this matter, will not work. As the employees who are the reason that Simon & Schuster exists, we demand the following:

1. Cancel the two-book deal with Mike Pence and do not sign any more book deals with former members of the Trump administration.
2. End Simon & Schuster’s distribution deal with Post Hill Press.
3. Commit to ongoing reevaluations of all clients, authors, distribution deals, and all other financial commitments that promote white supremacist content and/or harm the aforementioned marginalized communities.

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.

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