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Tony Perkins / January 9, 2021

Hawley’s Publisher Bows to Cancel Culture

“Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book.”

It was only a matter of time until a book about corporate tyranny found itself shut down by — you guessed it — a corporation. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who has led many efforts in Congress to hold technology companies accountable, felt the full weight of the cancel culture this week when the contracted publisher of his forthcoming book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, refused to publish. Simon & Schuster issued a statement saying,

After witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book, THE TYRANNY OF BIG TECH. We did not come to this decision lightly. As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.

Never mind that Hawley, as a United States senator, was in the very joint session of Congress targeted by the lawless mob who breached the Capitol. Simon & Schuster’s beef was simply political — because they disagreed with Hawley’s objection to a state’s election integrity, the publisher decided to silence his voice.

Hawley responded with a statement directed at what he called the “woke mob” at Simon & Schuster:

This could not be more Orwellian. Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition. Let me be clear, this is not just a contract dispute. 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…

Only approved speech can now be published. I fear Hawley may be correct in that assessment — and not only with book publishers like Simon & Schuster. It wasn’t that long ago that even media outlets like MSNBC would give a hearing to different sides of an issue. For years, I appeared on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” — where although I was always the minority opinion (it was usually a two or three vs. one panel), the show at least allowed our side of the argument to be heard. At least we could have the debate.

But now, corporate America — from publishers, to media, to retail giants, to the big tech platforms — has become puppets of the Left. And more often than not, when their strings are pulled, they are pulled to silence any opposing view. The day of the debate is gone. All that exists is the lock-step narrative of leftist dogma.

I’m under no illusion that everyone agrees with me — I get it, different people have different views. But when civil debate is shut down, it only feeds frustration. And when corporations become the instrument of censorship for their leftist overlords, a free society loses a foundational pillar of its culture. And the pillars of the cancel culture that replaces it will only last until they’re … canceled.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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