Simon & Schuster said Thursday that it would cancel the publication of an upcoming book by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, one of several members of Congress who tried to overturn the results of the presidential election.
Hawley, an ally of President Donald Trump, has been criticized for challenging the election results and accused of helping incite the mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. His book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” was scheduled to be published in June.
“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Simon & Schuster said in a statement. “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.”
The senator’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The cancellation signaled the pitfalls that mainstream publishers face as they attempt to straddle the partisan divide in a hyperpolarized and volatile political environment. The biggest commercial publishers have long released works by both Democrats and Republicans, and most have dedicated imprints for works by politicians and pundits on the right. But some publishing professionals wondered if the violence at the Capitol would make it untenable for them to work with conservative authors who have questioned the legitimacy of the election or taken other incendiary positions.
The subject of Hawley’s book, which was already available for preorder on Amazon and other retailers, is not about the election or Trump, but about technology corporations like Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Rebukes on Twitter aimed at Simon & Schuster came from several writers and at least one Simon & Schuster author. But conservative publisher Regnery, which released a book in the fall by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another leader of the push to overturn the election results, did not appear to be facing similar pressure.
Tom Spence, Regnery’s president and publisher, said the company did not have any further deals with Cruz at the moment but would work with him again. Spence also said that if Simon & Schuster canceled Hawley’s book deal, “We would be interested.”
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