Whitcoulls, New Zealand’s largest bookstore franchise, pulled the work of Jordan Peterson from its shelves Wednesday in response to the mosque shootings that claimed 50 lives in Christchurch last week.
Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which contains a chapter addressing the particular strain of nihilism that gave rise to the Columbine and Sandy Hook school shootings, was removed after management learned of “extremely disturbing material being circulated prior, during and after the Christchurch attacks,” according to independent journalist Tim Pool’s correspondence with a Whitcoull’s spokesman.
“As a business which takes our responsibilities to our communities very seriously, we believe it would be wrong to support the author at this time,” the email continues.
So they banned Jordan Peterson's book… but… uh… pic.twitter.com/V9tfxpRrog
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) March 21, 2019
The “disturbing” content described in the email likely refers to a photo of Peterson embracing a man wearing a “Proud Islamophobe” t-shirt that circulated in the wake of the massacre, as the New Zealand outlet Newshub noted.
This is @jordanbpeterson and a fan during his speaking tour in New Zealand.
February 19th, 2019. Less than one month ago. pic.twitter.com/kQzhY39eSl
— Dan Taipua (@D__T_____) March 15, 2019
While Peterson’s work has been banned, Whitcoulls continues to carry “Islam Unmasked,” a text that purports to reveal “the lies behind [Islamic] doctrines” and “the futility of [Islamic] practices.”
David Seymour, who leads New Zealand’s conservative ACT party, told Newshub that banning the book will have the opposite of its intended effect.
“You don’t fight neo-Nazism by suppressing reading and books. Anyone who knows any history knows that’s the opposite of how you fight these kind of ideas,” said Seymour. “A self-help book is an incredibly strange thing to suppress. I think Whitcoulls have made the wrong decision, but I respect they’re a private company, it’s their right.”