Employees at Simon & Schuster submitted a petition to management on Monday calling for the company to refrain from publishing Trump administration authors after securing 216 internal signatures and 3,500 signatures from outside supporters.
The petition specifically demands that the company not publish a memoir by former Vice President Mike Pence and not treat “the Trump administration as a ‘normal’ chapter in American history,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
“When S&S chose to sign Mike Pence, we broke the public’s trust in our editorial process, and blatantly contradicted previous public claims in support of Black and other lives made vulnerable by structural oppression,” the petition reads.
Simon & Schuster Chief Executive Jonathan Karp sent a company-wide rejection letter last week after learning the petition was circulating. In the response to the staff objections, Karp noted that Simon & Schuster believes in publishing “a diversity of voices and perspectives.”
“As a publisher in this polarized era, we have experienced outrage from both sides of the political divide and from different constituencies and groups. But we come to work each day to publish, not cancel, which is the most extreme decision a publisher can make, and one that runs counter to the very core of our mission to publish a diversity of voices and perspectives,” Karp said.
The petition alleged that Pence served under an administration that engaged in racism, sexism, and LGBTQ discrimination. The petition also demands that Simon & Schuster sever business ties with Post Hill Press, an independent publisher that caters to conservative and Christian titles.
The employee petition claims that Simon & Schuster ”has chosen complicity in perpetuating white supremacy by publishing Mike Pence and continuing to distribute books for Post Hill Press.”
Post Hill Press publisher Anthony Ziccardi commented, “We’re proud of our publishing program, that’s what we’re focused on.”
Karp’s decision comes after Simon & Schuster said it will not distribute a book by one of the police officers who fatally shot Breonna Taylor. The book, “The Fight for Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy” is by Sgt Jonathan Mattingly, is being published by Post Hill Press.
Pence announced his book deal with Simon & Schuster in early April. The memoir is expected to be available for purchase in 2023.