The head of publishing company Simon & Schuster refused a petition by employees to cancel a book by former vice president Mike Pence, in a letter to staff on Monday.
“As a publisher in this polarized era, we have experienced outrage from both sides of the political divide and from different constituencies and groups,” CEO Jonathan Karp wrote in the letter. “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.”
“We will, therefore, proceed in our publishing agreement with Vice President Mike Pence,” Karp continued.
Karp’s pledge to publish Pence’s book came after the company faced controversy for agreeing to distribute a book by Seargent John Mattingly, one of the officers involved in a botched drug raid during which Louisville, Ky., resident Breonna Taylor was shot and killed. Following swift backlash, the company backtracked hours later and said it would not be involved in distribution. (Mattingly’s book was published by a third party, the small Tennessee publisher Post Hill Press, and distributed by Simon & Schuster.)
On January 8, Simon & Schuster dropped plans to publish Senator Josh Hawley’s upcoming book The Tyranny of Big Tech, after the senator objected to the Electoral College results in the wake of a riot of Trump supporters at the Capitol.
“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 company said in a statement at the time.