Powell’s employees were among a group on Monday night that protested a reading at the bookstore by Blake Nelson, a Portland author whose recent work and public statements have drawn on extremist right-wing rhetoric.
Nelson’s newest book, The Red Pill—published by Bombardier Books in June—references the online misogynistic movement of the same name and features a main character who begins to delve into extremist right ideology in the Trump era. In the publisher’s words:
It’s early 2016, and divorced, liberal-minded Martin is having trouble meeting women. He reluctantly agrees to some coaching from Rob, his Trump supporting brother-in-law. Skeptical at first, Martin’s romantic life improves immediately. Maybe Rob and his “red pill” dating strategies aren’t so backward after all.
Williamette Week reporter Matthew Singer described the protest outside Powell’s location on Hawthorne St. in Portland:
While Nelson read to about a dozen people inside the store, a small group—including some of the bookstore’s employees—gathered outside near the entrance, handing out flyers describing the “red pill dating strategy” as “misogynistic” and accusing Nelson of being “openly racist, homophobic and transphobic” on social media.
Brianna Bonham, who works at Powell’s and organized the protest, told Williamette Week that the red pill movement is “a hateful movement that varies from just disrespecting women to rape. That’s a dangerous ideology to support.” In the meantime, Nelson said he’s had trouble publicizing the book and has turned to right-wing outlets. Read more of their reporting here.