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Publishing professionals are calling for PRH to reconsider Amy Coney Barrett’s book.

Jessie Gaynor

October 25, 2022, 10:43am

The Big Five publishers have a history of both publishing and distributing books by people who not only hold abhorrent beliefs, but who wield those beliefs to destroy the rights of people across the world—so it’s no surprise that Sentinel, the conservative Penguin Random House imprint, is publishing a book by Amy Coney Barrett, one of the Supreme Court Justices instrumental in overturning Roe v. Wade. (Nor is it a surprise, sadly, that her advance was reported to be $2 million dollars.)

In recognition of Coney Barrett’s role in “dismantling protections for the human rights to privacy, self-determination, and bodily autonomy along with the federal right to an abortion in the United States,” members of the writing and publishing community—including editors, publicists, and the creators of the anonymous Instagram account @publishersbrunch—have written an open letter calling for PRH to reconsider the publication of the book.

“[W]e believe that moving forward with Coney Barrett’s book places Bertelsmann and Penguin Random House both in direct conflict with their own Code of Conduct and in violation of international human rights,” the letter states.

This is not just a book that we disagree with, and we are not calling for censorship. Many of us work daily with books we find disagreeable to our personal politics. Rather, this is a case where a corporation has privately funded the destruction of human rights with obscene profits. Coney Barrett is free to say as she wishes, but Penguin Random House must decide whether to fund her position at the expense of human rights in order to inflate its bottom line, or to truly stand behind the values it proudly espouses to hold.

The writers invite “members of the writing, publishing, and broader literary community in the US” to sign, which you can do right here.

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