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‘If publishers become afraid, we’re in trouble’: publishing’s cancel culture debate boils over

The Guardian”: “…On one side is the argument that if there is a market for a book, then it should be published, regardless of whether it falls in line with the views of staff. In 2017, Sam Jordison’s book Enemies of the People – about Brexit and Trump, and in favour of neither – was published by HarperCollins, where a number of staff (including the owner, Rupert Murdoch) disagreed with his viewpoint. “While there was no great enthusiasm for the book within the company they still all gritted their teeth and put it out there. What would have happened if there was a widespread understanding that staff could just down tools on books that make them feel uncomfortable?” Jordison says. “I’d have been silenced, too – but for very different reasons, I think, to those the people advocating censorship are thinking about at the moment … If publishers become afraid to publish things that people might find objectionable, we’re in all kinds of trouble. And not just because there’s a risk of upsetting people who think they are of high moral standing.” Speaking at the House of Lords hearing, Shelley explained that Hachette makes its decisions to publish based on commercial viability and legality, saying “we have rejected books before, decided not to publish them, because in some respect, we feel they would contravene the law, to be defamatory, or to incite hate speech.”…

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