Publishing giant Penguin Random House Canada announced Monday that it would be releasing Toronto professor Dr. Jordan Peterson’s latest book next year, a decision that apparently left multiple employees in tears.
What are the details?
Vice’s Manisha Krishnan broke the story, reporting that the staff felt their employer — the largest publisher in Canada — “ambushed” them with the news, and managers defended the company’s decision during a town hall with the staff.
“Several employees cried at the meeting discussing how Peterson’s views have negatively impacted their lives,” Krishnan tweeted. “One told me: “He is an icon of hate speech and transphobia and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy… I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him.”
exclusive: Penguin Random House Canada staff say the publishing giant ambushed them with news of Jordan Peterson's new book. Staff confronted management at a tearful town hall Monday; many want it cancelled: https://t.co/6cQcnhSJSl
— ??????? ???????? (@ManishaKrishnan) November 24, 2020
According to the Washington Examiner:
Peterson is a University of Toronto professor who rose to international prominence as a vocal critic of the Canadian government’s Bill C-16, which sought to establish “gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Peterson objected on the grounds that the law could force him to address a transgender student by his or her preferred pronoun or else be faced with prosecution under human rights laws.
The title of Peterson’s new book is “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.” It is due out in March.
In a statement, Penguin Random House Canada defended its publishing decision, telling Vice:
We announced yesterday that we will publish Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order this coming March. Immediately following the announcement, we held a forum and provided a space for our employees to express their views and offer feedback. Our employees have started an anonymous feedback channel, which we fully support. We are open to hearing our employees’ feedback and answering all of their questions. We remain committed to publishing a range of voices and viewpoints.
According to Clair Lehmann, founding editor of Quillette, the upset employees might be shooting themselves in the foot with their protest.
In reaction to Vice’s story, she tweeted, “Peterson’s ’12 Rules for Life’ has sold over 3million copies. A book like that pays for all of the other books that a publisher takes a risk on, for years. But they want to cancel him. In other words, they want to cancel their own company & their own jobs.”