Ban On Book Contracts For Ex-Trump Staffers Proposed By Publishing Employees

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Over 200 employees at the publisher Simon & Schuster and over 3,500 supporters from outside the company have now backed a petition demanding an end to publication deals at the firm with authors associated with the Trump administration. At present, Simon & Schuster is — among other business ties to Trump associates — slated to publish a memoir by former Vice President Mike Pence, who partially fell out with Trump towards the end of the Trump administration but remains a publicly committed ally.

The petition has now been submitted to top executives at the company including chief executive Jonathan Karp and Dana Canedy, who works as publisher of Simon & Schuster’s eponymous imprint. The request has a total of 216 signatures from Simon & Schuster employees, who together constitute roughly 14 percent of the total number of employees at the company. Those who signed onto the petition asked the firm not to work as though the Trump administration was a “‘normal’ chapter in American history” and requested, besides no new deals associated with the Trump White House, an end to plans to publish Pence’s book.

The petition backers wrote as follows:

‘When S&S chose to sign Mike Pence, we broke the public’s trust in our editorial process, and blatantly contradicted previous public claims in support of Black and other lives made vulnerable by structural oppression.’

Those from outside the company who added their name to the effort include Black authors like Jesmyn Ward, who has won the National Book Award for fiction twice. Besides the request for an end to publication arrangements with authors associated with Trump, the petitioners “also call[ed] on Simon & Schuster to cut off a distribution relationship with Post Hill Press, a publisher of conservative books as well as business and pop culture titles,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Karp has preemptively rebuffed the demands, writing in a letter to employees last week that publishing “a diversity of voices and perspectives” is a central component of the company’s operation. A number of figures associated with Trump’s political ambitions have already come out with books and book plans, although it’s unclear whether the ex-president himself has any plans to publish a memoir at present. Former presidents have regularly published memoirs, but Trump seems more inclined to sticking to the terse public statements that have replaced his tweets.