Penguin Random House employees were sent into a tizzy by the firm’s decision to publish Canadian Professor Jordan Peterson’s new book, prompting a meeting where staffers reportedly cried and demanded that the tome be canceled.
The emotional in-house “town hall” was held on Monday, after it came to light that the publishing giant is handling Peterson’s new book, due out in March 2021. Employees anonymously leaked the controversy to Vice News, which said“people were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson had affected their lives.”
Another staffer argued that Peterson is “an icon of hate speech and transphobia, and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy, regardless of the content of his book, I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him.” The workers also are insisting that if they don’t get their way in canceling the book, all profits from the project should be donated to LGBTQ organizations.
There was no indication that any of the protesting employees had read the book, called ‘Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.’ Peterson, a clinical psychologist, has a largely non-partisan message of personal freedom and personal responsibility, but he has been branded a right-wing extremist for his popularity among conservatives.
Cambridge University last year rescinded its offer of a visiting fellowship to Peterson because of pressure from faculty and students, and protesters have tried to block or disrupt his speaking engagements. Peterson has riled the woke crowd with his anti-political-correctness views. He came to fame partly through a classroom rant on his opposition to compelled speech, such as being forced to use alternative pronouns.
Penguin Random House, which held its employee meeting immediately following its announcement of Peterson’s new book, said in a statement on Tuesday that it’s open to hearing employee feedback and welcomes an anonymous feedback channel that was set up by staffers. But the company added, “We remain committed to publishing a range of voices and viewpoints.”
News of the unhinged reaction at least provided comic relief on Twitter. “Hahahaha, best story of the day,” journalist Barrett Wilson said. Australian journalist Rita Panahi stopped at “Hahahaha.”
Quillette editor Jonathan Kay took a more serious tone, arguing that it’s “absolutely time for publishers to take out the trash on their woke payrolls.” He added that trying to defend the book merely gives “red meat to the mob,” signaling that they can “extract more with their brat views.”
“People are dying from Covid, losing their businesses, and these spoiled brats transform into babies because their employer is publishing a book they don’t like,” Kay said.