Simon & Schuster said Thursday it has canceled an upcoming book from Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who has been widely condemned for stoking disinformation that culminated with a pro-Trump mob storming the U.S. Capitol.
The publisher cited Wednesday’s “disturbing, deadly insurrection” as the reason. “We did not come to this decision lightly,” Simon & Schuster said in a statement. “As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.”
Hawley’s book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” was scheduled to be published in June. Simon & Schuster is a unit of ViacomCBS Inc.
Hawley responded late Thursday by blaming “cancel culture” and calling Simon & Schuster’s move “a direct assault on the First Amendment.” In fact, the First Amendment protects individuals from government infringements of their free speech; publishers are free to do book deals with whomever they like.
The Missouri senator has been excoriated for pushing false claims of election fraud, undermining the democratic process and encouraging a crowd of pro-Trump supporters in front of the Capitol on Wednesday morning.
The storming of the Capitol led the editorial boards of the two biggest newspapers in Hawley’s home state, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star, to call for his resignation Thursday.
On Wednesday, the Kansas City Star published an editorial saying Hawley “has blood on his hands,” blaming him for a “coup attempt.” On Thursday, former Republican Sen. John Dansforth of Missouri said his support for Hawley’s Senate bid was “the worst mistake I ever made in my life.”