Hundreds of Penguin Random House staffers and other literary professionals are calling on the publishing company to cut ties with Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and to cancel her upcoming book.
The publishing house came under fire Friday after an open letter bearing 520 signatures was made public. In it, the dissenters call for a better balance of freedom of speech and duty of care, citing Penguin’s $2 million book deal with Coney Barrett as “a case where a corporation has privately funded the destruction of human rights with obscene profits.”
The letter’s endorsers took particular issue with the justice’s vote earlier this year to overturn Roe v. Wade, a move that seems to come in direct conflict with what her book is reportedly about: “how judges are not supposed to bring their personal feelings into how they rule.”
“The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health that overturned Roe hinged on exactly what Coney Barrett’s book is reportedly about—the judiciary’s role and ‘how judges are not supposed to bring their personal feelings into how they rule,’” the letter stated. “Yet, it seems this is exactly what Coney Barrett has done, inflicting her own religious and moral agenda upon all Americans while appropriating the rhetoric of even-handedness—and Penguin Random House has agreed to pay her a sum of $2 million to do it.”
The letter continued, stating that publishing the book, which was announced last year, comes in direct conflict with Penguin Random House’s own Code of Conduct and in violation of international human rights.
“This is not just a book that we disagree with, and we are not calling for censorship,” the letter concluded. “Many of us work daily with books we find disagreeable to our personal politics. Rather, this is a case where a corporation has privately funded the destruction of human rights with obscene profits. Coney Barrett is free to say as she wishes, but Penguin Random House must decide whether to fund her position at the expense of human rights in order to inflate its bottom line, or to truly stand behind the values it proudly espouses to hold.”
Read the full open letter here.