More than 600 publishing industry staffers have signed an open letter opposing Penguin Random House’s decision to publish Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s book over her joining the Supreme Court’s majority opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade.
Employees from publishers such as Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, MacMillan and Penguin Random House said Justice Barrett’s Catholic faith influenced her support for overturning the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
The open letter was first reported by Publisher’s Weekly.
The employees say in the letter that “we are not calling for censorship,” noting that many of them “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,” the letter reads. “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.”
The employees say that publishing the book violates the code of conduct for German media firm Bertelsmann, the parent company of Penguin Random House.
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They also say that Human Rights Watch founder Robert L. Bernstein, a former publisher at Random House, has pointed to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares abortion access a human right.
However, the word “abortion” doesn’t appear in the U.N.’s Declaration of Human Rights.
Justice Barrett inked the book deal in April 2021. Politico reported that Ms. Coney Barrett received a $2 million advance for the forthcoming book.
• This article was based in part on wire service reports.