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The Wall Street Journal: Inside the Simon & Schuster blowup over Mike Pence’s book deal


During an April workplace-culture session, one of many in the past year held by book publisher Simon & Schuster, topics included how to evaluate proposals from Black or LGBTQ+ authors and how best to promote them.

Not on the agenda, to the frustration of some gathered on the Zoom call, was the company’s recent deal with former Vice President Mike Pence for a memoir of his life in politics and the Trump administration.

Publishing the book, some staffers said at the session, would be a betrayal of the company’s promises to oppose bigotry and make minority employees feel safe.

A petition soon followed, signed by more than 200 staff members, or 14% of the staff, plus about 3,500 outside supporters, including Simon & Schuster authors. It demanded that the company scrap the Pence memoir, part of a two-book deal, and refrain from making any deals with members of the Trump administration. It said Mr. Pence advocated for policies that were racist, sexist and discriminatory, and that publishing the book would be “legitimizing bigotry.”

An expanded version of this article appears on

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