Senator Josh Hawley is not too pleased with Simon & Schuster’s decision to nix his forthcoming book, The Tyranny of Big Tech.
The conservative senator from Missouri, who has steadfastly supported President Donald Trump and echoed Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, called the publisher’s move “Orwellian” in a statement on his Twitter account on Thursday. He also described the book’s cancelation as a “direct assault on the First Amendment.”
“Only approved speech can now be published. This is the Left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of. I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have. We’ll see you in court,” he wrote.
Some people on social media have taken exception with Hawley’s choice of the word “Orwellian,” since they feel that author George Orwell—whose 1949 novel 1984 was banned and censored by the British government—would’ve opposed Hawley’s politics and been horrified by the attacks on the U.S. Capitol that took place on Wednesday. Hawley drew criticism this week for objecting to the certification of some Electoral College votes in President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory, a move that many say contributed to the atmosphere leading to the Capitol riots.
“What’s really Orwellian: whining that a metaphorical ‘mob’ cost you your book contract after the flesh-and-[blood] mob you shook your Ivy League fist to arouse staged an actual insurrection that desecrated the US Capitol and killed five people,” CNN White House correspondent John Harwood tweeted Friday.
what’s really Orwellian: whining that a metaphorical “mob” cost you your book contract after the flesh-and-mob you shook your Ivy League fist to arouse staged an actual insurrection that desecrated the US Capitol and killed five people https://t.co/T016clVT5H
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 8, 2021
A correspondent with the Kansas City Star, meanwhile, pointed out that Orwell fought for democracy in the Spanish Civil War in response to a coup.
A lot of people are pointing out that Hawley misused Orwellian in his statement last night. One thing worth noting on Orwell, the man btw, is that he fought in Spain to defend democracy after the country’s right wing launched a violent coup against an elected government.
— Bryan Lowry (@BryanLowry3) January 8, 2021
There were also those who thought Hawley’s attack on Simon & Schuster is actually more “Orwellian” than the company’s decision to axe the publication of his book. After all, the publisher is a private company and within its right to back away from a deal, which former Fox News commentator Jedidiah Bila noted on Friday.
“I know that the impulse is to say, ‘This is Orwellian,’ but for me it’s actually the opposite. It’s Orwellian to think that anyone would be able to tell a private that they need to publish your book or it’s a First Amendment violation. So I think he has this wrong,” she said.
Another Twitter user wrote: “Wow. Talk about Orwellian. A private publisher decides it doses’t want to associate with someone who led a legally baseless attack on a democratic election; you, a gov’t official, threatening legal action against them; but it is THEY who are ‘assaulting the First Amendment’?”
Wow. Talk about Orwellian. A private publisher decides it doesn’t want to associate with someone who led a legally baseless attack on a democratic election; you, a gov’t official, threaten legal action against them; but it is THEY who are “assaulting the First Amendment”? https://t.co/4JZdgMfmHH
— Lessig (@lessig) January 8, 2021
Get real, they are a private business, not the government. They can pull that book deal for any reason they want, let alone your craven actions. Your a senator and you don’t know this? “Election integrity”? Just stop lying already. Stop. Lying.
— GOOD (@good) January 8, 2021
Simon & Schuster issued a statement on Twitter on Thursday explaining that the company decided to cancel Hawley’s book after “witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.”
“We did not come to this decision lightly. 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 to our democracy and freedom,” the statement reads.
Josh Hawley Calls His Axed Book Deal an ‘Orwellian’ Move, But the Internet Disagrees The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Newsweek.