Junior staff at Penguin Random House Canada are trying to block the publication of conservative psychologist Jordan Peterson’s new book, claiming he is an ‘icon of white supremacy and hate speech’.
Peterson is well-known for his ‘grow up’ approach to adulthood and his 2018 book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, is an international bestseller, having sold more than 5million copies around the world.
He’s been hailed by the right for his fearless refusal to bow down to political correctness and ostracized by the left for his controversial opinions.
Among his views is that the notion of white privilege is itself racist and that laws which force people to use transgender pronouns are unconstitutional.
Peterson, who nearly died earlier this year after overdosing on anti-anxiety pills benzodiazepines, has written a new book that is to be published by Random House. It is titled Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life and is a follow-on to his first.
But staff at Random House in Canada on Monday tried to block its publication. Four employees told Vice that the company held a town hall about it. They did not want to be named for fear of losing their jobs, they said.
Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson’s new book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, is being published by Random House Canada to the dismay of staff there
One junior employee said at the meeting of Peterson: ‘He is an icon of hate speech and transphobia and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy, regardless of the content of his book, I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him’.
Some were ‘crying’, they said, and one blamed Peterson for ‘radicalizing’ their father. Another said the book would have a ‘negative effect on their non-binary friend’.
‘The company since June has been doing all these anti-racist and allyship things and them publishing Peterson’s book completely goes against this. It just makes all of their previous efforts seem completely performative.’
Peterson’s 2018 book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, sold more than 5million copies worldwide
The company also has a diversity and inclusion committee which received more than 70 complaints about the book, another employee said.
Random House is standing its ground.
In a statement, the company said: ‘We announced yesterday that we will publish Jordan Peterson’s new book this coming March.
‘Immediately following the announcement, we held a forum and provided a space for our employees to express their views and offer feedback. Our employees have started an anonymous feedback channel, which we fully support.
‘We are open to hearing our employees’ feedback and answering all of their questions. We remain committed to publishing a range of voices and viewpoints.’
On Twitter, critics said the staff were trying to censor free speech with their attempts to block the book’s publication.
‘Jordan Peterson is not my cup of tea, but dismayed to see Penguin Random House Canada in the grip of the same anti-free speech convulsions we are witnessing in too many places. Now the book industry too.
‘What next — book burnings?’ one person said.
‘Imagine working for a book publishing company and not supporting Free Speech?
‘And don’t give me that “not publishing isn’t censorship” crap, that’s not what this is about,’ another said.
Peterson’s controversial opinions include not adhering to transgender laws and that the notion of white privilege is racist.
Random House Canada held a town hall on the book publication on Monday where staffers cried over the book
In 2017, he said in an interview: ‘The idea of white privilege is absolutely reprehensible and it’s not because white people aren’t privileged. Most people have all sorts of privilege.
‘You should be grateful for your privileges and work to deserve them, I would say.
‘The idea that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of their specific innocence or guilt regardless of the constituent elements of that group – there is absolutely nothing that is more racist than that. It’s absolutely abhorrent.’
In a 2018 exchange on the British TV network Channel 4, he told interviewer Cathy Newman that young men were crying out to be told to grow up and be more ‘competent’ and that women ‘deeply’ wanted them to.
‘What I’ve been telling young men is there’s an actual reason that they have to grow up: they have something to offer.
‘I don’t think young men hear words of encouragement. Some of them never in their entire lives. Young men are starving of this sort of message: why in the world do they have to derive it from a lecturer on YouTube.
Critics accused the protesting staff at Random House of trying to block free speech and said they should be fired
Peterson being challenged by a transgender woman on a TVO interview who asked if he would use the ‘she’ pronoun in reference to her. He said he would but that the greater issue is free speech and not being forced to
‘Women deeply want men who are competent and powerful. I don’t mean power in that they can exert tyrannical control over others. That’s not power, that’s corruption.
‘Power is competence.’
Newman was slammed for repeatedly trying to put words in his mouth and failing to catch him out.
That interview escalated his popularity. Fox’s Tucker Carlson described it as ‘one of the great interviews of all time’.
In 2019, he said does not dispute transgender or transexual issues but said: ‘I can tell you that I’ve received more letters from transexual people supporting me than opposing me. I never said anything really about transexual people, about their existence.
‘I didn’t say they didn’t exist. I said gender identity, gender expression and biological sex do not vary independently, which they don’t.
‘This issue is periphery about transexual issues. It’s more about gender issues and it’s a free speech issue.’
Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos was described by one reviewer described it as: ‘Grow up and man up is the message from this rock-star psychologist
‘[A] hardline self-help manual of self-reliance, good behavior, self-betterment and individualism that probably reflects his childhood in rural Canada in the 1960s’.