Amazon faces questions over removal of transgender-critical book
Washington D.C., Feb 26, 2021 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Online retailer Amazon is still facing questions several days after it removed a book critiquing the transgender movement.
Ryan Anderson, who was recently appointed president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), said earlier this week that his 2018 book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” was no longer available for purchase on Amazon.com. The book critiques the biological, psychological, and philosophical areas of the transgender debate.
“I first discovered it on Sunday around 3 pm,” Anderson told CNA, adding he is not sure “when exactly it was removed.”
Anderson said that Amazon told him on Tuesday that the book “violates their ‘content policy,’” but, he added, “they won’t tell us what aspect of the policy it violated.”
“They won’t tell us what passage, what page, what sentence is the offending passage,” Anderson said.
An Amazon spokesperson told CNA in an email on Friday, “As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable. That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain content as described in our content guidelines for books, which you can find here. All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer and we do not take selection decisions lightly.”
On a webpage regarding its “Content Guidelines for Books,” Amazon states that if the company removes a title, “we let the author, publisher, or selling partner know and they can appeal our decision.”
Anderson said that Amazon “acknowledged that they did not contact us ahead of time, in violation of their own policy to first contact authors and publishers.”
He warned about the precedent that the de-listing could send. “This means that anyone who’s telling the truth that we’re created male and female, whether from a faith-based perspective or from a science-based perspective, can be banned on a whim and without explanation,” Anderson said.
Earlier this week, four Republican senators–Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Josh Hawley of Missouri–sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos inquiring about the company’s removal of Anderson’s book.
The senators wrote that Amazon has not provided “a sufficient explanation as to how Anderson’s book, which reached the top of two of Amazon’s best-seller lists before it was even released in 2018, supposedly violated a vague, undefined ‘offensive content’ standard.”
“When Harry Became Sally prompted important discussions in the national media and among policymakers in 2018, and remains one of the most rigorously researched and compassionately argued books on this subject,” the senators wrote.
“By removing this book from its marketplaces and services, Amazon has unabashedly wielded its outsized market share to silence an important voice merely for the crime of violating woke groupthink,” they stated.
While Anderson’s book remains unavailable for purchase on Amazon, an ebook called “Let Harry Become Sally: Responding to the Anti-Transgender Moment” remains available on the retail giant’s website. The product description says some of the book’s proceeds will be donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality.