(NEW YORK)– In response to Amazon workers in Seattle staging a protest at a Pride Month launch over books sold by the company that they viewed as anti-transgender and therefore found them objectionable, PEN America issued the statement below:

“Workers at Amazon have a right to protest the sale of books they find objectionable. But doing so at a company event celebrating the start of Pride Month through tactics that lead to the cancellation of that event is a counterproductive act, silencing the voices of other workers gathered to recognize and celebrate the kickoff of Pride Month.

A bookseller’s sale of a book is not an endorsement of that book. Nor is censoriousness, by preventing the sale of a book, the answer to dealing with offensive or questionable content. It is critical to maintain a diversity of perspectives, to permit booksellers to offer that diversity in what they sell, and to create and foster a platform for the robust exchange of ideas, facts, and counterarguments. Trying to prevent books from being sold is a dangerous, anti-democratic approach to addressing the legitimate issue of harmful content.”

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, STrimel@PEN.org, 201-247-5057