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Employees cried, tried to bully Random House bosses into not publishing a book by an author they despise

A news report published Tuesday said that some angry employees at Penguin Random House Canada cried when the publisher announced it would be putting out another book by clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson.

Peterson, 58, who is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto and an increasingly popular podcast host, said on Monday he’s releasing a new book titled, “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life,” set for a March 2021 release date.

But Vice reported Tuesday that the book has triggered emotional pushback from within the Canadian publisher, with several employees attempting to pressure the company into canceling the book.

“During a tense town hall, staff cried and expressed dismay with the publishing giant’s decision to publish” the book, Vice reported.

The outlet said four of the publisher’s employees who did not want to be identified over concerns about being fired said the publisher held a town hall-style meeting about the book on Monday. At that time, company executives defended their decision to move forward with Peterson’s book as employees voiced their angst over giving voice to someone who is popular on the political right.

“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,” a junior employee at Penguin Random House and a member of the LGBTQ told Vice.

Another worker told the outlet that “people were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives.” Another said he radicalized their father while still another said Peterson had a negative impact 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,” the first employee told Vice.

Another employee told the outlet that the publisher’s diversity and inclusion committee has gotten roughly 70 anonymous messages from employees about the book, most of them negative.

The publisher’s management team sent an email to Vice stating employees are free to voice their opinions.

“We announced yesterday that we will publish Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order 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,” the statement said.

“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.”

Peterson, who has pushed back against so-called ‘political correctness,’ first generated controversy on the left when, in September 2016, he posted a lecture on YouTube stating he would not use gender-neutral pronouns for students in all circumstances. He also blasted Canadian legislation, Bill C-16, which he said mandated, for the “first time in English common law,” certain speech.

In subsequent interviews, Peterson has continued to push back on the use of various gender pronouns, saying that while he tends to use whatever pronoun the person he is speaking to prefers, he does not do so in every instance.

His views made him popular on the right and in libertarian circles as well around the world. He became a regular guest on Joe Rogan’s popular podcast while collecting some 3.5 million subscribers to his YouTube channel.

In his lectures, he ripped the fabricated concept of “white privilege” and railed against the left’s attacks on masculinity. In 2018, he was making around $80,000 a month on Patreon. And his book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” sold more than 5 million copies around the world, Penguin Random House said.

One of the employees told Vice that the publisher appeared to conceal the release of Peterson’s book, saying it did not appear on an internal database announcing the future release of titles.

“I feel it was deliberately hidden and dropped on us once it was too late to change course,” said the junior employee.

Had employees known, the worker said, many likely would have considered walking out like Hachette employees did when that publisher announced it would be putting out Woody Allen’s memoir. Hachette later decided against publishing the memoir.

That didn’t sit well with some critics, including “Blackout” author and conservative pundit Candace Owens.

“I have never understood business owners being “confronted” by employees making demands,” she wrote on Twitter in response to the Vice story. “As a business-owner, I simply cannot relate. That’s a fast-track to unemployment for those of us that have a spine. I didn’t build my businesses for entitled brats to tell me how to run it.”

Others were also critical of the employees’ negative reactions to the publisher’s decision to put out Peterson’s book.

Jon Dougherty

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