The publisher called Wednesday's riot a "dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom"

By Benjamin VanHoose
January 08, 2021 10:58 AM
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Simon & Schuster has opted against publishing Josh Hawley's book after the senator was seen raising his fist in solidarity with President Donald Trump supporters Wednesday before the U.S. Capitol building riot broke out.

The publishing house made the announcement Thursday night, issuing a statement on Twitter saying staff "did not come to this decision lightly." The would-be book was titled The Tyranny of Big Tech.

"After witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel publication of Senator Josh Hawley's forthcoming book," read the statement.

"As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints," the statement added, "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."

Hawley, 41, was one of the Republicans who objected to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's election victory, touting unfounded claims of voter fraud. The riot happened Wednesday, disrupting the Senate's process to certify the election results, and led to at least five deaths, including a Capitol Police officer.

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Hawley released his own statement in response to the publisher dropping his book, calling it the decision of a "woke mob" while defending his choices to attempt to block the election results as him "representing my constituents."

"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 claimed.

Hawley's response was criticized, including by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted at the senator, "You fist-pumped insurrectionists and baselessly attacked our elections. Your actions fueled a riot and you fundraised in the chaos. Five people are dead. Even your GOP colleagues have distanced from your acts. Yet here you are crying over a book deal. You should be expelled."

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Simon & Schuster also responded to Hawley’s comment, saying, “We are confident that we are acting fully within our contractual rights to cancel publication of Josh Hawley’s The Tyranny of Big Tech.”

The Kansas City Star, a major newspaper in Hawley's home state of Missouri, published an editorial this week with the headline: "Assault on democracy: Sen. Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt." In the piece, the editorial board wrote, "Hawley's actions in the last week had such impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that's been shed" in the riot.

Credit: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty

In a statement released hours after a pro-Trump mob staged a violent siege of the Capitol building, President Trump finally agreed to an "orderly" transition of power, while still saying he disagrees "with the outcome of the election" and referencing his baseless claims of voter fraud.

Before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, the president addressed a crowd near the White House, encouraging them to go to Congress. Though he told them to voice their anger "peacefully and patriotically," he claimed Democrats were trying to "illegally take over our country" and warned "if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore."

Motivated by the president, the rioters stormed the Capitol and were photographed scaling the building's walls, breaking windows, roaming through the halls, looting and vandalizing, including in congressional chambers and lawmaker offices. Rioters also ripped an American flag off of a flagpole outside the Capitol building and replaced it with a Trump flag.

Amid the chaos, Biden called for an end to the violence and for Trump to call his supporters off. Throughout the day, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle condemned the rioters' violence, and former presidents Jimmy CarterGeorge W. BushBill Clinton and Barack Obama all spoke out.