- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Author Anne Rice took to her Facebook page Tuesday morning to rant against Internet lynch mobs who leave negative reviews on books they’ve never read in order to “take down” authors solely for religious or political reasons.

“Want to see the new censorship in action? Want to witness an internet lynch mob going after its target?” Ms. Rice wrote in a Facebook post linking to Kate Breslin‘s 2014 novel “For Such a Time,” which is about a Jewish woman falling in love with the head of a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.

“Check out the Amazon review site for this novel and read the one star reviews. Note how many have been posted since August 4th. Note what they say,” Ms. Rice wrote, Mediaite first reported. “And also please note that the Amazon customer review system is one of the greatest innovations the book world has ever seen, and that it is based on the premise that authentic customers will offer honest reviews of books they have purchased and/or read. Do you think these are honest customer reviews? i don’t.”

“I abhor censorship in all forms,” she continued. “I condemn those who abuse the Amazon reviewing system to ‘take down’ authors who books they have not read — for political or religious or ‘social’ reasons. … This book was published in April of 2014. It was well received, and like most books published it received good and bad reviews. Then an article about it written over one year later on August 4th of this year, appears to be what (intentionally or unintentionally) incited the lynch mob.”

Ms. Rice received a wave of support on Facebook and continued her commentary in the comments section of her post.

“I think we are facing a new era of censorship, in the name of political correctness,” she wrote. “There are forces at work in the book world that want to control fiction writing in terms of who ‘has a right’ to write about what. Some even advocate the out and out censorship of older works using words we now deem wholly unacceptable. Some are critical of novels involving rape. Some argue that white novelists have no right to write about people of color; and Christians should not write novels involving Jews or topics involving Jews. I think all this is dangerous.

“I think we have to stand up for the freedom of fiction writers to write what they want to write, no matter how offensive it might be to some one else,” she continued. “We must stand up for fiction as a place where transgressive behavior and ideas can be explored. We must stand up for freedom in the arts. I think we have to be willing to stand up for the despised. It is always a matter of personal choice whether one buys or reads a book. No one can make you do it. But internet campaigns to destroy authors accused of inappropriate subject matter or attitudes are dangerous to us all. That’s my take on it. Ignore what you find offensive. Or talk about it in a substantive way. But don’t set out to censor it, or destroy the career of the offending author.”

In a response to one commenter, Ms. Rice admitted she had not read Ms. Breslin‘s book, either, but said she is ordering a copy out of support for the author.

“But I think it is important to stress that this is not about whether the book is offensive,it is about the immorality of internet lynch mobs that ‘game’ book sites to destroy their targets,” she added.

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