Clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson’s time away from the limelight hasn’t softened the stance of employees at Penguin Random House Canada regarding his popular presentations.
Sources from within the company contacted Vice World News this week after it was announced that “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life” would be published in March 2021.
“12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” was a smash hit with readers, although life-threatening health issues — an emergency medical benzodiazepine detox — kept him out of the spotlight for much of the year.
“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 told the website Tuesday.
A town hall event organized by the publisher to address its decision left some of its employees in tears.
“People were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives,” said another employee, one of four total who contacted the website. “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.”
Mr. Peterson was propelled to fame as a University of Toronto professor in 2016 after challenging Canada’s “C-16 bill,” which his critics deemed him “transphobic.”
At issue was the psychologist’s opposition to state-mandated speech regulations, which would penalize citizens who refused to use specific pronouns in various situations.
“We publish a lot of people in the LGBTQ+ community and what is the company going to do about making sure these authors are still feeling supported by a company that is supporting somebody who denies their existence,” an employee told Vice World News said without defining what, specifically, “denies their existence” means.
The company did not reply to Vice World News’ request for comment.
An internal Penguin Random House Canada email viewed by Vice World News did stress the need for staff and management to have “an evolving process and part of an ever-changing conversation” on book publishing.
“I’m eager to have [such discussions] in a bigger way with all of you,” Kristin Cochrane, chief executive officer, wrote in an email.