Some Penguin Random House employees cried during an internal meeting on Monday after the announcement that the company would be publishing a book by a controversial public figure.
On Monday, Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson announced the release of his long-expected book, “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.” It comes as a sequel to his popular 2018 book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”, which sold over 3 million copies and was on the bestseller lists in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
“He is an icon of hate speech and transphobia,” one employee told Vice, “and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy, regardless of the content of the book, I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him.” The employee also identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community.
Peterson, a licensed psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, rose to popularity due to his stand against state-compelled speech in regards to gender pronouns.
He has become a defender of free speech, the ideals of traditional liberalism, and self-responsibility. He is something like a cultural phenomenon as thousands have attended his worldwide lectures on topics spanning psychology, philosophy, politics, literature, and religion.
Penguin Random House Canada said in a statement that they held a forum on Monday to allow employees “to express their views and offer feedback.”
According to reports, several employees cried, while dozens of others sent in anonymous complaints about the publication decision.
One employee said that Peterson had “radicalized their father,” and another claimed that his new book will “negatively affect their non-binary friend.”
“We are open to hearing our employees’ feedback and answering all of their questions,” reads the company’s statement. “We remain committed to publishing a range of voices and viewpoints.”
Jordan Peterson’s daughter, Mikhaila – who hosts a podcast and has gained her own large following – tweeted in response to the story that the crying employees should be fired.
“We’re now dealing with bullies who are trying to cancel books (that they haven’t read), by employing methods used by children below the age of 6 (crying),” Mikhaila wrote in a follow-up Tweet. “Those are the people that will eventually be in charge of what’s published and available. It’s terrifying.”
On Friday, Jordan Peterson addressed his followers, asking people to “leave the @PenguinRandomCA employees alone.”
The book is scheduled to be released March 2021.