The launch of a book written by a critic of government-imposed lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic was cancelled by Amazon on Thursday before the company eventually backed down.
Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson posted on Twitter that the planned launch of his new book was scrapped by the company, supposedly because it did not meet Amazon’s standards.
“Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates” was initially slated to become available Thursday.
According to an email posted by Berenson on Twitter, Amazon informed the author it would not be making the book available on its online store, and suggested he remove all references to COVID-19.
“Due to the rapidly changing nature of information around the COVID-19 virus, we are referring customers to official sources for health information about the virus. Please consider removing references to COVID-19 for this book,” the company’s full email to Berenson read.
Berenson said he was being censored.
“I can’t believe it. They censored it,” he tweeted.
“THEY CENSORED IT! It is based entirely on published government data and scientific papers. It doesn’t say coronavirus isn’t real or doesn’t kill people (in fact, the worst-case death toll is likely to be striking to people). And Amazon won’t run it,” the author added.
THEY CENSORED IT! It is based entirely on published government data and scientific papers. It doesn’t say coronavirus isn’t real or doesn’t kill people (in fact, the worst-case death toll is likely to be striking to people). And Amazon won’t run it.
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) June 4, 2020
Amazon’s actions incensed many online, and Berenson soon found a number of allies who attacked the company on his behalf.
The loudest and most prominent critic of the company’s move to pull the book was billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who has been highly critical of lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic and even called stay-at-home orders “fascist.”
In two tweets, Musk called out Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and described the company as a monopoly in need of regulatory oversight.
“This is insane @JeffBezos,” Musk said, tagging Bezos.
“Time to break up Amazon. Monopolies are wrong!”
Time to break up Amazon. Monopolies are wrong!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 4, 2020
Amazon has since backtracked, with a Kindle Direct Publishing executive apologizing to Berenson for the “inconvenience.”
Looks official – @amazon BACKED DOWN! Of course I don’t know what anyone who doesn’t have @elonmusk and so many others pushing will do, but at least this time they backed down. pic.twitter.com/zCU4bJGUf6
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) June 4, 2020
Berenson’s book is now up or sale on Amazon.
The 22-page book is the first of a series in which Berenson will apparently document the facts about government’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Former New York Times reporter and prominent lockdown critic Alex Berenson provides a counterweight to media hysteria about coronavirus in this series of short booklets answering crucial questions about COVID,” the book’s Amazon product description reads.
“Whether you have been skeptical of the media’s panicked reporting all along or are just starting to wonder why the predictions of doom from March and April have not come to pass, the Essential Guide will provide you with the factual, accurate, and impeccably sourced information you need,” it adds.
Amazon, meanwhile, told Fox News the book was removed in “error,” though Berenson wasn’t necessarily buying it.
“They didn’t say to me that it was a mistake,” he told Fox.
“I do believe that I’m not the only person who has run into this. They need to be clear what their position is on publishing controversial material on political issues.”
“It doesn’t seem to me that this was an error, but I don’t know.”
The author told Breitbart News he was surprised to see the world’s largest seller of books initially censor his work, as the book is well sourced and he is an established author and journalist.
“I briefly considered censorship but assumed I wouldn’t have a problem both because of my background, because anyone who reads the booklet will realize it is impeccably sourced, nary a conspiracy theory to be found, and frankly because Amazon shouldn’t be censoring anything that doesn’t explicitly help people commit criminal behavior,” Berenson said.
Bezos has seen his net worth increase by tens of billions of dollars in 2020, despite widespread lockdowns due to the coronavirus.
Business Insider reported May 28 that Bezos has added $31.3 billion to his net worth since the beginning of the year, and is currently worth $146.2 billion.
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