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'(It) is a decision ... made in light of some extremely disturbing material being circulated prior, during and after the Christchurch attacks'
A national chain of bookstores in New Zealand has pulled copies of Jordan Peterson’s book "12 Rules for Life" from sale, directly linking the decision to the massacre of 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch.
“Unfortunately, '12 Rules for Life' is currently unavailable,” said a customer representative for Whitcoulls, the country’s largest bookseller with more than 50 stores in New Zealand and an online business.
“(It) is a decision that Whitcoulls has made in light of some extremely disturbing material being circulated prior, during and after the Christchurch attacks.
“As a business which takes our responsibilities to our communities very seriously, we believe it would be wrong to support the author at this time.”
The representative declined to provide her name as she was not authorized to comment to the media. Requests for comment and further explanation from company officials were not answered prior to deadline.
Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, first became famous by his public opposition to compelled use of gender-neutral pronouns and became an international celebrity for online lectures, free speech stances and a bestselling book.
Whitcoulls did not explain any connection between Peterson and the Christchurch tragedy or the alleged gunman.
Among his fans are some white supremacy adherents, but neither Peterson nor his book is referenced anywhere in the 74-page manifesto allegedly released by the killer prior to the March 15 attacks. The treatise says the murder spree was in response to Muslim immigration, characterized as “an invasion” threatening the white population.
Peterson did a series of lectures and engagements in New Zealand and Australia in February.
It is possible the company’s ban is linked to concern sparked by a photograph of Peterson taken at an event in Auckland on Feb. 18, 2019.
Peterson is posing with a man in a T-shirt that says “I’m a Proud ISLAMAPHOBE” and, in smaller print, lists inflammatory slurs against Muslims and concludes: “I love dogs, bacon and the FREEDOM to hate Islam but not the individual.”
The photo was one of more than 100 pictures of people who purchased VIP access to his lecture, which included a personal photograph, hosted by OMG VIP, a company that arranges for fans “to be up close and personal with their favorite musicians, comedians, athletes, writers, and other celebrities.”
The photos were posted on the OMG VIP website, but after the T-shirt was spotted and caused an uproar on social media, it was removed. A request to OMG VIP on why the photo was removed went unanswered by deadline.
Peterson is travelling and could not be reached for comment.
“It is outrageous how the left improperly uses crises to attack their enemies and create false analogies. The rules teach assuming personal responsibility,” said Peterson’s lawyer for civil suits, Howard Levitt.
Levitt added he had not consulted with Peterson on this matter and was not speaking for him on it.
In a recent piece written by Peterson — who is an occasional contributor to National Post — about his tour of Australia and New Zealand, published earlier this month in the Post, he spoke warmly of his lectures.
“My radical leftist critics insist that I am appealing purposefully, effectively, greedily and politically to disaffected and angry young white men,” he wrote and then added it was “self-serving and false.”
“There has not been a single event of any violent or even vaguely aggressive nature at any of the venues I have spoken at, despite the 300,000 hypothetically angry people in attendance … people are not attending for political reasons — just as I am not speaking for political purposes.”
Although copies of 12 Rules for Life are no longer listed on Whitcoulls’ online database of available titles on Thursday, some Peterson-related merchandise was still offered.
Jordanetics: A Journey Into the "Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker" by Vox Day with a foreward by Milo Yiannopoulos was available for sale, as was "Political Correctness", a recitation of the 2018 Munk Debate that includes Peterson as an author.
Peterson has said his book has sold about three million copies and is being translated into 50 languages.
By Adrian Humphreys
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019