Who is Jordan Peterson? Penguin staff dubs Canadian psychologist 'icon of transphobia and white supremacy'

by 24USATVNov. 25, 2020, 2 p.m. 25
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A report about several employees at Penguin Random House, Canada, bursting into tears in a town hall over the company’s decision to publish a new book by controversial Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson recently went viral on social media. The report received mixed feelings about the writer among people and sparked controversy.

VICE World News published a report on Thursday, November 25, where four employees from the reputed publishing house spoke to the outlet expressing their disgust at the fact that Penguin had announced it will be publishing 'Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life' by Peterson, to be released in March 2021. During the town hall which was held Monday, employees voiced their concerns over giving a man a platform like Penguin who has been known to have ties to the far-right circles. “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,” an anonymous junior employee who is a member of the LGBTQ community and who attended the town hall told VICE World News. Another employee said, “people were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives.”

They said one co-worker discussed how Peterson had radicalized their father and another had concerns about how publishing the book will negatively affect their non-binary friend. “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,” the employee added.

Peterson, 58, a University of Toronto professor of psychology who has crusaded against political correctness. He landed himself in hot waters in September 2016 when he posted a lecture to YouTube stating he refused to use gender-neutral pronouns for students. He has also condemned Bill C-16, legislation that increased protections for trans and non-binary Canadians. His followers on YouTube soon grew to 3.25 million YouTube followers, as he went onto talk about why white privilege isn’t real, and how masculinity is under attack.

Some of the social media users were outraged by the report. "So Jordan Peterson wrote a book called '12 Rules For Life' and then immediately got hooked on benzos and nearly died and then popped back up saying he's got 12 more rules lmao thanks bro but i think i'm good," one wrote while another said, "Jordan Peterson is proof that if you live like Jordan Peterson tells you to, you will be miserable." A third commented, "If Jordan Peterson doesn’t come out of his troubling times with any kind of increased awareness of and empathy for the fact that sometimes awful sh*t just happens to people and f*cks up their whole lives, yeah that actually would kinda suck."

Someone else commented, "Sure. You can make fun of employees of Penguin Publishing crying about Jordan Peterson's new book. But also Jordan Peterson is a very bad person." One more person opined, "Every douchebag who tries to convince me that patriarchy is good actually, because it's the natural order of things, supports their argument with a youtube link to Jordan Peterson."

However, there were those who sided with Peterson and slammed the employees instead. "The book publisher employees who were sO TrAuMaTiZeD over Jordan Peterson's book getting published that they cried in a meeting... should have all been fired on the spot," one of them wrote while another said, "Jordan Peterson is one of the greatest, smartest, and brightest scholars to ever contribute to human thought. His manners are gold, his tears are genuine and his passion to spread good is beyond inspiring. I just heard they’re trying to cancel his next book. I shall pre-order it."

The next added, "I wonder how many people who criticize Jordan Peterson actually read his work. Instead of censoring books, let's instead read a lot, think deeply, and keep an open mind." Someone else commented, "If you think Jordan Peterson is “far right” then you either haven’t read his work or haven’t understood it. If you start crying because he’s written a book, & call for it to be canceled, you’re not behaving like an adult. In either case, you shouldn’t be working in publishing."

In a statement, Penguin Random House Canada told the outlet it is open to its employees’ feedback. “We announced yesterday that we will publish Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order this coming March. Immediately following the announcement, we held a forum and provided a space for our employees to express their views and offer feedback. Our employees have started an anonymous feedback channel, which we fully support. We are open to hearing our employees’ feedback and answering all of their questions. We remain committed to publishing a range of voices and viewpoints,” the statement said.

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