“Irreversible Damage” author Abigail Shrier recently learned that she was featured in a letter today from American Booksellers Association CEO Allison Hill, as was Candace Owens:

This isn’t a great look for the ABA.

Now, to be fair, with regards to the incident with Candace Owens’ book, it’s not quite the blackballing case that the above tweet suggests.

From Hill’s letter (emphasis hers):

A staff person was filling in on creating the bestseller list while the staff person typically responsible was on vacation. Rather than pull the cover image by ISBN as they had been trained to do, they pulled the image by the title, Blackout, and didn’t realize they had pulled the wrong cover image–same title, different book. They did not check the cover image against the title and author listed. They were not familiar with Candace Owens’ face, so they did not recognize her on the cover of the wrong book. A second employee, new to copyediting, was charged with proofreading the bestseller list before it went out but they didn’t check to ensure that the correct cover image was used. It was a terrible mistake with terrible racist implications. However, based on our investigation and the demonstrated diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitment of these individuals, we have no reason to believe the action was malicious in intention.

The employees are very apologetic and very committed to vigilance going forward. They have been held accountable and have agreed to training, both on procedures as well as on DEI, and we have added layers of checks and balances to this process.

It sounds like two staffers accidentally used the wrong cover image.

The employees responsible likely didn’t make their mistake with any racist intent, though training them further on proper procedures seems reasonable. Subjecting them to further DEI training seems excessive, however.

Anyway, the ABA’s handling of Shrier’s book is a very different story (no pun intended). “Irreversible Damage” being included in an ABA box mailing was apparently something that merits introspection, self-flagellation, and atonement before the Wokeness Gods:

Bookstores that report sales and submit Indie Next List nominations are eligible to receive the boxes. The policy to not review or screen titles submitted is in line with many members’ preference to not have ABA decide what books they have access to, preferring to review books themselves to determine what they read, buy, sell, and promote. (We’ve heard from members–those impacted both directly and indirectly–over the past three weeks who still feel that way despite being horrified by this book.)

Ironically, ABA is paid by the publishers for this mailing service but ultimately loses money on this program; we consider it a service to members. Regardless of all of this, when we included this book in the box, we violated our commitment to equity and inclusion and we caused harm.

We will wait to institute a new permanent box mailing policy until the Board reviews the ends policies at its August meeting. We can then interpret the ends policies and implement new processes surrounding box mailings if applicable. In the meantime, the September box mailing books will be screened and flagged by a team of staff members who are charged with bringing titles to senior staff’s attention that meet the United Nations’ criteria for hate speech–“any kind of communication in speech, writing, or behaviour that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are”–and thus violate ABA’s commitment to equity and inclusion.

“Improvements” to the ABA’s approach to DEI will include a quarterly LGBTQIA+ forum, an annual Queer History session for the equity training program, and a $5,000 donation to the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.

And all this is due in no small part to Shrier’s book that left ABA members feeling “horrified” because it wasn’t flagged despite meeting the U.N.’s criteria for “hate speech.”

One point of contention, if we may: the Left’s goal is not, in fact, to create a better society. But we understand what Jilani’s getting at.



Well respected science website retracts favorable review of Abigail Shrier’s book about transgenderism, but insists it’s not censorship