Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cedar Fort backs out of contract with gay author

I will start by saying that I have bought multiple books from Cedar Fort, specifically gluten-free and flexitarian cookbooks. I know Cedar Fort is a Mormon/Latter Day Saints press and am completely indifferent to that fact.  At that risk of falling into that "some of my best friends" cliche, I grew up near a Mormon Tabernacle and have always always been in communities that include LDS-followers. I simply have no strong views about that approach to religion, one way or the other.What I do have strong views about it a press cancelling a book contract because they they could not get a gay author to agree to putting a censored bio in the book.

Woven is a YA fantasy novel, and Cedar Fort never at any point said they had a policy of discrimination towards authors, and the acquiring editor apparently knew one of the authors was gay. But when both authors wanted similar "significant other" statements in their bios the shit hit the proverbial fan. Complete with an allegedly very unpleasant phone call where the editor referenced the infamous "gay agenda".

So the upshot is Cedar Fort wants to use work written by gay people, on the conditions they never acknowledge their home life, even when their co-author is encouraged to include a comment about his wife and kids in his bio. I get that they want to sell to LDS readers and an openly gay author might be an issue.  But where do they get off just assuming he will get in the closet just to meet their marketing needs?

IMHO as a religiously affiliated press you either stick to faith books written by people of that faith, or you join the secular word.  This is not an area where you can try to split the difference and ask people to hide things that make some of your retailers uncomfortable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Emily on this issue. People and organizations (including publishers) should be firm in their convictions -- and should be consistent. If Cedar Fort supports the LGBT community, it doesn't make sense for them to attach all sorts of non-disclosure conditions, because it makes them seem insincere and disingenuous.