16.6 C
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
HomeEntertainmentAriana Grande, Guillermo del Toro, Padma Lakshmi and more sign open letter...

Ariana Grande, Guillermo del Toro, Padma Lakshmi and more sign open letter denouncing book bans and their ‘chilling effect’ (Exclusive)


Ariana Grande, Guillermo del Toro, Padma Lakshmi, Roxane Gay, Gabrielle Union, Sandra Cisneros, Amanda Gorman, Margaret Cho and Ron Perlman are among the signatories of an open letter calling on creative communities in Hollywood and beyond to use their voices to promote books forbids to stop.

More than 175 actors, musicians, authors, comedians, reality stars, models, media personalities, academics, activists and more have signed the open letter, led by Reading Rainbow hosted by LeVar Burton and published Tuesday through public advocacy group and political action committee MoveOn Political Action.

LeVar Burton

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

The letter encourages signers and readers to address challenges at the local level in U.S. school districts, while labeling book bans as “restrictive behavior” that “violates freedom of speech and expression.” It also underlines the “chilling effect” these bans can have “on the broader creative field.”

“We cannot emphasize enough that these censorship efforts will not end with a book ban,” the letter continues. “It is only a matter of time before regressive, oppressive ideologues shift their focus to other forms of art and entertainment to further their attacks and efforts to scapegoat marginalized communities, especially BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people. ”

The letter concludes that the signatories “will refuse to remain silent as one creative field is subject to oppressive bans” and urges artists to “work together, because a threat to one form of art is a threat to us all.”

“It’s shameful that we ban books in this country, in this culture, in this time. And it is dangerous that a handful of individuals decide that every book featuring Black and queer people is divisive,” said Burton, executive producer of the 2023 documentary. The right to read. “We call on everyone to join us in raising their voices to uphold artistic freedom, embrace multicultural history and end the book ban once and for all.”

Mark Ruffalo; Billy Porter; Chelsea Handler; Constance Wu; John Leguizamo; Christie Brinkley; Angie Thomas; Rachel Willis; Idina Menzel; Roxane Gay; Adina Porter; Judy Blume; Busy Philipps; Waste; Jodi Picoult; Natasha Rothwell; Andy Cohen; Sarah Paulson; Emma Roberts; Abigail Disney; Jazz Jennings; Margaret Atwood; Michael Ian Black; Sharon Stone; Judd Apatow; Nikki Giovanni; Alyssa Milan; Bill Nye; Zooey Deschanel; Patton Oswalt; Aisha Tyler; Natasha Lyonne; Maia Kobabe; Zoe Lister-Jones; Alok; and Ava Max are also among those who supported the open letter, which began collecting signatures this summer and is available in full at www.ArtistsAgainstBookBans.com.

“There is a growing consensus among the majority of Americans that book bans are our goal
country backwards,” added Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn, Political Action. “Ron DeSantis and MAGA Republicans are trying to censor all of our different backgrounds and punish those who live, love and think differently than they do. We will not surrender to their extremism. They cannot erase us. We are the majority; we are challenging and we will prevail.

In her own statement, the banned author, LGBTQ advocate and TLC series star says I’m Jazz called signing the open letter “crucial” and said that “by speaking out, I can defend freedom of expression,
promoting representation and inclusivity, supporting education and understanding, countering prejudice
and discrimination, and empowering young readers to embrace their identity and fight for that identity

Actress and producer Union called on her supporters not to “stand idly by as book bans spread hatred and fear,” adding that “our differences should be celebrated, and our children deserve to have the tools to realize the fullness of to explore our world.’ In her own statement says Taste the nation host Lakshmi stated that “we cannot protect our children from our history like my generation did. Deciding which books are in school libraries is the job of librarians, not politicians who want to continue whitewashing the country.”

Award-winning authors like Sandra Cisneros – who called books “good medicine” and explained that “if this isn’t your prescription, you just put it back on the shelf for someone who needs it” – and Jodi Picoult, who warned about bans that began “on school shelves are already turning into content challenges” in public libraries, bookstores and theaters, also expressed their stance against censorship alongside the online reading community Belletrist co-founders Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss and Broadway star Idina Menzel, who co- writes children’s books with her sister and teacher Cara Menzel.

“Banning books takes resources away from children trying to find themselves
and discover the world,” said Roberts and Preiss. “We must all speak out to fight these bans because politicians should not be allowed to stifle our growth, creativity or identity.”

Menzel and Mentzel added: “It is up to all of us to support all children against book bans. We must come together and continue to advocate for children of all backgrounds, races, genders and sexual orientations so they know they are loved and valued and that we will stop at nothing to protect their rights.”

The release of the letter coincides with National Banned Books Month and coincides with a corresponding public petition from MoveOn, which will connect signers with future advocacy opportunities around book bans. Such opportunities include support methods or events related to MoveOn’s banned Bookmobilewho then launched a multi-city tour last summer measures touted and supported by Governor Ron DeSantis resulted in an increase in the number of banned and restricted books in Florida schools, according to the Associated Press.

In October, the bookmobile will once again distribute banned books for free, in addition to hosting events held in partnership with Crooked Media’s live podcasts Pod Saves America and Lovett or Leave It, and author readings in Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina as part of a broader Initiative for reading banned books.

In 2022, book bans reached an all-time high for 21 years of recording, according to Education weekwith PEN America – a research organization dedicated to identifying threats to free speech – reporting more than 4,000 book challenges and bans in school districts since June 2021.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories