Amazon has reversed its refusal to publish an e-book from author and former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, a prominent critic of the ongoing Chinese virus lockdowns.
The e-commerce giant chose to approve Berenson’s book following coverage from Breitbart News, as well as backlash from figures on social media including Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
In its email to Berenson, Amazon initially informed the author that it would not be publishing the book.
“Due to the rapidly changing nature of information around the COVID-19 virus, we are referring customers to official sources for health information about the virus. Please consider removing references to COVID-19 for this book,” said Amazon.
Berenson told Breitbart News that his book, Unreported Truths About COVID-19 And Lockdowns Part 1: Introductions and Death Counts and Estimates, was merely “an introduction and a discussion of death coding, death counts, and who is really dying from COVID, as well as a worst-case estimate of deaths with no mitigation efforts.”
“I briefly considered censorship but assumed I wouldn’t have a problem both because of my background, because anyone who reads the booklet will realize it is impeccably sourced, nary a conspiracy theory to be found, and frankly because Amazon shouldn’t be censoring anything that doesn’t explicitly help people commit criminal behavior.”
Amazon spokeswoman Sarah Elison now says the book was removed in error, according to the Washington Post.
On Twitter, Musk called Amazon’s decision “insane” and called for the online retailer to be broken up, calling it a “monopoly.”
Time to break up Amazon. Monopolies are wrong!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 4, 2020
“I think Elon’s decision to highlight the censorship spurred Amazon to move quickly. It’s possible they would have backed down eventually, but his tweets made their position indefensible,” said Berenson.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.