Amazon accused of ‘absurd and unacceptable’ censorship after book questioning transgender movement vanishes

‘Some mid-level censor at Amazon appears to be conducting an experiment in what they can get away with,’ New York Times columnist Ross Douthat responded

Author Ryan T. Anderson said his book, "When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment," has been removed from Amazon – and critics pointed out that the online retailer has a history of censoring books that don’t coincide with the company’s liberal political views.

"I hope you’ve already bought your copy, cause Amazon just removed my book "When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment" from their cyber shelves.... my other four books are still available (for now)," Anderson tweeted.

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"When Harry Became Sally," which has previously been on Amazon’s bestseller list, aimed to provide "thoughtful answers to questions arising from our transgender moment" and offered a "a balanced approach to public policy on gender identity, and a sober assessment of the human costs of getting human nature wrong."

Author Ryan T. Anderson said his book, "When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment," has been removed from Amazon.

Author Ryan T. Anderson said his book, "When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment," has been removed from Amazon. (Reuters)

A search of Amazon for "When Harry Became Sally" on Monday doesn’t find Anderson’s book, instead suggesting books with the opposite view such as "The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths about Sex and Identity in Our Society," "Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture" and "Let Harry Become Sally: Responding to the Anti-Transgender Moment."

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"While you can’t buy the book on Amazon, you can still get it (for now?) at Barnes and Noble. Given the aggressive push on trans policies coming from the Biden admin, now is a great time to read it. Buy it before you no longer can," Anderson added in a follow-up tweet.

Dispatch writer David French blasted the move as "absurd and unacceptable," while New York Times columnist Ross Douthat suggested Amazon was "conducting an experiment in what they can get away with."

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Target also sparked an outcry among critics last year when the big box retailer announced it was pulling "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters," because one Twitter user deemed the book transphobic. Target reversed its decision amid backlash. 

Many others took to Twitter with their thoughts on the situation: 

Last year,  Alex Berenson’s booklet on coronavirus, "Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1," became the No. 1 best seller in Amazon’s Kindle Store after the online retailer initially told Berenson it didn’t meet the company’s guidelines.

The former New York Times reporter quickly launched a protest on Twitter, calling the move "outrageous censorship from a company that gained hugely from lockdown" as millions were forced to shop online. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and other prominent journalists defended Berenson, and Amazon eventually allowed the book to be sold on its platform.

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Amazon told Fox News it was an "error" and the book shouldn’t have been held up, but Berenson had his doubts.

"They didn’t say to me that it was a mistake… I do believe that I’m not the only person who has run into this. They need to be clear what their position is on publishing controversial material on political issues," Berenson told Fox News at the time. "It doesn’t seem to me that this was an error, but I don’t know."