EXCLUSIVE – Republican Study Committee (RSC) chief Rep. Jim Banks is leading a group of Republicans demanding answers from Amazon after the removal of conservative scholar Ryan T. Anderson’s book on transgenderism titled “When Harry Became Sally.”
Banks said the RSC “is determined to protect the fundamental American right to free speech from ideological tyrants.”
“Amazon’s treatment of Ryan Anderson perfectly demonstrates the authoritarianism and insidiousness of Big Tech censorship,” Banks told Fox News in a statement. “His book offers the clearest, most thoroughly researched conservative perspective on the issue of transgenderism that I’m aware of. And that political issue is extremely relevant because Congress is debating it right now. That is why Amazon is desperate to shut him up.”
In a Wednesday letter, the RSC’s steering members demanded that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos provide internal communications about the removal of “When Harry Became Sally” and a list of books that have been removed from Amazon in the past five years and the justifications for those removals.
“Amazon.com currently controls a majority of the print book market in the United States, and a supermajority of e-book sales. In other words, your censorship decisions affect the dissemination of facts, opinion, and culture on an incalculable scale. As such, we believe that Congressional interest in promoting open and fair market practices is justified,” they wrote in the letter.
They also demanded that Amazon commit to answering future formal congressional inquiries.
Anderson told Fox News that the timing of the removal of his book seems “awfully suspicious.”
“It’s a three-year-old book, but it gets removed only after President Trump and Attorney General Barr are no longer in power,” he told Fox News in an interview on Thursday. “I’m grateful to Chairman Banks and to the RSC for being willing to stand up to Amazon and ask the tough questions.”
“There’s no actual transparency in terms of what the criteria is,” Anderson said. “It’s going to have a huge impact, not just on me personally. What I’m more concerned about is what does this do to the book market. … Publishers won’t take a chance and publish a book on this for fear of Amazon?”
Amazon faced backlash after announcing it would no longer sell books that it classifies as framing transgender and other sexual identities as mental illnesses.
Amazon announced the decision in a letter sent to Republican lawmakers that was obtained and published by The Wall Street Journal. A group of Republican senators inquired why the online retailer pulled “When Harry Became Sally” in February. The book was published in 2018.
Amazon declined to comment on the decision to Fox News beyond the letter.
“As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable,” Amazon wrote to the lawmakers. “We reserve the right not to sell certain content. All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer, as do we.”
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.