Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton and 175 other artists have signed a letter slamming efforts to block children’s access to sexually explicit books as “white supremacy.”
The other signatories include Bravo’s Andy Cohen, Alyssa Milano, Ariana Grande, Bill Nye, Chelsea Handler, Judd Apatow, Judy Blume, Mark Ruffalo, Zooey Deschanel and Ron Perlman.
TGP reports: The campaign is being run by far-left organization MoveOn.
“Far-right politicians like Ron DeSantis are championing draconian laws to ban books and the teaching of accurate multicultural American history in favor of upholding a homophobic, transphobic, and white supremacist vision of our nation,” the group’s website states.
The letter states, “This restrictive behavior is not just antithetical to free speech and expression but has a chilling effect on the broader creative field. The government cannot and should not create any interference or dictate what people can produce, write, generate, read, listen to, or consume.”
“We cannot stress enough how these censorious efforts will not end with book bans. It’s only a matter of time before regressive, suppressive ideologues will shift their focus toward other forms of art and entertainment, to further their attacks and efforts to scapegoat marginalized communities, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks,” the letter continues. “We refuse to remain silent as one creative field is subjected to oppressive bans. As artists, we must band together, because a threat to one form of art is a threat to us all.”
The letter concludes by saying, “We are calling on everyone to join us in pushing back against these book bans, support free and open creative industries—regardless of personal or ideological disagreements—and use their voice at the local level to stop these bans in their school districts. There is power in artistic freedom, and we refuse to allow draconian politicians to take that from us.”
Burton also wrote his own statement about the letter, saying, “It’s embarrassing that we are banning books in this country, in this culture, in this day and age. And it’s dangerous that a handful of individuals are deciding that any book with Black and queer people is divisive. I’m proud to be surrounded by hundreds of artists and millions of MoveOn members who are solidly against this type of censorship. We are calling on everyone to join us in raising their voices to uphold artistic freedom, embrace multicultural history, and put a stop once and for all to book bans.”
Burton has previously urged children to read banned books, saying on The Daily Show in 2002 that “that’s where the good stuff is.”