Utah-Based Publisher Cancels Book After Gay Author Mentions Boyfriend In Bio
The young adult book Woven has been canceled by publisher Sweetwater Books after coauthor Michael Jensen (pictured) asked that mention of his boyfriend not be censored out of his profile that appears in the book.
Sweetwater, which is owned by LDS-brand Cedar Fort, was marketed to Jensen and co-author David Powers King, as more of a "national imprint" and therefore less bigoted than their parent company. Unfortunately, when Jensen noticed that his boyfriend was edited out of his life story by the publisher to avoid "the effect it would have with our LDS buyers," the illusion of tolerance was ruined.
When Jensen saw a proof of "Woven’s" cover art on Aug. 2, he noticed that the publishing house had stricken a phrase in his bio: "He lives in Salt Lake City with his boyfriend and their four dogs." Jensen pointed out the error.
In an email response to Jensen that was included in the authors’ news release, Cedar Fort Acquisitions Editor Angie Workman wrote: "I was concerned about your bio and wondered what effect it would have with our LDS buyers, so I spoke with [Cedar Fort owner] Lyle [Mortimer] about it. He says we can’t risk ruining our relationship with them by stating you live with your boyfriend. … We will have much better sales if we can get into Deseret Book and Seagull."
"You do not have permission to remove that," Jensen replied in writing to Workman. "I’m sorry, but you do not get to make those changes."
Unfortunately, Cedar Fort refused to back down on its censorship and threatened Jensen with having to buy back his rights to Woven. With the legalities on such a threat ambiguous at best, Cedar Fort ended up simply canceling publication and returned complete rights.