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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. 

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

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. 

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Author/editor here. I believe the choice offered the authors was "We're publishing this book the way we want to because you signed a contract (i.e. without the boyfriend line in the bio), or you can pay for our work on it and we'll let you have it back." There's not really an option to NOT pay AND get the rights back. Such a costly mess in so many ways. It's clear that the publishing house in question is paying in its own fashion for its part in this, though.

My publishing house has made an offer to the authors. I'm sure it's one of dozens they've already received. I wish them well in their careers no matter where they head next.

GOOD FOR HIM STANDING HIS GROUND!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope he said NO to the offer of buying out the rights to his book. 

Even though some religious groups are publicly saying that they are trying to become more tolerant and accepting of the LGBT community it doesn't surprise me that privately they are still doing this.    I am glad he made this public.   More people need to do this so that the public is made aware and kept informed of these activities.  The actions not only by the owner of the Publishing Company but their rep as well put a black eye on the LDS marketing approach.  I hope they are proud of themselves for showing that bigotry is not lessening in this country but on the rise and considered justified under the guise of religious believes.

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