A group of authors, parents, and free-speech activists joined forces with book publisher Penguin Random House on Wednesday, May 17 to file a lawsuit that fights the banning of books in schools. The suit claims that the Escambia County School Board banning of 10 books violates the First Amendment by “depriving students of access to a wide range of viewpoints, and depriving the authors of the removed and restricted books of the opportunity to engage with readers and disseminate their ideas to their intended audiences,” reads the suit.
The suit also has a high chance of challenging Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill. “The books being singled out for possible removal are disproportionately books by non-white and/or LGBTQ authors, or which address topics related to race or LGBTQ identity,” which the suit says violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
Joining the fight is PEN America, a non-profit that helps to fight against censorship of literature and writers. Suzanne Nossel, the CEO of the organization, is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. “In a nation built on free speech, this cannot stand,” she said.
DeSantis’s bill has already ruffled some very high-profile feathers. His ongoing battle with the Walt Disney Company (DIS) – Get Free Report began when Disney’s former CEO Bob Chapek criticized the bill. The feud has now escalated, and the current CEO Bob Iger has made it known that he’s not afraid to divest the giant media company’s resources from the state — which could cost the state of Florida millions of dollars.