Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


Publishers and publishing, Book industries and trade


Cancel culture is a social phenomenon that has risen from the massive amounts of online users finding common issues and speaking up about them en masse on social media platforms. In recent years, this has become even more obvious as it is reported that social media users’ consumption has risen up to 72 percent more from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has brought the topic into the forefront of many debates and people are taking issue with it. These issues can vary but one thing is for sure: cancel culture does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. We can see some of this with recent examples such author J.K. Rowling, actress Gina Carano, and businessman Mike Lindell, to name a few. Each example dealt with a statement or action that was deemed problematic by a sizable population, such as J.K. Rowling’s tweets that were seen as transphobic. Her tweets resulted in fans, actors from her films, and even those working on her newest title at Hachette to condemn her, some even refusing to work on her content at all. Any and all industries are capable of being canceled and publishing is no exception. This paper investigates how publishers can coexist with cancel culture despite the negative reputation it has garnered. Rather than take aim at combating cancel culture, publishers can create an open dialogue to further the important conversations taking place. This paper closely examines American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins to highlight the issue, outcome, and larger conversations that were ignited as a part of cancel culture. This book gives insight into all sides of cancel culture, from the issue all the way to the conclusion as well as lasting effects of the controversy.


© 2021 the author

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Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Writing: Book Publishing

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