"It’s only a matter of time before regressive, suppressive ideologues will shift their focus toward other forms of art and entertainment," the letter reads, according to 'The Hollywood Reporter'
Ariana Grande, Gabrielle Union, and Guillermo del Toro are among 175 Hollywood creatives who have signed an open letter published on Tuesday denouncing the recent trend to ban books in schools across the nation.
The letter — backed by Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton and MoveOn Political Action organization — calls out the “restrictive behavior” and “chilling effect” book bans have “on the broader creative field" and how they are “antithetical to free speech and expression," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“We cannot stress enough how these censorious efforts will not end with book bans,” the letter reads, per THR. “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.”
According to the outlet, the signatories concluded the letter by writing that they “refuse to remain silent as one creative field is subjected to oppressive bans” and that they will “band together, because a threat to one form of art is a threat to us all.”
“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,” Burton added. “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.”
Union, 50, asked for those not to “stand idly by as book bans spread hate and fear,” as “our differences must be celebrated, and our children deserve to have resources to explore the fullness of our world,” per THR.
Padma Lakshmi wrote in her own statement, “We cannot shield our children from our history, as my generation was. Deciding what books are in school libraries is the job of librarians, not politicians who want to continue to whitewash the country.”
“By speaking out, I can defend freedom of expression, promote representation and inclusivity, support education and understanding, counter prejudice and discrimination, and empower young readers to embrace their identities and fight for their rights,” added Jazz Jennings in her own statement.
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“Banning books takes away resources from kids who are trying to find themselves and discover the world,” wrote Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss, co-founders of the online reading community Belletrist. “We all need to speak out to fight these bans because politicians cannot be allowed to stifle our growth, creativity or identities.”
Idina Menzel and her sister Cara Mentzel urged: “It’s on all of us to support all kids against book bans. We must come together and continue to advocate for children of all backgrounds, races, genders and sexual orientations so they know they are loved, valued and that we will stop at nothing to protect their rights.”
Per THR, other signatories include Mark Ruffalo, Billy Porter, Chelsea Handler, Constance Wu, John Leguizamo, Christie Brinkley, Busy Philipps, Andy Cohen, Sarah Paulson, Sharon Stone, Judd Apatow, Alyssa Milano, Zooey Deschanel, Patton Oswalt, Natasha Lyonne, Margaret Cho, Ava Max, Ron Perlman, Bill Nye, poet Amanda Gorman, and authors Margaret Atwood and Judy Blume.
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