Simon & Schuster has pulled out of distributing an upcoming book by a Louisville Metro police officer who fired shots during the raid that killed Breonna Taylor in her apartment in March 2020.
The publisher issued a statement on Thursday night addressing Tennessee-based Post Hill Press' plans for a book from Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly titled The Fight For Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy.
"Like much of the American public, earlier today Simon & Schuster learned of plans by distribution client Post Hill Press to publish a book by Jonathan Mattingly. We have subsequently decided not to be involved in the distribution of the book," the publisher said in a statement on Twitter.
Book Deal Sparks Backlash
The company's decision came after news of Mattingly's book, which was slated to hit shelves by the fall, sparked backlash and calls for boycott of the publisher on social media on Thursday.
2 Dope Queens star Phoebe Robinson took to Instagram to criticize the publisher for contradicting their "Black Lives Matter: and "Black Stories Matter" statements shared on their social media accounts last year. "Dear @simonandschuster, Fix this mess you've made. It's embarrassing and revolting," Robinson captioned photos of the publisher's posts.
Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that, "People love to profit off of Black pain and tragedy. It sells."
"This deal is NOT OKAY. As an S&S author, I'm calling on the powers that be at @simonschuster to end your distribution agreement with Post Hill Press, the publisher of the Jonathan Mattingly book. Anyone profiting off of this deal is just wrong," tweeted S&S author Kit Frick.
The Breonna Taylor Shooting
Taylor, a 26-year-old black EMT and aspiring nurse was fatally shot by Mattingly and other officers on March 13, 2020, in Louisville, Kentucky, while executing a no-knock search warrant. Taylor was inside the apartment with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, when the officers forced their way in as part of an investigation into drug dealing operations shortly after midnight.
Police believed Taylor's former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was involved in a drug ring and had used her apartment to hide narcotics. Officers claimed they announced themselves before barging into the house but Walker said he did not hear the announcement, mistook the officers for intruders, and fired a warning shot.
According to officials, the bullet hit Mattingly in the leg, and the officers responded with gunfire, firing a total of 32 shots. Walker was unhurt but Taylor was killed after being hit with six bullets. Her death has been the impetus for protests and demonstrations across the country, with activists, celebrities and elected leaders demanding justice for her death. Two of the other officers who fired their guns during the raid have since been dismissed, although Mattingly continues to serve on the department.
This is not the first time Simon & Schuster has withdrawn from publishing a book in the wake of public outcry. Earlier this year, the publisher announced that they would cancel the June publication of Senator Josh Hawley's The Tyranny of Big Tech after the former attorney general of Missouri and Republican senator was accused of helping incite the mob of Trump supporters that violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.