Ariana Grande, Guillermo del Toro, Phoebe Bridgers and Gabrielle Union are among nearly 200 entertainers who have signed an open letter calling on creatives in Hollywood and beyond to use their platform to challenge book bans, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Idina Menzel, Ava Max, Natasha Lyonne, Judd Apatow, Zooey Deschanel, Mark Ruffalo, Padma Lakshmi, Billy Porter, Roxane Gay, Sandra Cisneros, Amanda Gorman, Margaret Cho, Sharon Stone and Ron Perlman are also among the list of signees on the letter launched by Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton published on advocacy organization MoveOn Political Action’s website.
The letter reads that the “restrictive behavior” of banning certain books in U.S. school districts “is not just antithetical to free speech and expression but has a chilling effect on the broader creative field. The government cannot and should not create any interference or dictate what people can produce, write, generate, read, listen to or consume.”
Book bans have become a hot political topic in recent years as various state and local governments seek to censor books that deal with marginalized identities and histories. “We cannot stress enough how these censorious efforts will not end with book bans,” the letter continues. “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.”
“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,” the message concludes.
See the full open letter, which you can also sign, here.