Jordan Peterson, right, and right-wing YouTube personality Dave Rubin, left, in Australia during Peterson’s book tour. Photo via Facebook.
A national bookstore in New Zealand has pulled the self-help book written by controversial Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, following the Christchurch mosque massacres.This week, Whitcoulls, a chain that has 56 stores across New Zealand, pulled “12 Rules for Life” from its shelves, tying their decision directly to the Christchurch shootings, in which 50 Muslims killed and another 50 were injured by a white supremacist. Whitecoulls has not given an official reason for pulling the bestseller but offered some clues in an email sent to customers.
"Unfortunately 12 Rules for Life is currently unavailable, which is a decision that Whitcoulls has made in light of some extremely disturbing material being circulated prior, during and after the Christchurch attacks,” the email states. “As a business which takes our responsibilities to our communities very seriously, we believe it would be wrong to support the author at this time."
As some have pointed out, this “disturbing material” alluded to in the bookstore’s email, may not be regarding the content of the self-help book, but a photo of Peterson posing with a fan in New Zealand in February. The fan, an older man whom Peterson has his arm round, is wearing an “I’m a Proud Islamophobe” shirt. The photo, taken in Auckland on February 21 during his book tour, is one of many taken that day. The photo was previously available online by OMG VIP, but has since been removed.Peterson, a polarizing figure, came to prominence in 2015 and has since been lionized by some as a free speech martyr, and a slayer of social justice warriors by far-right adherents. Neither the psychologist’s name, nor his work, was mentioned in the Christchurch shooter’s lengthy manifesto.
This hasn’t been the best week for the 56-year-old, as Cambridge University withdrew a fellowship it had previously offered him at the university's Faculty of Divinity—Cambridge said they revoked the fellowship after reviewing Peterson’s work, but did not provide further informationPeople have been calling out Whitcoulls for hypocrisy as the company continues to sell books like Mein Kampf and Islamophobic books. Peterson has not yet issued a comment in regards to his book being pulled in New Zealand, though he fired back at Cambridge, saying he didn’t need the gig as “I have more opportunities at the moment than I can keep track of.”Sign up for the VICE Canada Newsletter to get the best of VICE Canada delivered to your inbox.Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.