Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp defends Pence book deal: report
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Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp defended his company’s decision to publish a book by former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceOn The Money: Democrats wary of emerging bipartisan infrastructure deal, warn of time crunch Pence buys .9M home in Indiana Pence to visit Iowa to headline event for congressman MORE amid an internal debate over bringing the manuscript to the public. 

Karp recognized the debate at a town hall Thursday with staffers, underscoring the divide that is taking place between those advocating for free expression for all and critics saying Pence should not get a platform given his role during the Trump administration. 

“What’s going on right now is largely about a conflict that’s occurring between people who want—it’s basically progress and social justice within the company—and it’s in conflict the publisher’s rights to publish what they want to publish,” Karp said at the town hall, audio of which was obtained by The New Republic

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“Ethics are subjective. It’s really not our place as publishers to impose an ethical standard. We can impose a legal standard. But I don’t think we can impose an ethical standard,” he added. “In this case, the two opposing ideas are social justice and freedom of speech. And unfortunately for some of you we are choosing the freedom of expression and the right that publishers have to choose the books they want to publish.”

The remarks come as Simon & Schuster employees who are frustrated over Pence’s support for various Trump administration policies spearhead a petition against the book.

The publisher first announced it had signed a deal with Pence for two books. The first, his autobiography, is scheduled to be published in 2023.