Saturday 9 March 2024

‘All-Inclusive’ Bookstore Co-Founded By RuPaul Yanks Conservative Titles Following Backlash

 An online bookstore that advertised itself as being committed to sharing ideas, even those which are deemed controversial, has removed titles from conservative authors amid backlash.

Television host and activist RuPaul is a co-founder of the “all-inclusive” online bookstore Allstora, according to National Review. He started the online store with LGBTQ advocate and author Eric Cervini and drag performer Adam Powell.

The site advertised that they would carry titles from authors of all points of view, and books for sale on the site initially ranged from Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” to the graphic, controversial coming-of-age book “Gender Queer.”

“We’re a marketplace for all books and all stories, with a focus on elevating marginalized voices,” the site originally touted, according to NR. “You may find books you disagree with,” a pop up ad warned, while the FAQ page said, “Allstora has made the decision to carry all books” and “censorship of any book, perspective, or story is incompatible with the survival of democracy.”

“Banning books is never the answer,” the site’s messaging, which has since been deleted, said, according to The Mary Sue. “We cannot fight the ideologies of hate if we lack the ability to study, understand, and react to them. We do that by reading books.”

However, left-wing activists were outraged that Allstora offered titles by Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Matt Walsh, Riley Gaines, and Libs of TikTok founder Chaya Raichik, among others. At first, the website’s founders attempted to diffuse tension by promising to create “a community-led flagging system for titles that are contrary to our core values” and subsequently “donating all proceeds from these titles to fight book bans,” National Review noted.

But that wasn’t enough. After three days of critics railing against Allstora for selling “homophobic,” “transphobic,” “anti-woke,” and “Nazi” books, the founders relented and removed all free speech messaging from the page, according to National Review. Many works by conservative authors were removed from the page, while some other titles remained available.

The drama comes on the heels of RuPaul announcing a “Rainbow Book Bus” that seeks to distribute “diverse books to communities facing book bans and censorship, especially in LGBTQ+ communities.” The bus will embark on a cross country tour later this year, the “Drag Race” host told People during an interview this month.


“I started reading books at a very early age, and they were a lifeline to the rest of the world for me,” RuPaul told the outlet. “I loved the idea of knowledge is power, and knowledge is a way to transport yourself to wherever you wanna be.”

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