Whitcoulls — the country’s largest bookseller — pulled the self-help book in the wake of the massacre, according to New Zealand media reports, and it no longer appears for the store online, which lists other books by the University of Toronto psychology professor.
“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 to, during, and after the Christchurch attacks,” Whitcoulls said in an email published by the New Zealand Herald.
“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. Apologies that we’re not able to sell it to you, but we appreciate your understanding.”
Whitcoulls did not immediately respond to requests for comment on why the book was pulled.
Peterson first courted controversy for refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns while teaching at the University of Toronto. He has gone on to international fame with sold-out lectures, bestselling books, and has been called “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.”
Peterson has also become a celebrated figure of the right-wing and has sparked controversy for claiming that feminists have “an unconscious wish for brutal male domination” and told The New York Times that Alek Minassian — charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder in relation to the Toronto van attack — was “angry at God because women were rejecting him,” and the “cure for that is enforced monogamy.”
While Whitcoulls has not revealed what Peterson or his book have to with the Christchurch shooting, many have speculated on social media the connection is related to a photo that appeared of Peterson embracing a fan wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “I’m a proud Islamaphobe” at an event in Auckland on Feb. 18, 2019. He recently completed a speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand.
Peterson is currently out of the country and did not respond to an interview request from Global News.
Many online were quick to point out that Whitcoulls sells copies of Mein Kampf, but have pulled Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
The alleged gunman, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, released a rambling 74-page manifesto before the attacks that contained his political ideology and motivations for the attack but did not reference Peterson or his work.
Earlier this week, England’s Cambridge University withdrew a fellowship offer to Peterson, following a review of his work, the University said in a press release.
Peterson had requested a two-month fellowship at the university’s Faculty of Divinity in October, but the school opted to rescind the opportunity
He blamed the school’s decision on pressure from student groups.
“I think the Faculty of Divinity made a serious error of judgement in rescinding their offer to me,” Peterson wrote in a blog post. “I think they handled publicizing the rescindment in a manner that could hardly have been more narcissistic, self-congratulatory and devious.”
Cambridge spokeswoman Tamsin Starr told the Canadian Press that the school emailed the professor prior to sending out a tweet announcing the withdrawal of the offer and that the decision was made as a result of an academic review.
“It was rescinded after a further review,” Starr said, denying it was due to pressure from students.
—With a file from the Canadian Press