Fox News host Jedediah Bila on Friday morning shot down the notion that a publishing company canceling Republican Sen. Josh Hawley’s book contract was “Orwellian,” pointing out it would actually be Orwellian to force the private company to publish his book.
Following Wednesday’s violent pro-Trump riot, Simon & Schuster announced that it was no longer going to publish Hawley’s upcoming book, titled The Tyranny of Big Tech, citing the senator’s role in inciting the MAGA mob. (The Missouri senator led the Senate charge to object to Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s election win and was pictured pumping his fist at the “Stop the Steal” crowd—which eventually turned violent—as he entered the Capitol on Wednesday.)
Hawley, meanwhile, reacted to the cancellation by portraying himself a victim of the “woke mob” and “cancel culture,” adding that it “could not be more Orwellian.” It was a “direct assault on the First Amendment,” he claimed. The senator also hinted that he would sue the publishing giant, concluding his statement with “we’ll see you in court.”
During Friday’s broadcast of Fox & Friends, the show’s weekday and weekend hosts all gathered for a six-person panel discussion on the book cancellation.
And while the majority of the panel were, of course, sympathetic to Hawley, Bila pointed out that his claims couldn’t be further from the truth. “First of all, the First Amendment involves the government prohibiting speech,” she noted. “This is not a First Amendment issue. This is a private company.”
Adding that Simon & Schuster “can decide at any point” if they want to publish a book or not, Bila asserted that they are “well within their rights” to cancel a contract over actions or comments they find outrageous or inflammatory.
“I know that the impulse is to say this is Orwellian but for me, it’s actually the opposite,” she declared. “It’s Orwellian to think that anyone would be able to tell a private company that they need to publish your book or it’s a First Amendment violation.”
“So I think he has this wrong,” Bila continued. “I’m taking a side of what I believe was atrocious behavior on his part with regard to the election. This isn’t about your opinion, my opinion, or anyone’s opinion. This is about protecting the rights of these private companies to make these decisions book to book because the last thing you want is for them to not be able to make these decisions.”
The Fox News host added: “And to cite as First Amendment violations, that’s utterly ridiculous. His statement to me made absolutely no sense.”
Her Fox & Friends Weekend co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Will Cain, however, applauded Hawley’s remarks and agreed wholeheartedly, with Hegseth—who has openly defended the MAGA mob—claiming Simon & Schuster not publishing the senator’s book was “the textbook definition of Orwellian.”