Who knows what author Philip R. Greaves II was thinking when he wrote “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct.” Whatever it was, he probably didn’t consider that when the book went up on Amazon, social media complaints would force the book retailer to yank it back off the shelves. From Reuters:
Amazon has pulled an electronic book about pedophilia from its online store after complaints and a boycott threat, according to media reports on Thursday. The book, “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct,” by Philip R. Greaves II, went on sale on October 28 and cost $4.79 to download, the reports said.
Amazon initially defended the book’s publication in a statement but later withdrew it from its online store after a campaign against it spread on Twitter, Facebook and other media. Some people said they planned to boycott the store in protest, the reports said.
Al Jazeera explains the author’s intent in publishing the book:
Phillip R Greaves, listed as the author of the book , writes that paedophiles are misunderstood, as the word literally means to love a child. He argues that it is only a crime to act on sexual impulses toward children, and offers advice that purportedly allows paedophiles to abide by the law.
“This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow,” the author writes. “I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will results in less hatred and perhaps liter [sic] sentences should they ever be caught.”
Amazon defended the presence of the book, selling for $4.75, on the grounds of free speech. “It is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable,” the US company wrote in a statement. “Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions”.
But later on Thursday the company appeared to bow to pressure and pulled the page from its website.
The interesting thing here is that Amazon tried to defend its listing of the book with free speech and company policy reasons, but social media–the crowds–had the final word. Amazon’s opinion was rendered irrelevant by the threat of a social media fire. This just goes to show that more than ever, companies are beholden to the opinions of the crowds, even to the point of subduing their own internal policy.