- Amazon has removed a bunch of conversion therapy books from its site.
- The books were flagged to Amazon three months ago by activist Rojo Alan, who himself experienced so-called “gay conversion therapy” as a child.
- They were written Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a proponent of conversion therapy ideas, which have been widely debunked and criticized for their harmful effect on the LGBTQ community.
- Alan told Business Insider he was “overjoyed” to see the books had been removed.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Amazon has taken down a crop of gay conversion books after sustained pressure from activists.
The books were written by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a vocal proponent of so-called gay conversion therapy, who died in 2017. The practice of gay conversion therapy purports that people can be “cured” of being homosexual. It has been widely debunked and criticized for its harmful effect on the LGBTQ community.
One activist, in particular, was a driving force behind the removal of Nicolosi’s books, which was first reported by Gay Star News. UK-based Rojo Alan became aware of Nicolosi’s works after a local church planned to screen a film promoting conversion therapy, although the screening was later cancelled due to protests.
“I was shocked that this was actually happening in my town, so I started Googling about it. Which led me to Jospeh Nicolosi’s website and then to his books that were [on] sale on Amazon and [online bookseller] Wordery,” Alan told Business Insider via direct message.
Alan added he experienced conversion therapy as a child, which spurred him on to get the books removed. He was particularly concerned by “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality,” which was published in 2002 and Nicolosi says teaches parents how to “react to a male child or teenager who rejects his own gender and adopts a highly feminized style of activity and interest.”
Alan contacted both companies, and Wordery removed the titles within 24 hours. Getting the books taken off Amazon proved to be more of a challenge.
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“Every time I had called them or spoke to them over their webchat, I felt like I was getting nowhere. I was always told the same thing ‘I will take down your information and pass it along to the relevant team.’ When I asked them whom they were passing it along to, or if I could speak to this team, I would always be refused,” said Alan.
“I was told that it would take about a week for the books to be removed if this team thought they should be. So it was frustrating. Having to look up these books all the time and not know why they were allowed to be there.”
Alan encouraged Reddit and Twitter users to leave negative reviews for the books, causing their star ratings to drop from fours stars to two. A petition formed on Change.org calling for the books to be taken down, which at time of writing has accrued over 82,000 signatures.
Alan said the books vanished from Amazon’s site on Tuesday, six days after his last contact with Amazon and three months after he initially reported them. Alan told Business Insider he felt “overjoyed, shocked and more than anything, grateful” to see the books had been taken down. “I wasn’t expecting them to actually remove the books — but as soon as I saw they did, I’ve been over the moon really,” he said.
Amazon declined to comment specifically on the case when contacted by Business Insider, and Alan said the company hasn’t contacted him since the books were removed. A spokesman confirmed Amazon had removed several titles and pointed to the company’s content guidelines for books.
“As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable. That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain content, such as pornography or other inappropriate content,” Amazon’s guidelines read.
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