Book publisher Pan Macmillan Australia has dropped paleo chef/conspiracy theorist Pete Evans as an author after he posted a literal Nazi symbol on Facebook over the weekend.
The moves comes after countless Aussies made clear that someone who so brazenly shares hate symbols has no place in mainstream society.
“Pan Macmillan does not support the recent posts made by Pete Evans,” the publisher said in a statement.
“Pan Macmillan is currently finalising its contractual relationship with Pete Evans and as such will not be entering any further publishing agreements moving forward.
— Pan Macmillan Aus (@MacmillanAus) November 16, 2020
In case you missed it, Evans’ recent post showed a caterpillar with a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat drinking with a butterfly with a Black Sun on its wings.
The Black Sun or Sonnenrad dates back to Hitler’s reign in the 1930s but has more recently been revived by neo-Nazis, and was even scrawled onto the body armour of the white-supremacist behind the Christchurch mosque terrorist in 2019.
The cartoon doesn’t appear to be a denouncement of the alt-right to fascist pipeline, either. Evans himself frequently wears MAGA caps, although he did say Nazism is something he “definitely [does] not align with”.
Evans eventually gave a rambling defense in the comments, saying “it is fascinating that an image can represent to many different things to so many people” and calling it a pagan symbol.
On Monday, he formally apologised in the wake of the uproar.
“Sincere apologies to anyone who misinterpreted a previous post of a caterpillar and a butterfly having a chat over a drink and perceived that I was promoting hatred,” Evans wrote.
“I look forward to studying all of the symbols that have ever existed and research them thoroughly before posting.”
However, by adding the peace, love and rainbow emojis on the original post, Evans effectively laundered a hate symbol into the lexicon of the wellness and alternative medicine movements.
It’s this potential to spread fascist messages in the mainstream which many say is grounds to deplatform the man entirely, a process that began when he was booted from his role as a judge on My Kitchen Rules back in May.
On the retail front, thousands of Aussies have also signed a petition calling on shops like Target, Kmart, Big W, David Jones and Dymocks to get Evans’ books off their shelves.
“For months Pete Evans has been sharing COVID-19 conspiracy theories and pro-Donald Trump content,” the petition says.
“It’s well known that Evans has been drifting further to the extreme right, and this drift was epitomised on Sunday when he shared an image implying it was normal and natural for Trump supporters to evolve into neo-Nazis.”
Hey Australian Retailers
We need to talk about Pete Evans
Lets all take some action to make retailers aware of the insidious creep of Evans right up to Nazi ideation.
— ☮️💧 Sleeping Giants Oz 📣 (@slpng_giants_oz) November 16, 2020
Luckily for any retailers who might take note of the petition, Pan Macmillan Australia also announced that it would accept returns of any unsold stock of Evans’ books.
That’s the case for Dymocks, which announced on Twitter that it would no longer stock books by Evans.
“We are in the process of removing his books from our website and have advised our stores to return their stock as offered by the publisher,” the bookshop giant said in a tweet.
We are in the process of removing his books from our website and have advised our stores to return their stock as offered by the publisher. Thank you
— @dymocksbooks (@Dymocksbooks) November 16, 2020
As far as the petition’s concerned, as soon as shops stop stocking Evans’ books before the holiday season, the better.
“In the lead up to Christmas, there will be a rush of people buying gifts for friends and family,” the petition reads.
“We’ve all grabbed a cookbook from Kmart as a last minute gift for a hard to buy for family member. The community would expect that this simple act of rushed gift buying wouldn’t result in them funding a conspiracy theorist who posts neo-Nazi symbols.”