SEATTLE (AP) — A small Vermont publishing house is suing Senator Elizabeth Warren for reprimanding Amazon over selling a book promoting misinformation about COVID-19 amounts to censorship.
The company, Chelsea Green, published a book called “The Truth About COVID-19” which accuses the “global elite” of using the pandemic to seize “unprecedented power.”
It also promotes unproven and potentially dangerous treatments for the coronavirus while falsely implying that government-approved COVID-19 vaccines have not been properly tested.
In a September letter, the Massachusetts Democrat accused Seattle-based Amazon of spreading misinformation. Warren also issued a press release suggesting the company’s actions were “unethical, unacceptable and potentially illegal.”
Chelsea Green, along with the authors of the book, sued Warren in a US court in Seattle this week. Amazon was not named in the lawsuit, but the plaintiffs’ attorney wrote that the case was filed in Seattle because Warren sent the letter to Amazon.
The lawsuit says the book contains factual information and reasonable opinions protected by the First Amendment, and that Warren’s “covert threats” that Amazon could face legal consequences if it doesn’t stop selling the book amounted to illegal government censorship.
The book is by Dr. Joseph Mercola, a Florida osteopath with a long history of selling unapproved health products, and Ronnie Cummins, an activist against genetically modified foods. It includes a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a longtime vaccine skeptic.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned Mercola to stop offering vitamin D and other products as “safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19”.
Warren’s office did not immediately return an email on Tuesday requesting comment. Amazon did not respond to a question about whether it had responded to Warren’s letter.
According to the lawsuit, Amazon notified Chelsea Green on Oct. 1 that it refused to accept ads promoting the book.
The book was still listed on Amazon’s website on Tuesday as a bestseller in the “political freedom” category.
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