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Nearly 175 Celebs & Notable Figures Sign “Artists Against Book Bans” Statement Organized by LeVar Burton & MoveOn

Judy Blume, Ariana Grande, Roxane Gay, Chelsea Handler, Jodi Picoult, Judd Apatow, Guillermo del Toro, Idina Menzel, Gabrielle Union, Padma Lakshmi, Ron Perlman, Zooey Deschanel, Sharon Stone, Cara Mentzel & More Join Rallying Cry Against Censorship and MAGA Extremism

MoveOn also announces next Banned Bookmobile tour for October’s National Banned Books Month

Washington, D.C. – As reported in The Hollywood Reporter, MoveOn Political Action and LeVar Burton announced today that nearly 175 authors, actors, musicians, directors, songwriters and other notable influencers signed a statement denouncing the rising wave of book bans across the country. As the start of the school year begins and through National Banned Books Month in October, Burton and MoveOn are collaborating on a campaign with creative leaders to bring heightened awareness to this dangerous form of censorship and exclusion. Republicans banned a record number of books in the last school year, despite backlash and public opinion research showing that the majority of Americans are opposed to book bans. Members of the public are encouraged to add their name and contribute to the effort at www.ArtistsAgainstBookBans.com.

See the full letter and list of signatories at www.ArtistsAgainstBookBans.com. 

Said Burton, former host of the PBS series “Reading Rainbow” and executive producer of the 2023 documentary “The Right to Read,” “It’s embarrassing that we are banning books in this country, in this culture, in this day and age. And it’s dangerous that a handful of individuals are deciding that any book with Black and queer people is divisive. I’m proud to be surrounded by hundreds of artists and millions of MoveOn members who are solidly against this type of censorship. We are calling on everyone to join us in raising their voices to uphold artistic freedom, embrace multicultural history, and put a stop once and for all to book bans.” 

“There is a growing consensus among the majority of Americans that book bans take our country backward. Ron DeSantis and MAGA Republicans seek to censor all of our diverse backgrounds and to punish those who live, love, and think differently than they do,” said MoveOn Political Action Executive Director Rahna Epting. “We won’t surrender to their extremism. They cannot erase us. We are the majority, we are defiant, and we will prevail.” 

As Republicans continue to restrict access to books – or in the case of Missouri lawmakers – symbolically burn them, MoveOn will be headed on the road again distributing free banned books with its Banned Bookmobile in October. The tour will include events and author readings in states like Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina throughout National Banned Books month as part of its broader “Read Banned Books’’ initiative, as well as stops in conjunction with Crooked Media’s live Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It podcast show events.

Said Jodi Picoult, “There is nothing wrong with a parent deciding what her child should or should not read. There is a colossal problem with that parent deciding what other kids should or should not read. Book bans that start on school shelves are already morphing into content challenges at public libraries and bookstores and theaters—and if we don’t fight for our freedom to read now, it will be too late soon.” 

Said Gabrielle Union, “We cannot stand idly by as book bans spread hate and fear. Our differences must be celebrated, and our children deserve to have resources to explore the fullness of our world.”  

Said Sandra Cisneros, “Books are good medicine. And if this one isn’t your prescription, you just put it back on the shelf for someone who needs it. That’s why we have libraries, with so many prescriptions, so you take what you need. If this book is not for me, that doesn’t mean it needs to be off the shelf.”

Said Jazz Jennings, “As an author of two banned books and someone who has personal experiences as an LGBTQ+ advocate and transgender woman, it is so crucial for me to sign the Artists Against Book Bans open letter. By speaking out, I can defend freedom of expression, promote representation and inclusivity, support education and understanding, counter prejudice and discrimination, and empower young readers to embrace their identities and fight for their rights.” 

Said Padma Lakshmi, “We cannot shield our children from our history, as my generation was. Deciding what books are in school libraries is the job of librarians, not politicians who want to continue to whitewash the country. I fight against book bans because I want my daughter to know where she came from and know she’s capable of creating her own future.”

Said Belletrist co-founders Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss, “Thanks to the power of books, our friendship has only grown, and we’ve created a community of readers from all walks of life who are dedicated to building connections with each other and learning about different perspectives. Banning books takes away resources from kids who are trying to find themselves and discover the world. We all need to speak out to fight these bans, because politicians cannot be allowed to stifle our growth, creativity, or identities.” 

Said author duo Idina Menzel and Cara Mentzel, “It’s on all of us to support all kids against book bans. We must come together and continue to advocate for children of all backgrounds, races, genders, and sexual orientations so they know they are loved, valued, and that we will stop at nothing to protect their rights.”

Additional details for each of the Banned Bookmobile events, including locations and timing, will be sent out in the coming days. For more information or to RSVP, please contact press@moveon.org


MoveOn is a people-powered force for progress. MoveOn mobilizes the left to elect Democrats and enact progressive change. We are the homebase for millions of members who refuse to accept the status quo and are moved to take action. For more than a generation, MoveOn has been a bulwark against the radical right, channeling our voices to end wars, protect democracy, and advance justice for all.