Over 150 celebrities sign open letter condemning LGBTQ+ book bans

Ariana Grande, Billy Porter, Natasha Lyonne, Roxane Gay and Sarah Paulson are among those to have their signatures included in the open letter condemning book bans in the US.

Split screen of 3 celebrities who signed an open letter condemning book bans. On the left is Billy Porter, the middle Sarah Paulson and the right Ariana Grande.
Image: (Left to Right) @theebillyporter via Instagram / @sarahpaulsbean via X / @arianagrande via Instagram

Upwards of 150 celebrities have signed an open letter condemning book bans in the United States. Spearheaded by Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton, the virtual document was published on Tuesday, September 19, via public advocacy organisation MoveOn Political Action.

The letter contains the signatures of various artists, creators, entertainers and activists, including Ariana Grande, Billy Porter, Emma Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Natasha Lyonne, Roxane Gay and Sarah Paulson. Together, they describe feeling “horrified by the threat of censorship in the form of book bans” and call for an end to “this oppressive attack on artistic freedom”.

“This restrictive behavior is not just antithetical to free speech and expression but has a chilling effect on the broader creative field. The government cannot and should not create any interference or dictate what people can produce, write, generate, read, listen to, or consume,” the letter reads.

“We cannot stress enough how these censorious efforts will not end with book bans. It’s only a matter of time before regressive, suppressive ideologues will shift their focus toward other forms of art and entertainment, to further their attacks and efforts to scapegoat marginalized communities, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks. 

“We refuse to remain silent as one creative field is subjected to oppressive bans. As artists, we must band together, because a threat to one form of art is a threat to us all,” it continues.


In the letter, the celebrities encourage everyone to join them in “pushing back against these book bans, support free and open creative industries…and use their voice at the local level to stop these bans in their school districts”.

“There is power in artistic freedom, and we refuse to allow draconian politicians to take that from us,” they conclude.

The move comes in response to an escalation of book bans in the US in recent years, with the American Library Association reporting that efforts to restrict certain titles from public schools and libraries reached an all-time high in 2022. The majority of complaints targeted publications featuring LGBTQ+ themes, as well as those containing stories about the nation’s history of slavery.

Far-right politicians, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have been advocating for the bans, and the movement has been exported to other countries such as Ireland, where there has been a spike in anti-LGBTQ+ library protests.

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