Vermont publisher Chelsea Green has filed a federal civil lawsuit claiming that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) stifled free speech when she called on Amazon to curb the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and cited one of Chelsea Green's books as a source of "dangerous conspiracies."
The other plaintiffs are Florida osteopath Joseph Mercola and Organic Consumers Association founder Ronnie Cummins, who coauthored The Truth About COVID-19: Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal, published in April by Chelsea Green. Robert Kennedy Jr., a prominent anti-vaccine activist who wrote the book's foreword, is also a plaintiff.
Warren wrote to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on September 7 to express her concerns that the online retailer was "peddling misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments." She exhorted Amazon to review its search algorithms and take steps to reduce the visibility of books like The Truth About COVID-19, which still appears as one of the top results in an Amazon search using the term "COVID-19."
The suit acknowledges that the plaintiffs have no proof that Warren's letter prompted Amazon to limit the visibility of The Truth About Covid-19, currently the No. 1 bestseller in the site's Propaganda and Political Psychology category, but says the plaintiffs believe that "Amazon is in fact covertly taking such action."
Warren couldn't be reached for comment on Monday afternoon. Chelsea Green cofounder and publisher Margo Baldwin, who has publicly endorsed the contents of the book, told Seven Days the goal of the suit is to "defend our First Amendment Rights."
"The government needs to back off from trying to censor speech and ban books," she wrote in an email.
Baldwin and her fellow plaintiffs are asking the court to declare Warren's actions unconstitutional and order a retraction of Warren's letter to Amazon. They also seek unspecified damages.
The full lawsuit, filed in Washington State, is here: