Update: Seuss Enterprises told The Daily Wire that the legal threat is fake and that Seuss Enterprises never demanded the retraction.
“The purported legal notice is a fake. It did not come from Dr. Seuss Enterprises or anyone associated with the organization,” Seuss Enterprises told The Daily Wire.
Original Post: Seuss Enterprises, which holds the rights to the famous children’s author’s titles, threatened the satire site The Babylon Bee with a defamation lawsuit over the weekend.
The Bee’s CEO Seth Dillon posted a copy of the email from Seuss Enterprise’s legal department on Twitter on Sunday along with a rebuke of the literary estate. Dillon said the Bee would not pull the article in question, which satirized Seuss Enterprises for adopting progressive views of literature.
“The woke folks over at Seuss Enterprises … were apparently bored and looking for something dumb to do this weekend, so they threatened to sue us for defamation whether our content is ‘satire or not,’” Dillon tweeted along with a screenshot of the legal threat. The threat said “Your article, satire or not, is a copyright infringement and breaking multiple defamation laws. Remove this or we will proceed accordingly.”
The Bee article in question is titled “In New Dr. Seuss Book, Cat In The Hat Gives Kids Puberty Blockers While Their Mother Isn’t Home,” mocking the estate for its recent progressive turn. The article was published on March 5, days after the estate announced that it had banned six of Dr. Seuss’s books over claims that the works were offensive.
“Unfortunately for them, this piece was a work of satire, which is fair use,” Dillon continued, shooting down Seuss Enterprises’ demands for a retraction. “We will not be taking it down the way they took down several of their own, perfectly harmless titles to score worthless virtue points with insatiable leftists.”
Unfortunately for them, this piece was a work of satire, which is fair use. We will not be taking it down the way they took down several of their own, perfectly harmless titles to score worthless virtue points with insatiable leftists. https://t.co/6jBxnAQuqX
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) April 18, 2021
Seuss Enterprises stopped production of six titles: “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”
“Today, on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises celebrates reading and also our mission of supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship. We are committed to action,” the estate said in a March 2 statement.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the statement continued. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
Over a week prior to the announcement, the left-wing education group Learning for Justice called on schools to stop reading Dr. Seuss to children over the children’s author’s “racial undertones.” As The Daily Wire reported:
In a magazine article titled, “It’s Time to Talk About Dr. Seuss,” Learning for Justice cites a study from St. Catherine University that claims Dr. Seuss’s children’s literature is rife with “orientalism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy.”
The researchers surveyed 50 Dr. Seuss books and concluded that there is not enough diversity in the children’s books, many of which were written in the 1950s.
“Of the 2,240 (identified) human characters, there are 45 of color representing two percent of the total number of human characters,” the study reads. Of the 45 characters of color, 43 “exhibited behaviors and appearances that align with harmful and stereotypical Orientalist tropes.”