Former Bethel Church worship leader Sean Feucht is no shrinking violet when it comes to expressing his political views. In 2020, Feucht ran for congress as a Republican in California, and when he didn’t win, he founded the “Let Us Worship” movement — a series of concerts in more than 130 cities across the country to protest the government’s COVID-19 lockdowns.
He’s hosted President Donald Trump at his events, which draw tens of thousands, and publicly prayed over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He’s even been known to go toe-to-toe with other Christian luminaries, firing back at Trump critic Beth Moore when she equated following Jesus with wearing a mask and getting vaccinated. “I believe Jesus stepped INTO people’s sickness, fear & heartache bringing healing & hope. That’s truly loving your neighbor. Not hiding in fear & self-preservation,” he replied to her.
But an outspoken platform like Feucht’s is usually a feature not a bug in the non-fiction publishing world that relies on name recognition and big personalities to make sales. And publisher Harper Collins was happy to draw on those qualities when it offered him a deal for a motivational book tentatively titled, “Fear Not,” that would offer advice on how to live with boldness and courage in an age of fear. Until, that is, two woke, low-level staffers in the marketing department went to his editor in tears, saying they would find it traumatic to work on such a conservative figure’s campaign, according to Feucht.
The editor called Feucht to tell him Harper Collins was backing out of the deal. “He told me the two women in marketing said, ‘We’re not going to market this book,’ you know, because of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, it would be too upsetting,” Feucht tells The Daily Wire. “And I don’t know if they threatened to quit, but they basically just were whining and complaining.” In end, Feucht says, the editor told him they couldn’t do his book because it wouldn’t have a marketing team behind it. He hung up from the conversation astonished.
A Harper Collins spokesman told The Daily Wire they had no agreement with Feucht, but he shared a copy of their offer letter on Twitter in which a company editor outlines every pertinent deal for the book’s production. Feucht claims he and the company had a signed Deal Memo, telling the Christian Post, “The book had gone to auction, and there were six different offers. I accepted the offer from Harper Collins. The signed Deal Memo includes an agreement on terms such as the advance, royalties, discount rates, subsidiary rights, and book buybacks. Just within the last several days, we were working with them on the title, book cover and manuscript development.”
Feucht wonders why it had to happen at all — why couldn’t the young women in marketing just do the jobs they’re paid to do? Harper Collins is the second largest editor in the world, he reflects, and it’s key business decisions appear to hinge on the emotional stability of young women with only a few years of professional experience. Baffled, he asked the editor, “Doesn’t the marketing team work for you?”
It’s a pattern that’s been playing in major industries in the last few years and Feucht can’t help but wonder how strategic it is. “I mean, they’re letting like woke Gen Z staffers infiltrate the system and cancel whoever they want, right? That is outrageous,” he says. “I have employees who work for me and they don’t agree with everything that I do, ever deal I make. But it’s not up to them. They work for me.”
Since his book cancellation, other Harper Collins employees have quietly reached out to him to offer the cold comfort of revealing that he’s not alone and that woke staff have changed the company’s internal culture so that often pursuing a book from a conservative author isn’t worth an editor’s headache. But, Feucht points out, the fear of political voices only goes one way. “I mean they have some authors that are like way on the left, like super fringe. Why are they okay? I don’t really know. I mean, it leaves a lot to question.”
Feucht says he plans to look for another publisher, and do what he’s counseled so many other people who’ve faced cancel culture to do — press on and look for opportunities to create new systems that don’t suppress speech.
“Eventually this kind of thing will destroy the traditional route [in publishing],” he says, and it will create opportunities for those bold enough to seize them.
“Cancel culture has created a whole shift in the industry,” he explains. And he has experience circumventing systems. He’s been through this before.
“Our digital distributor tried to cancel us on an album,” he reveals. “It backfired. The album was released. It was about a year ago and it went number one on iTunes over every genre in the entire world, which is like impossible to do for a Christian worship album.”
He’s not happy about Harper Collins’ decision, but he believes in the long run it will end up backfiring on them because (and polls back Feucht up) the general public despises cancel culture, and it is almost always destructive to a company’s brand. “I think this speech suppression is just creating new creative avenues for people to get their message out, without having to without having to go through kind of archaic, avenues,” he says.
In fact, in an ironic way, Harper Collins’s decision to cancel him has provided Feucht the best marketing opportunity he could ask for – a chance to show the world how to live out the principles he preaches. “They’re kind of helping me right now,” he laughs. “They want us to sit down, do what we’re told, and go away. But that’s not the message of this book. I can’t. It’s a message of boldness and courage to get out there despite the obstacles. So we’re not going to stop talking about it and sharing about it.”
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