When Lawrence Wright’s acclaimed Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief was published in 2013, it debuted at number three on the New York Times harcover non-fiction bestseller list. Its publisher hasn’t sold a single copy in Canada.
That’s because Random House chose not to distribute the book here. It was generally assumed that this was out of fear of a libel lawsuit from the notoriously litigious Church of Scientology. Canada and the United Kingdom, where the book was also witheld from stores, share rules that make it easier for plaintiffs to win libel suits. Fear to speak up as a result of potential lawsuits is often called “libel chill.”
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