RuPaul’s Online Bookstore Is Selling "Mein Kampf"

RuPaul has a new book-selling venture — and lots of its titles for sale are extremely problematic.

Called "Allstora," the subscription-based site was founded by the drag legend, whose full name is RuPaul Andre Charles, and activists-turned-entrepreneurs Eric Cervini and Adam Powell. The site, as the New York Times explains, is a massive expansion of Cervini and Powell's other book-selling project called "ShopQueer," which curated titles by LGBTQ authors and sought to give them a bigger cut of the profits.

Whereas ShopQueer had about 3,000 hand-picked books to its name, Allstora per its FAQ has expanded its catalog to ten million in efforts to appeal "to all audiences through a diversified set of genres and authors."

For some reason, that attempt at casting a wide net also includes books that "Drag Race" fans might "disagree with," as an opening disclaimer notes on the site. That's something of an understatement, given that the site sells, among others, multiple unadorned and de-contextualized versions of Adolf Hitler's genocidal "Mein Kampf" manifesto, the historic anti-Semitism tome "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a significant number of books written by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and all manner of other bigoted works.

In a sense, purveying such controversial wares appears to be a selling point for Allstora.

In its FAQ, the site claims that it is "determined to mitigate the potential harm of specific books" by "creating a community-led flagging system for titles that are contrary to our core values" and "donating all proceeds from these titles" through the Rainbow Book Bus, RuPaul's other book-selling project that sees him traveling across the country in a rainbow bus that's launched, coincidentally, while he's on book tour for his own memoir.

"At Allstora, we believe that the censorship of any book, perspective, or story is incompatible with the survival of democracy," the FAQ reads. "We cannot fight the ideologies of hate if we lack the ability to study, understand, and react to them."

That mission, of course, is a nonprofit industrial complex-tinged take on the age-old centrist aphorism: let people have access to everything out there, and let them decide for themselves how they think and feel about it.

When we say everything, however, we do mean everything. Along with Mein Kampf and the Protocols, Futurism's search through Allstora's large catalog revealed that it's selling copies of the "Anarchist Cookbook," which has been viewed by law enforcement as evidence of contraband because it teaches people how to make bombs, at least three versions of the race war fantasy novel "The Turner Diaries," a children's book by transphobic far-right influencer Chaya Raichik, the book that inspired the Ku Klux Klan propaganda film "Birth of a Nation," a book titled "A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality," and the major works of Islamophobic author Robert Spencer.

Curiously enough, while there are tons of really disgusting books for sale on Allstora — most of which, we should note, have not been flagged as "contrary to [its] core values" and therefore will be making RuPaul and his business partners money if sold — there were a few examples of books that are curiously absent from its wide-ranging catalog.

For instance, when searching for 2020's anti-trans bestseller "Irreversible Damage," one only gets a bunch of dieting manuals, and searching the name of its author, the right-wing columnist Abigail Shrier, only turns up another book by her that criticizes the pediatric therapy industry.

The same goes for David Duke, the former grand wizard of the KKK who has written a handful of books espousing his white supremacist views that are conspicuously absent from the site that seems to otherwise lack curation of such material.

We've reached out to Allstora to ask if there's some sort of title takedown process going on behind the scenes that results in this seemingly selective catalog. But from where we stand, it seems much like other attempts to remove harmful content from massive marketplaces — when one is taken down, more will pop up in its place.

Free speech absolutism, as the argument is often called, tends to be difficult in practice, as Elon Musk can attest. Now, RuPaul is learning that lesson the hard way.

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