Restore Dennis Cooper’s Blog and Email

Restore Dennis Cooper’s Blog and Email

July 16, 2016
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This petition made change with 4,488 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Mark Doten

On June 27th, 2016, the blog and personal Gmail account of writer and artist Dennis Cooper were deleted by Google for reasons that the company has failed to disclose, beyond a generic reference to a terms of service violation.

This apparent act of censorship has met with widespread disbelief and outrage, and has been covered by Roxane Gay in The New York Times, by The New YorkerPEN America, The Guardian, ArtNet, and  and other publications around the world.

For those unfamiliar with Dennis’s blog, for over a decade it was a central Internet gathering place for fans of underground, subversive, queer, and experimental art and writing. It was a place of community and mutual support for an array of readers, writers, and artists, queer and straight, young and old. 

In addition to Dennis’s writing, and his curation of posts highlighting thousands of remarkable artists and writers, the blog hosted guest-posts from hundreds of others writers. It was a place of exchange, conversation, and deep collaboration. Not only was the blog an ongoing work of art, it was a community, a home. For many it represented the best of the Internet, a continuation of some of the earliest and most utopian notions of what the Internet might be: a non-commercial space of intellectual, personal, and artistic exchange, a community in which there was no bar to membership—to join was as simple as leaving a comment.

The blog was not for everyone. It carried a content warning, and at times it explored dark, discomforting material, involving violence, sexuality, and death. But exploring those issues is an important function of art, one which Dennis Cooper has devoted his creative life to, and for which he has been praised in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and countless other publications. Salon has called him “the most important transgressive literary artist since Burroughs.” He has won the Ferro-Grumley Award for gay literature and the Lambda award for best book of gay fiction.

Google is a private company and it has the right to decide what content it hosts. But this is a chilling act. Dennis deserves better from Google, as does the community that has sprung up around the blog.

We, the undersigned, ask Google for the following:

  •  To immediately return to Dennis Cooper control of his Gmail account.
  • To restore Dennis Cooper's blog.
  • If Google refuses to restore the blog, then to provide Dennis with a full backup of the last decade of posts and comments.
  • And finally, to provide an explanation for what would seem to be an arbitrary act, one which has a chilling effect not only on those posting controversial or transgressive material, but on all who use Gmail and Blogger.

Photo: Mathieu Bourgois/Writer PIctures


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