RuPaul’s new online bookstore Allstore removes anti-trans and far-right books following controversy

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Mar 8, 2024 at 04:17 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

On Monday 4 March 2024, Emmy Award-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race host and iconic American drag performer RuPaul Andre Charles announced that he had co-founded Allstora, an online book marketplace and “revolutionary, all-inclusive world of book lovers.”

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Initially hailed for aiming to revolutionise the e-commerce landscape by ensuring fair compensation for authors and promising to double their income through profit sharing, Allstora was met with a lot of excitement.

The author-owned marketplace offers over 10 million titles, according to a press release, as well as significant book discounts, leading to its growing popularity among book lovers.

Yet the site has also become the subject of increasing scrutiny after one X, formerly Twitter, user uncovered that it was stocking books from authors known for their anti-LGBTQIA+ stances.

User Tyler The Fuchsian spotted a title by Chaya Raichik, a former real estate agent who operates various far-right and anti-LGBTQ+ social media accounts. His post quickly went viral and featured the responses of many other netizens who could not understand how a site owned by an LGBTQ+ icon could be stocking titles like these.

“Look at what RuPaul is selling!” one user exclaimed. “Is he ok?” another one questioned.

The controversial titles in the drag performer’s bookstore quickly lead to confusion and questions all over the internet.

Considering the latest wave of protests, complaints and harassment that was unleashed on the LGBTQIA+ community in the wake of Drag Queen readings hours with young children at libraries, it’s understandable why many assumed that a platform founded by one would provide a safe space and shelter, free of invasive voices.

Other books by anti-LGBTQ+ authors were also available at the time of the backlash. The site even included Adolf Hitler’s infamous book Mein Kampf and works by Bill O’Reilly, an American conservative commentator and author.

When The Advocate, an LGBTQ-focused media outlet, reached out to an Allstora spokesperson, it declined to comment but directed the publication to a new FAQ page on the company’s website.

Although the bookstore reversed its policy on “offensive” books and removed some content perceived as right-wing, including works by Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Matt Walsh, Riley Gaines, and Libs of TikTok founder Chaya Raichik, the website’s page explains that the company believes in the importance of understanding ideologies of hate to combat them effectively and likens its approach to that of university libraries and other online marketplaces by choosing to carry all books. Thus, it defended its selection with a philosophy of tolerance and promoting a deeper understanding between people of opposing views.

In the coming weeks, Allstora is planning to release RuPaul’s Book Club. It is a subscription service that will highlight RuPaul’s curated book selections and seeks to connect readers with diverse narratives and authors.

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