Steve Martin has shared a typically witty reaction to the news that a county in Florida is banning his book from its school libraries.
The comedian published the novella Shopgirl in 2000, which he adapted into the 2005 film of the same name starring himself and Claire Danes. Around 300 other books have also been banned by Collier County Public Schools Libraries.
In response to the news, Martin wrote on Instagram on Monday (November 6): “So proud to have my book Shopgirl banned in Collier County, Florida! Now people who want to read it will have to buy a copy!”
Shopgirl tells the story of Mirabelle, a young Neiman Marcus employee who begins dating Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman over twice her age, and has to contend with the differences in expectations they have for their relationship.
The book was removed “effective immediately” following notorious Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signing House Bill 1069, which prohibits content containing “sexual conduct” from appearing in schools.
This extends to material featuring “actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse; actual or simulated lewd exhibition of the genitals; actual physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if such person is a female, breast with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either party; or any act or conduct which constitutes sexual battery or simulates that sexual battery is being or will be committed. A mother’s breastfeeding of her baby does not under any circumstance constitute ‘sexual conduct’”.
Selected titles by the likes of Stephen King, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker and Ernest Hemingway have also been banned by the Florida district.
Book bans in several states across the US have become more commonplace in recent years, thanks to Republican lawmakers, religious groups, politically motivated school boards and right-wing activists.
In a recent study by non-profit group PEN America, Florida was found to be the state that had banned the most books from school and library bookshelves.
In other news, Martin was recently described by Miriam Margoyles as “horrid” and “unlovely” to her on the set of 1986 film Little Shop Of Horrors.