(New York, NY) — PEN America decried today the continued chilling effect President Trump’s September executive order on race and sex stereotyping is having on free speech and free expression. Summer Lopez, PEN America’s senior director of free expression programs, said the following:

“It was already clear this executive order was on its face a disgraceful and politicized effort to shut down public discourse about racism, a degradation of the First Amendment, and a blatantly authoritarian move to control what ideas are acceptable to discuss and debate. But now that we’re seeing it play out, it’s clear just how concerned we should be: reports that students at military academies feel they can’t watch Malcolm X for fear of retaliation from the government; the University of Iowa halting and reevaluating all its diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings to see if they might put the school’s federal funding at risk. The implications for higher education and the creative community are grave, but the potential impact is broader than that as well. This is an assault on the essential freedom protected under the First Amendment—not just to speak but to receive information, to debate ideas freely and without fear of punishment, least of all from the government itself. Anything short of that is not democracy. This EO is not just words on paper. It is a danger to our fundamental rights, and it must be revoked immediately.”