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Angry Mississippians get “Heartstopper” books banned from teen section at library

Joe Locke and Kit Connor in Season 2 of Heartstopper
Joe Locke and Kit Connor in Season 2 of Heartstopper Photo: Teddy Cavendish/Netflix

A Mississippi library has banned the Heartstopper graphic novel series from teen access after an angry group of parents demanded the gay love story be removed to the adult section.

Residents characterized the chaste books as “pornographic.”

The Heartstopper graphic novels and popular Netflix show tell the story of two teen boys who fall in love. Neither the books nor the show feature any explicit sexual content.  

The issue has been all-consuming at the Marion County Public Library in Columbia, Mississippi.

The books were first pulled from the library shelves altogether after a meeting on August 9, when a group of angry residents confronted the library’s board over the popular book series.

One resident claimed “homosexuals” were using the Heartstopper books “to recruit your kid, my kid, and grandkid to get into that lifestyle.”

When asked what she found objectionable in the books, Marion County resident Heather McMurry, who lodged the original Heartstopper complaint, directed the Mississippi Free Press to the website, which claims the graphic novels contain “sexual activities; alternate sexualities; alternate gender ideologies; profanity; and violence.”

The only sexual activity listed is a depiction of “two young men kissing.” was launched in Florida by Moms for Liberty member Emily Maikisch in 2022.

The board met again on Friday, when they voted to move Heartstopper to the adult section. Minors will now need written parental consent to access the books.

That decision opened the door to more demands from residents.

“There are 14 books we’ve found that are objectionable,” one woman said as she delivered a set of papers to board members, “and we’ve got a group that’s objecting to them.”

“We’re protecting our children,” she added.

All of the books are listed on the site.

“Who makes the decisions about buying these books that are not appropriate and are degrading to the morals of America?” one woman asked. “Is it God’s will for us to have this type of material that the taxpayers are paying for?”

How many in the all-white, older-skewing crowd had teenaged children of their own was unclear.

While the books objected to by residents were confined to those with purported sexual or LGBTQ+ content, the Book Looks site also lists texts like The Hate U Give, which addresses systemic racism and police brutality. Its BookLooks report warns that it “contains inflammatory racial commentary; excessive/frequent profanity; and inexplicit sexual activities.”

One parent who planned to address the meeting – but didn’t – shared her speech, which chided residents who would “condemn” and “demonize” their neighbors.

It felt like being in a room of “angry villagers” who wanted to “burn the witch,” she said.

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