A foreword commissioned for the new book of Vlaams Belang (VB) leader, Tom Van Grieken, will be scrapped from the final version of the book after being deemed “too critical.”
The far-right leader asked political scientist and media commentator Carl Devos to write a foreword for his upcoming book, titled “And Now It’s Up to Us.”
But Devos on Thursday said that the final version of the book would run without his foreword, despite the fact that it is printed on the expected book cover.
In a statement on Twitter Devos said his preface had been “banned” from appearing in the final version of the book because it was deemed “too negative.”
“Van Grieken asks me to write a critical foreword but then does not want to publish it because it is too critical?” he said, calling out the far-right leader for preaching on the right to freedom of expression, according to HLN.
A VB spokesman had reportedly rejected an initial draft of Devos’ text, arguing it was too long and suggesting some passages be cut from it, which were reportedly the most critical passages, including some about the party’s affiliations with white supremacist organisations.
Devos reworked the text into a shorter version but did not modify the passages in question, and was shortly after notified that the book would run without his foreword, which was obtained in full by De Standaard.
The party said the decision to remove the text was taken by the publisher, who said via a representative that the text was more akin to a personal statement than a foreword.
“I am in favour of a lively debate, but Devos’ treatise read like a personal settlement with the party which did a disservice to the book,” Tom Zwitsers of conservative publisher De Blauwe Tijger told De Standaard.