Steve Martin shares reaction to Florida school district banning his novel

Steve Martin had a brilliant reaction to a county in Florida removing his 2000 novella Shopgirl from its libraries.

The 78-year-old comedian’s New York Times best-seller, which also served as the basis for his 2005 film of the same name starring himself and Claire Danes, is among 313 titles recently banned from Collier County Public Schools libraries.

Martin announced the news on Instagram on Monday (6 November), writing: “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 captures the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman nearly double her age. As the two begin dating, they have to contend with differences in their expectations.

The Cheaper by the Dozen star’s book was removed “effective immediately” following Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s signing of House Bill 1069, which prohibits content containing “sexual conduct” from appearing in schools.

According to the statute, sexual conduct is defined as “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’”.

“Determination for removal of some books was made based on parameters of FL House Bill 1069, as well as other district review processes such as out-of-date titles that have minimal to no circulation,” Collier County Public Schools chief communication Officer Chad Oliver told Fox News.

“The changes are effective immediately; however, the district is doing an additional review of the titles. If it is determined these materials should remain in the CCPS collection, then CCPS media specialists will be notified.”

Other authors to have their books banned by the Florida district include Stephen King, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker and Ernest Hemingway.

Several states across the US have faced a wave of book bans in recent years, fuelled by Republican lawmakers, religious groups, politically motivated school boards and right-wing activists.

In a recent study by non-profit group PEN America, it was found that Florida leads as the state with the most books pulled from school and library bookshelves.

A few months ago, a 1989 title in the Arthur book series faced a potential ban in the southern state after a conservative activist filed a complaint to his child’s school district.

The parent claimed that the children’s book will “damage souls”.