Reza Aslan's "Zealot" Interview and 5 Other Controversies that Spiked Sales

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity. The saying certainly rings true for author Reza Aslan this week, who is laughing all the way to the bank after Fox News tried to humiliate him on live television. In the interview, reporter Lauren Green attempted to grill Aslan with questions like, "You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?"( To which he responded matter-of-factly, "It's not that I'm just some Muslim writing about Jesus. I am an expert with a PhD in the history of religions.") By Sunday, the book had become the number one bestseller on Amazon.com. Take a look at some other controversies that have spiked sales:

Reza Aslan's "Zealot"

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity. The saying certainly rings true for author Reza Aslan this week, who is laughing all the way to the bank after Fox News tried to humiliate him on live television. In the interview, reporter Lauren Green attempted to grill Aslan with questions like, "You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?"( To which he responded matter-of-factly, "It's not that I'm just some Muslim writing about Jesus. I am an expert with a PhD in the history of religions.") By Sunday, the book had become the number one bestseller on Amazon.com. Take a look at some other controversies that have spiked sales:

Wendy Davis's Pink Sneakers

Texas Republicans thought they could stop State Senator Wendy Davis from defending women's pro-choice rights with an 11-hour filibuster. The Republicans may have eventually won that particular political battle, but their bullying created a new Democratic star... and made her shoes famous too. Davis's bright pink Mizuno “Wave Rider” sneakers kept her on her feet throughout the long day, and became an icon in the process. The shoe quickly became Amazon's number one women's running shoe, with online reviews like "marathon shoe for marathon filibustering" and "guaranteed to outrun patriarchy!" Mizuno, meanwhile, was having none of it, and refused to endorse Davis' actions. 

Photo: Mizuno USA

Gun Owners Stick to Their Guns

You might think that the horrific massacres in the Aurora movie theater and Sandy Hook Elementary would have given gun owners a reason to rethink their precious collections. Instead, these incidents have actually been connected with major spikes in gun sales, thanks to panicked gun owners who are convinced their second amendment rights will be snatched away from them at any moment. 

James Frey's "Million Little Pieces"

When the truth came out that James Frey's supposed memoir was in fact largely a product of his imagination, Oprah Winfrey shamed him into making an embarrassing public apology on her TV show. That was a small price to pay for the millions of dollars in royalties the controversy helped send his way.

Chick-fil-A's Homophobic Chicken

Apparently controversy sells chicken, too. When Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy admitted to donating to anti-gay groups and made homophobic statements promoting the "biblical definition of the family unit," gay rights activists around the country organized boycotts and protests of the fast food chain. Despite their efforts, the controversy actually boosted the chain's nationwide sales by 12 percent. Maybe some of the sales can be explained by this group of drag queens' ironic revenge?

Paula Deen's Cookbooks

When word of the celebrity chef's astounding racism reached the public, she was disgraced in the eyes of millions of Americans, dropped by her agent, her publisher, her network, and countless business partners. But apparently, some saw the controversy as a reason to grab up her previously published cookbooks. Her weekly book sales skyrocketed from 500 to 4,000 the next week.