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Printing halted after allegations against Philip Roth biographer



New York, United States  /  Wed, April 28, 2021  /  11:45 am
 Printing halted after allegations against Philip Roth biographer

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Philip Roth has died at 85. His novel 'American Pastoral' won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1998. (AFP/Mark Wilson)

The publisher of a biography on writer Philip Roth announced Tuesday that it was halting the book's printing, after its author was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting former students.

In a statement, W.W. Norton said that it will be "permanently putting out of print" the book titled "Philip Roth: The Biography," by Blake Bailey, who has been accused of multiple instances of assault over the past 10 days, stemming from his time as a middle school teacher in New Orleans.

The publishing house also said that it would stop printing Bailey's autobiography "The Splendid Things We Planned."

Three women told The New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper that he had stayed in contact with them as adults and had used the trust he had established to initiate sexual advances.

One of the women even accused him of rape. Other testimonials of inappropriate behavior followed on social media.

W.W. Norton said that it would donate an amount equivalent to Bailey's advance to organizations "that fight against sexual assault or harassment and work to protect survivors."

The publisher announced last Wednesday that delivery and promotion would be canceled for the book, which was released on April 6 and rose to the top of Amazon literary critic category.

In an email to AFP, Bailey, 57, said he categorically denied the allegations.

His book was still available on Amazon as of Tuesday and W.W. Norton did not specify what would become of the copies already in print, which according to the New York Times totaled some 50,000.

Bailey had benefitted from Roth's cooperation and virtually unlimited access to his personal archives.

W.W. Norton said Tuesday that Bailey was "free to seek publication elsewhere if he chooses."