Book publisher W.W Norton has halted shipping and promoting Blake Bailey’s biography of American novelist Philip Roth following multiple sexual misconduct allegations. On Monday, The Story Factory dropped Bailey as an author when the accusations first surfaced, accusations which Bailey denied.
The allegations varied in form, beginning with former eighth grade students of Bailey’s at Lusher Middle School in New Orleans claiming that in the nineties he engaged inappropriately with them (with one women claiming that he “groomed” students) to publishing marketing executive Valentina Rice saying that she was raped by him in 2015, according to The New York Times. According to Rice, the attack occurred when the two were houseguests of Times book critic Dwight Garner, who claimed to have been “horrified” when learning of the accusation.
Bailey denied all claims of sexual misconduct, saying in an email he sent to Valentine Rice, “I can assure you I have never had non-consensual sex of any kind, with anybody, ever, and if it comes to a point I shall vigorously defend my reputation and livelihood. Meanwhile, I appeal to your decency: I have a wife and young daughter who adore and depend on me, and such a rumor, even untrue, would destroy them.”
W.W Norton, which printed 50,000 copies of Blake Bailey’s book, has stopped an additional 10,000 copies scheduled to be released in early May. They have also halted all marketing, including advertising and media outreach. “These allegations are serious,” W.W Norton said in a statement Wednesday, “In light of them, we have decided to pause the shipping and promotion of ‘Philip Roth: The Biography’ pending any further information that may emerge.”
Plenty of former Trump administration members, such as Kellyanne Conway, have been planning on publishing books, with a very high bar to clear. The publishing industry has been wrestling with the idea of publishing former Trump Administration members. There are concerns over a potential backlash from the public due to the controversial nature of the last presidency and counting on the writers to tell the truth.
“I would try to keep an open mind,” one publishing source says, “that doesn’t mean I would sign them.”
Books written about the Donald Trump presidency, especially by his closest constituents, would be an instant best-seller, especially among the former president’s supporters. But, publishers say they have a responsibility to paint the full picture of the administration.
According to sources, there isn’t any set standard in the publishing industry as to who from the Trump Administration is ‘too toxic’ to publish. Former officials John Bolton and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and former aides Omarosa Manigault Newman and Cliff Simms have all published books. However, after the Capitol riot on January sixth, which began as a protest based on the belief that there was election fraud in the 2020 election, Simon & Schuster canceled a book by Senator Josh Hawley, who objected to the counting of votes on January sixth. Hawley called this a “direct assault on the first amendment” and published it under the conservative publishing house, Regnery.
Publishing under Regnery would be easier for former Trump officials but for considerably less money.
A representative of Mike Pence declined to comment on the book deal.