NEW YORK – The publisher of a highly anticipated biography of Philip Roth is pulling the book and cutting ties with author Blake Bailey, who faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault. W.W. Norton and Co. previously released Bailey’s memoir “The Splendid Things We Planned.”
“Norton is permanently putting out of print our editions of ‘Philip Roth: The Biography’ and ‘The Splendid Things We Planned,’ Blake Bailey’s 2014 memoir,” the publisher announced Tuesday. “Mr. Bailey will be free to seek publication elsewhere if he chooses. In addition, Norton will make a donation in the amount of the book advance for ‘Philip Roth: The Biography’ to organizations that fight against sexual assault or harassment and work to protect survivors.”
The stunning decision comes after allegations last week from former students of Bailey – who in the 1990s taught eighth grade English in New Orleans – that he had behaved inappropriately while they were in his class and later sought sexual relationships. Two former students and a publishing executive have alleged that he assaulted them.
Bailey, whose Roth book came out in early April, has denied any wrongdoing.
Known previously for his acclaimed biographies of authors John Cheever and Richard Yates, Bailey had worked on the Roth book since 2012, and had met extensively with the author, who died in 2018. “Philip Roth” reached The New York Times best-seller list and reviews have been mostly positive, though some critics found him too indulgent of Roth and how he treated women, in his work and in his personal life.