W.W. Norton has stopped shipping and promoting a Phillip Roth biography over sexual assault allegations made against its author, Blake Bailey, The New York Times reported.
"Philip Roth: The Biography" had only recently been released and was on the Times’s bestseller list this week. The book had been reviewed in leading magazines and literary periodicals.
But W.W. Norton told the Times in a statement that the allegations made against Bailey were “serious.”
“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,” it said.
The accusations of grooming, rape and sexual assault — dating back to when Bailey was a middle school teacher in the 1990s — first appeared in comments on a blog critiquing Bailey’s Roth book. They were then reported by that blog and also by The New Orleans Advocate.
Bailey denied the allegations as “categorically false and libelous” in an email to the Times and his attorney has told the Times that Bailey “disagrees with Norton’s decision to stop promoting his book.”
W.W. Norton and Bailey’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.
Some 50,000 copies of the book were initially printed, the Times reported. Norton has canceled a second printing of 10,000 copies that were to be distributed next month. The publisher has also canceled advertising and public relations activities scheduled to promote the book.
On Sunday, Bailey's literary agency dropped him as a client. "Immediately after we learned of the disturbing allegations made against Blake Bailey, The Story Factory terminated its agency representation with Mr. Bailey..." the company said in an emailed statement.
Updated: April 23 at 3:34 p.m.