Paris Review editor resigns after internal investigation

Paris Review editor resigns after internal investigation

Lorin Stein, the editor of the influential literary magazine the Paris Review, has resigned following an internal investigation into his behaviour towards female employees and writers.

Stein has also reportedly resigned from New York-based publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG), where he was an editor at large.

According to the New York Times, Stein sent a letter of resignation to the board of the Paris Review apologising for his behaviour and saying he could not continue in the role. The magazine's board president Terry McDonell told the Associated Press that Stein submitted his resignation on Wednesday.

It said: “At times in the past, I blurred the personal and the professional in ways that were, I now recognise, disrespectful of my colleagues and our contributors, and that made them feel uncomfortable or demeaned.

“I am very sorry for any hurt I caused them.”

The board, which includes authors Jeffrey Eugenides and Mona Simpson as well as other senior publishing executives, had begun investigating claims of possible misconduct in October after Stein’s name appeared on an online list of men connected with allegations of harassment and misconduct in publishing in the media called "S--Media Men". The list was shared widely across the world following the many accusations of sexual assault levelled at American film executive Harvey Weinstein.

A board subcommittee along with lawyers from the publication’s counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton, spoke to current and former employees during the investigation and heard complaints from “at least two” female writers about Stein.

The board was due to discuss an internal investigation into the matter on Thursday (7th December), but on Wednesday (6th December), Stein sent an email “expressing his remorse and suggesting any missteps would not happen again”. He admitted dating and expressing interest in women in professional circumstances, including interns and writers of the magazine, which he now saw as an “abuse of my position”. He also acknowledged occasionally engaging in sexual behaviour in the office after hours but said this had been consensual and had happened when he was single (Stein married in 2015).

He wrote: “The way I behaved was hurtful, degrading and infuriating to a degree that I have only begun to understand this past month.”

Separately, an FSG spokesperson told Publishers Lunch the company had also accepted Stein’s resignation from the publisher on Wednesday afternoon. He had been working as an editor at large for the press for two years.

The New York Times cited various allegations from anonymous women which had been shared with the board’s investigation including a writer who described how after her relationship with Stein “ended badly” the magazine rejected three submissions she made, after previously having been published in the Review. Another woman reported an “uncomfortable encounter” with Stein in which he touched her inappropriately at a work dinner a decade ago.

Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn, a former senior editor at the journal who left in 2012, told the newspaper before Stein resigned: “He wanted us to be pretty, he wanted us to act that role, and if we didn’t, we weren’t in the light of favour.  It was clear to me that a lot of the decisions being made were not about the work, and I could work as hard as I wanted and not be rewarded for it.”

The Paris Review, based in New York, was founded in 1953 and helped launch the careers of authors such as Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth and Adrienne Rich. According to AP, Stein had worked with Denis Johnson and Jonathan Franzen among other celebrated authors.

Stein's departure follows the resignation of Penguin US art director Giuseppe Castellano, who was accused of sexual harassment by actress and comedian Charlyne Yi on Twitter.

A recent survey by The Bookseller found that sexual harassment was reported by more than half of the 388 respondents with 54% of women and 34% of men stating that they had suffered abuse.