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Aftermath from the Jonah Lehrer Story

After Tablet report, writer resigns from New Yorker and publisher halts sales of his book, Imagine

Adam Chandler
July 30, 2012


Early this afternoon, we published a story by Michael C. Moynihan on Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine, which as Moynihan discovered, featured fabricated Bob Dylan quotes. Lehrer, shortly after being hired as a staff writer by The New Yorker in June, almost immediately became embroiled in a scandal in which it was revealed that he had recycled quotes and paragraphs from his previous work. The acts of self-plagiarism brought him public opprobrium, but Lehrer was allowed to continue his work at The New Yorker.

But a few hours after Tablet’s report was published, Lehrer resigned from his post at The New Yorker, saying:

“The lies are over now. I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologize to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers. I also owe a sincere apology to Mr. Moynihan. I will do my best to correct the record and ensure that my misquotations and mistakes are fixed. I have resigned my position as staff writer at The New Yorker.”

New Yorker editor David Remnick said:

“This is a terrifically sad situation, but, in the end, what is most important is the integrity of what we publish and what we stand for.”

Additionally, Barnes & Noble, Inc. as well as Lehrer’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt , are halting the shipments of physical copies of Imagine and pulling the e-book off the market.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.