Friday, June 22, 2007

JT Leroy liable

A little background: a few years ago, a San Francisco writer named "JT Leroy" wrote two pseudoautobiographical novels about his (or was it a her?) life as a truck-stop prostitute. The novels weren't very good, but Leroy became something of a sensation as a reclusive weirdo who hung out with Courtney Love and refused to give in-person interviews. As you might expect, a film production company snapped up the rights to tell Leroy's life story on film.

But not so lefast.

Last year, the NY Times revealed that JT Leroy was the invented persona of Laura Albert, who was (a) female and (b) never actually a truck stop whore. (Although, interestingly enough, she is a Jewish girl from NY who got into the hardcore punk scene before becoming a writer -- see the fascinating Salon profile here.) Somewhat understandably, once this info got out, the film production company asked to unwind it's no-longer nonfictional movie deal. Albert refused, and so they sued.

And today they won in court, obtaining just over $100k in damages. In a rhetorical flourish typical of her overwrought fake persona, Albert had this to say:

"This goes beyond me," Albert said. "Say an artist wants to use a pseudonym for political reasons, for performance art. This is a new, dangerous brave new world we are in."

Yes, it is, Laura. It's a world where people have to tell the truth.


Blogger John said...

I can see why the company would have a right to get their money back... but what possible "damages" could they have sustained?

10:24 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Their money was the damages -- Albert was claiming the contract was still valid. I think they got $6500 in punitive damages as well.

1:33 PM  

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