More accusations have surfaced against Philip Roth biographer Blake Bailey, this time from four women at Old Dominion University, who say Bailey sexually harassed them when he was a teacher there. The Virginian-Pilot reports that over a dozen people at the university have spoken out about the accusations, and that the university administration was aware of Bailey’s behavior and did nothing.
Linguistics professor Bridget Anderson is among the new accusers. Anderson says Bailey sexually harassed her for two years, including “grabbing her crotch in a hot tub, forcibly trying to kiss her on campus, threatening to rape her.” The harassment didn’t stop, she says, until she threatened Bailey with a knife, at which point administrators sent her to counseling, while Bailey faced no repercussions. Thirteen other women said Bailey also sexually harassed them, or they had heard of or witnessed him harassing others.
Bailey’s lawyer, Billy Gibbens, said the new allegations are false. After being taken out of print by Norton in April following rape allegations, Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth was reissued by Skyhorse in ebook form, with a trade paperback edition due on June 29. President and publisher of Skyhorse Tony Lyons told PL he plans to proceed with the paperback despite the new allegations: “A biography must be judged by the quality of the writing, the importance of the subject matter, and the value of the scholarship. This is obviously an important and comprehensive book about an author The New Yorker called ‘a literary genius’ and we are proud to publish it.”