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Lorin Stein, editor of Paris Review. Image from LARB.

American critic Lorin Stein, editor of the prestigious, career-making literary journal Paris Review, has resigned from his job after accusations of sexual misconduct at work. The New York Times reports that “amid an internal investigation into his behavior toward female employees and writers,” Stein, who is 44, “sent a letter of resignation to the Paris Review board in which he apologized for his behavior and said he had decided he could not continue in the role.”

“At times in the past, I blurred the personal and the professional in ways that were, I now recognize, disrespectful of my colleagues and our contributors, and that made them feel uncomfortable or demeaned,” Stein is quoted as writing. “I am very sorry for any hurt I caused them…The way I behaved was hurtful, degrading and infuriating to a degree that I have only begun to understand this past month.”

Following “complaints from at least two female writers who said they had negative encounters with Mr. Stein,” Paris Review launched an internal investigation in October, but “had yet to decide what action to take in the matter.”

Before his resignation,

Mr. Stein had sent an email to the board expressing his remorse and suggesting any missteps would not happen again. He acknowledged dating and expressing interest in women with whom he had professional connections, including interns and writers for the magazine, conduct that he acknowledged was ‘an abuse of my position.’ He told the board that he had occasionally engaged in sexual behavior in the office after hours, but said that in all instances, the sexual contact was consensual and had happened when he was single.

Stein—“a widely respected figure, regarded by many as a champion of new talent, including some women writers, and celebrated as an editor whose critical eye has helped define and shape the landscape of contemporary American fiction”—has also resigned from his position at the publishing house Farrar, Straus and Giroux, where he was an editor at large.

Founded in Paris in 1953 by George Plimpton, Peter Matthiessen and Harold L. Humes, Paris Review has catapulted the careers of, among others, writers like Rick Moody, Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth and Adrienne Rich. The publication is renowned for its organic, long interviews. Stein became Paris Review’s editor in 2010 and his resignation, writes The New York Times, “will likely roil the literary world.”

Many said Mr. Stein breathed new, edgy life into the journal, increasing its print circulation dramatically and amplifying its online presence. Viewed by some as a throwback to the literary world’s glamorous past of boozy lunches and charismatic editors, Mr. Stein, dapper and charming, projected an aura that made literature seem sexy and fun again.

For all its intellectual rigor, The Paris Review has been known to stage raucous parties and some women who worked there said it had a sexually charged office culture that Mr. Stein helped to cultivate. Several people who worked at the magazine said he often complimented young women on their appearance and suggested they invite their attractive friends to the parties.

Read the revealing report HERE.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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