The publisher of author Naomi Wolf’s book “Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love” has said it is “discussing corrections” with Wolf but still stands behind the book’s thesis after an error was pointed out to her during a live radio interview Wolf did with the BBC.
In a statement to TheWrap, a representative for publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said the publisher relies “ultimately on authors for the integrity of their research and fact-checking” and is talking with Wolf about corrections.
“While HMH employs professional editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders for each book project, we rely ultimately on authors for the integrity of their research and fact-checking. Despite this unfortunate error we believe the overall thesis of the book ‘Outrages’ still holds. We are discussing corrections with the author,” the publisher said in a statement.
Wolf’s book “Outrages” is about how homosexuality was criminalized in 19th century England. However, during her interview, the BBC’s Matthew Sweet challenged two key assertions in her book, one of which appeared to be based on a misunderstanding of a legal term.
Wolf wrote that numerous men in the 19th century were executed for “sodomy,” but Sweet recited a passage of her book in which she lists one 14-year old convict as “death recorded.” Sweet then said that the term “death recorded” is “a category that was created in 1823 that allowed judges to abstain from pronouncing a sentence of death on any capital convict whom they considered to be a fit subject for pardon,” and suggested that the executions Wolf identified didn’t actually happen.
Sweet also said that prison records indicated a discharge date for the 14-year-old in question, and that he “committed an indecent assault on a six-year-old boy.”
Listen to the relevant snippet of the interview below, and the full audio here.
Wolf is an author behind books like “The Beauty Myth” and “The End of America.”
Everyone listen to Naomi Wolf realize on live radio that the historical thesis of the book she's there to promote is based on her misunderstanding a legal term pic.twitter.com/a3tB77g3c1
— Edmund Hochreiter (@thymetikon) May 23, 2019