Ousted Editor Blames University Presses

September 21, 2018

The recently ousted editor of The New York Review of Books is blaming university presses for his lost job. Ian Buruma left the position this week amid a furor over an article he published by a Canadian broadcaster who has been accused of sexually assaulting women. The article was immediately questioned by many who said it downplayed the accusations against the broadcaster in ways that undercut the movement to prevent sexual assault. In an interview with the Dutch publication Vrij Nederland, Buruma defended his decision to publish the article and blamed university presses for his demise. He said that the publisher "made clear to me that university publishers, whose advertisements make publication of The New York Review of Books partly possible, were threatening a boycott. They are afraid of the reactions on the campuses, where this is an inflammatory topic. Because of this, I feel forced to resign -- in fact it is a capitulation to social media and university presses."

But Peter Berkery, executive director of the Association of University Presses, told The Washington Post he knew of no boycott campaign. “I know that the NYRB was concerned that some of their advertisers might ultimately choose to make a statement through their advertising dollars, but I’m unaware of any organized effort to coordinate a boycott,” he said.

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