Jonah Lehrer says he’s writing about ‘false accusations that have been made about my work’

Los Angeles Magazine
Thirteen grafs into Amy Wallace’s piece about Jonah Lehrer, she describes emailing Lehrer to ask “how Lehrer felt as he perched on the precipice before making his career-maiming leap.”

When I e-mailed Lehrer to ask him, he responded right away. Despite the avalanche of coverage, he said, I was only the third person to contact him for comment. (Apparently Lehrer wasn’t the only person guilty of laziness. Or was it that a potential response from Lehrer might not jibe with what the commentariat wanted to say?) “I’m extremely tempted to correct many of the false accusations that have been made about my work in recent weeks,” he wrote before declining to answer my questions. “I’m writing something about the mistake and affair myself, if only so I can learn from the failing, and I’d prefer not to talk until my writing is done.”

Lehrer fact-checking people who’ve reported on Jonah Lehrer? This is about to get interesting. If you emailed or called Lehrer directly, let us know.

Wired severed ties with Lehrer late last month after discovering multiple instances of recycling and plagiarism. He resigned from The New Yorker at the end of July after admitting he fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan in “Imagine.” Since then, other sources have said quotes that appear in Lehrer’s books did not originate with them.

Joe Coscarelli at New York Magazine says he tried to reach Lehrer twice and lists Lehrer’s contacts with New York Times reporter Jennifer Schuessler, Tablet reporter Michael Moynihan and Charles Seife. Erik Wemple at The Washington Post tells me he emailed an address he found for Lehrer on his Wired blog. Women’s Wear Daily reporter Erik Maza told me he contacted Wired and The New Yorker, as well as Lehrer’s agent. Just to be safe, I emailed Lehrer to ask him if Wallace’s account sounded accurate to him. I’ll update if I hear back.

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