Lebrecht gets spanked

It appears that some dodgy fact-finding on the part of critic/writer Norman Lebrecht may have gotten him into trouble – his publisher has withdrawn all unsold copies (in the United Kingdom) of his most recent book on classical music and will have them destroyed. All as a result of a lawsuit brought by the owner/founder of Naxos Records, Klaus Heymann. Ouch.

From today’s New York Times article by Daniel J Wakin:

For years, the British critic Norman Lebrecht has been throwing firebombs in the world of classical music, denouncing what he sees as industry evils in a provocative style that has sometimes been described as accuracy-challenged.

On Thursday, in an unusually crushing act of contrition, his publisher agreed to recall his latest book, destroy it, say “Sorry” and promise not to do it again — all over a few pages discussing Naxos Records and its founder, Klaus Heymann.

The book, “Maestros, Masterpieces & Madness: The Secret Life and Shameful Death of the Classical Record Industry,” was released in Britain in July. Mr. Heymann sued the publisher, Penguin Books, in the High Court of Justice, saying the book wrongly accused him of “serious business malpractices” based on false statements. He cited at least 15 statements he called inaccurate.

In a settlement with Mr. Heymann, Penguin issued a statement in court saying it apologized for “the hurt and damage which he has suffered.” It agreed to pay an undisclosed sum for legal fees and to a charity. “Penguin Books has also undertaken not to repeat these allegations and to seek the return of all unsold copies of the book,” the statement said.

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