Weeks after denouncing and refusing to promote his book The Voyeur’s Motel, literary journalist Gay Talese appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers to promote that same book.
After the Washington Post told him that the main subject of his book, Gerald Foos, a motel owner who systematically spied on his guests for decades, was likely a fraud, Talese said he was angry. That anger, he explained, led him to disavow the book in the heat of the moment. But he doesn’t disavow it anymore.
“The Washington Post was wrong. When I first got this news, I was broadsided,” he explained.
“The Washington Post said that during a period... for about six or seven years, from 1980, that’s right after I left him, to about ‘86 or so, he didn’t own the motel, meaning, how can you not own the motel and try to write about it like you’re in the motel? And I didn’t know that and I was very upset and thought, well I can’t go along and support this book. But the next day I called the guy who bought the motel from the motel guy that I knew, and he said, ‘No, no. I bought this motel from Gerald Foos, the guy, but he still had access to it. He had the key.’”
If he had known he had access, he would never have disavowed it, he explained.
Luckily for Talese, the controversy doesn’t seem to have put a damper on promotional opportunities.