The Parents of Larry Nassar's Victims Say Malcolm Gladwell Used Their Stories Without Permission

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The parents of children abused by Larry Nassar claim that author Malcolm Gladwell used quotes they gave a Michigan podcast out of context and without permission in a new audiobook about Nassar called Talking With Strangers.

Lisa Lorincz is one of the parents who originally shared her story with journalist Kate Wells for a Michigan Radio podcast called Believed. In his new audiobook, Malcolm Gladwell uses clips from the podcast in a way that Lorincz claims makes her sound complicit in her daughter’s abuse, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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The audiobook version of Talking with Strangers is not a simple reading of the text. Instead, Gladwell created a “podcast-like” experience, complete with quotes from Believed in a section of the book in which he asserts that had Nassar been drunk or rude, the parents of his victims would have complained sooner. And while he doesn’t name the parents he quotes in the book, Lorincz says that the audio of her voice is easily recognizable. While Michigan Radio gave Gladwell permission to use the clips, neither Lorincz, Wells, or the other parents were consulted.

Gladwell does not understand why parents would be upset that he used their words out of context in order to explain that they were too trusting:

“‘In that chapter, I’m just trying to explain default to truth,’ he told the Free Press. That’s a concept that says human beings tend to default to trusting others because they don’t think deception could be a possibility or because there’s insufficient evidence to distrust the other people. The section of the book talks about Jerry Sandusky, the pedophile Penn State football coach and then Nassar, and uses the parents quotes to further Gladwell’s argument.”

In mid-October, Gladwell removed Lornicz’s voice from the audiobook and read her quotes instead. While Lornicz would like her story removed from the audiobook entirely, Gladwell’s lawyer argues that he has a legal right to use the quotes.

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