Laurence “Larry” Kirshbaum, Amazon’s book publishing chief — and the man who
brought authors like James Franco and basketball’s Bob Knightto Amazon — has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting a former lover, according to a lurid New York State lawsuit.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. We’ll update this post if that happens.
Teresa Ellen McCoy, 55, alleges that Kirshbaum encouraged her to apply for a job with PEN, the writers’ organisation. As she prepared to pitch for the job, Kirshbaum invited her to a series of meetings at delis and cafes in Manhattan, at which he sought to “to resume sexual relations with her,” the lawsuit states.
McCoy wasn’t interested, the lawsuit suggests, and had only agreed to meet with Kirshbaum because the pair had signed a previous legal agreement in which Kirshbaum allegedly agreed to contact McCoy only on a professional basis. But, the lawsuit says, “Kirshbaum began sending plaintiff flirty emails. He also told plaintiff that he was already pursuing the PEN position for her.”
The emails continued even though McCoy made it clear she was not interested, the suit alleges:
Plaintiff made it clear to Kirshbaum, however, that any relationship had to be a professional one. Once Kirshbaum got the drift, he informed plaintiff, on or about July 19, that she was now “a long shot” for the position because there were allegedly more qualified candidates.
They then met on Aug. 9 of that year at a deli to discuss the $US75-100,000 PEN job, the suit states:
That meeting was followed by a worse one at an espresso bar called Machiatto on Oct. 4, which
the lawsuit describes in extreme detail. Kirshbaum assaulted McCoy at the restaurant after cornering her in a banquette, the suit claims.
He left her sobbing at the table only after she threatened him with legal action, McCoy claims. McCoy did not ultimately apply for the job, due to the harassment, she claims.
The suit was filed on Monday; Kirshbaum has not yet responded to it.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.