will the real jt leroy please stand up?

by eug
November 14, 2005 7:43 AM
7 Comments
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jtleroySQ.jpgI've crossed paths with the person known as JT Leroy (pictured right in Toronto last year, photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE) briefly on a few occasions at film festivals: Cannes, Toronto, AFI Fest...having read JT's exceptional writing and always intrigued by the public persona, its hard to ignore the steady stream of recent stories charging that JT Leroy is a fraud, or an imposter, or something like that. So who really wrote those books, and "Elephant", and the new film...

A new WWD story continues the rumor that the real JT is a woman named Laura Albert -- or Emily Frasier or Speedie -- (pictured left). At the Toronto party for "The Heart is Deceitful", which will be released next year by Palm Pictures, the woman sitting next to "JT" was identified to us as "Emily," and described as "a member of his family."

A recent, lenghy piece in New York Magazine explored the issue, while a Washington Post article went even further:

The whole long affair appears to be one of the great literary hoaxes of our day, and it fooled a whole lot of people as well as media.
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7 Comments

  • donna | January 19, 2006 7:52 AMReply

    FTM, my foot. The real writer is Laura Albert, who’s married to Geoffrey Knoop, and it’s Geoffrey Knoop’s sister Savannah, a model, who’s been posing as JT Leroy in public (and saying she’s “on hormones” when asked why she looks so female). But it was Laura Albert herself who claimed to be JT Leroy at the hotel in Paris when she was there with her husband and son, and claimed she’d had a “sex change” when someone at the hotel said they thought JT Leroy was a man. Besides, as Helen said, the novels and stories and interviews all portray JT Leroy as an mtf tranny — you know, your typical child-tranny-hooker-HIV positive-drug addict-turning tricks at a West Virginia truckstop “narrative.” The whole thing is a repulsive scam designed to make money have entree to celebrity circles, and, you know what, there’ll be people applauding Ms. Albert for how damn clever she is. Some kind of “postmodern peformance art” thing. If all she wanted was to write under a male pseudonym, fine. But don’t invent an entire fake persona to sell your books. This isn’t as reprehensible as what Benjamin Wilkomierski did a number of years ago (and I have to say I was suspicious of *that* book long before it all turned out to be fake, since, sorry, 4-year olds didn’t survive Nazi death camps), but it’s still pretty bad. And there’s no acceptable excuse.

    Poor diddums 'Stepping on toilet paper'? Try hoaxing people by pretending you have AIDS to sell books. Should have shoved the whole roll up their lying face/s, IMHO...

  • donna | January 19, 2006 7:52 AMReply

    FTM, my foot. The real writer is Laura Albert, who’s married to Geoffrey Knoop, and it’s Geoffrey Knoop’s sister Savannah, a model, who’s been posing as JT Leroy in public (and saying she’s “on hormones” when asked why she looks so female). But it was Laura Albert herself who claimed to be JT Leroy at the hotel in Paris when she was there with her husband and son, and claimed she’d had a “sex change” when someone at the hotel said they thought JT Leroy was a man. Besides, as Helen said, the novels and stories and interviews all portray JT Leroy as an mtf tranny — you know, your typical child-tranny-hooker-HIV positive-drug addict-turning tricks at a West Virginia truckstop “narrative.” The whole thing is a repulsive scam designed to make money have entree to celebrity circles, and, you know what, there’ll be people applauding Ms. Albert for how damn clever she is. Some kind of “postmodern peformance art” thing. If all she wanted was to write under a male pseudonym, fine. But don’t invent an entire fake persona to sell your books. This isn’t as reprehensible as what Benjamin Wilkomierski did a number of years ago (and I have to say I was suspicious of *that* book long before it all turned out to be fake, since, sorry, 4-year olds didn’t survive Nazi death camps), but it’s still pretty bad. And there’s no acceptable excuse.

    Poor diddums 'Stepping on toilet paper'? Try hoaxing people by pretending you have AIDS to sell books. It's reprehensible to use HIV status even if it's SO funny to have 'Punk'd' gullible celebrities. Should have shoved the whole roll up their lying face/s, IMHO...

  • donna | January 19, 2006 7:52 AMReply

    FTM, my foot. The real writer is Laura Albert, who’s married to Geoffrey Knoop, and it’s Geoffrey Knoop’s sister Savannah, a model, who’s been posing as JT Leroy in public (and saying she’s “on hormones” when asked why she looks so female). But it was Laura Albert herself who claimed to be JT Leroy at the hotel in Paris when she was there with her husband and son, and claimed she’d had a “sex change” when someone at the hotel said they thought JT Leroy was a man. Besides, as Helen said, the novels and stories and interviews all portray JT Leroy as an mtf tranny — you know, your typical child-tranny-hooker-HIV positive-drug addict-turning tricks at a West Virginia truckstop “narrative.” The whole thing is a repulsive scam designed to make money have entree to celebrity circles, and, you know what, there’ll be people applauding Ms. Albert for how damn clever she is. Some kind of “postmodern peformance art” thing. If all she wanted was to write under a male pseudonym, fine. But don’t invent an entire fake persona to sell your books. This isn’t as reprehensible as what Benjamin Wilkomierski did a number of years ago (and I have to say I was suspicious of *that* book long before it all turned out to be fake, since, sorry, 4-year olds didn’t survive Nazi death camps), but it’s still pretty bad. And there’s no acceptable excuse.

    Poor diddums 'Stepping on toilet paper'? Try hoaxing people by pretending you have AIDS to sell books. It's reprehensible to use HIV status even if it's SO funny to have 'Punk'd' gullible celebrities. Should have shoved the whole roll up their lying face/s, IMHO...

  • donna | January 19, 2006 7:52 AMReply

    FTM, my foot. The real writer is Laura Albert, who’s married to Geoffrey Knoop, and it’s Geoffrey Knoop’s sister Savannah, a model, who’s been posing as JT Leroy in public (and saying she’s “on hormones” when asked why she looks so female). But it was Laura Albert herself who claimed to be JT Leroy at the hotel in Paris when she was there with her husband and son, and claimed she’d had a “sex change” when someone at the hotel said they thought JT Leroy was a man. Besides, as Helen said, the novels and stories and interviews all portray JT Leroy as an mtf tranny — you know, your typical child-tranny-hooker-HIV positive-drug addict-turning tricks at a West Virginia truckstop “narrative.” The whole thing is a repulsive scam designed to make money have entree to celebrity circles, and, you know what, there’ll be people applauding Ms. Albert for how damn clever she is. Some kind of “postmodern peformance art” thing. If all she wanted was to write under a male pseudonym, fine. But don’t invent an entire fake persona to sell your books. This isn’t as reprehensible as what Benjamin Wilkomierski did a number of years ago (and I have to say I was suspicious of *that* book long before it all turned out to be fake, since, sorry, 4-year olds didn’t survive Nazi death camps), but it’s still pretty bad. And there’s no acceptable excuse.

    Poor diddums 'Stepping on toilet paper'? Try hoaxing people by pretending you have AIDS to sell books. Should have shoved the whole roll up their lying face/s, IMHO...

  • donna | January 19, 2006 7:52 AMReply

    FTM, my foot. The real writer is Laura Albert, who’s married to Geoffrey Knoop, and it’s Geoffrey Knoop’s sister Savannah, a model, who’s been posing as JT Leroy in public (and saying she’s “on hormones” when asked why she looks so female). But it was Laura Albert herself who claimed to be JT Leroy at the hotel in Paris when she was there with her husband and son, and claimed she’d had a “sex change” when someone at the hotel said they thought JT Leroy was a man. Besides, as Helen said, the novels and stories and interviews all portray JT Leroy as an mtf tranny — you know, your typical child-tranny-hooker-HIV positive-drug addict-turning tricks at a West Virginia truckstop “narrative.” The whole thing is a repulsive scam designed to make money have entree to celebrity circles, and, you know what, there’ll be people applauding Ms. Albert for how damn clever she is. Some kind of “postmodern peformance art” thing. If all she wanted was to write under a male pseudonym, fine. But don’t invent an entire fake persona to sell your books. This isn’t as reprehensible as what Benjamin Wilkomierski did a number of years ago (and I have to say I was suspicious of *that* book long before it all turned out to be fake, since, sorry, 4-year olds didn’t survive Nazi death camps), but it’s still pretty bad. And there’s no acceptable excuse.

    Poor diddums 'Stepping on toilet paper'? Try hoaxing people by pretending you have AIDS to sell books. It's reprehensible to use HIV status even if it's SO funny to have 'Punk'd' gullible celebrities. Should have shoved the whole roll up their lying face/s, IMHO...

  • JT LeRoy | November 18, 2005 9:29 AMReply

    Howdy Eug and Rona, Yep, I admit, 'twas me that wrote those books, cept when I was bizzy being Laura Bush. :) I am me and I wrote my books and yep, it feels as weird to say that as it does to read it. Rona, I appreciate your understanding and your taking my back. Means a lot to me. Thanks!

  • Rona Sample | November 17, 2005 8:53 AMReply

    I love all of JT LeRoy's books and stories. I read "Sarah" twice and had to force myself to read "The Heart is Deceitful" (It was so powerful.) I haven't read "Harold's End" yet, but I will. Moreover,I've seen him up close at a reading and he is who he is -- really shy. It was at Barnes and Noble,the superstore north of Union Square,coming out of the bathroom after the meeting. He had toilet paper stuck to his shoe, and someone pointed it out. He stood there, like -- unable to deal with it. A women who was in charge of the Barnes & Noble readings, I think, had to take hold of him, reassuringly, and step on the paper so he could be free. He looked as if he would faint, and I felt so sad and protective of him, this kid who writes so beautifully when he is safe and alone, and who can't seem to deal with the issues of the world, even something as simple as getting TP on your shoe. He is real and he is in that photo, the person on the right. That's the author of those books. Just read them and see.
    The girl on the left is not JT. It's just another harassment by bullies who feel powerful when they hurt someone who seems weaker. I guess the NYTimes is the biggest bully of all -- and like all bullies, basically scared of being shown up as weak.
    Hey, JT! You have intimidated the NYTimes! Just wipe that off your shoe and write more. I love your stuff!