John Lefevre, the man behind the popular parody Twitter handle @GSElevator, who scored a reported six-figure book deal with Simon & Schuster, has had his forthcoming book, Straight to Hell, canceled, as Business Insider first reported. The situation has left Lefevre feeling cheated and, as he told PW, ready to take the publisher to court if it attempts to recover any portion of the advance it paid him.
A brief statement from S&S's Touchstone imprint disclosed the news on Thursday that the book would not be going forward. The statement comes after the New York Times broke the story that Lefevre was the person behind the once-anonymous Twitter feed, and that he has never actually been a Goldman Sachs employee. Initially, following this revelation, S&S said it was standing by its author.
In the days following the reveal of Lefevre's identity, some in the media questioned the value of the forthcoming book. And, earlier this week, before the book was canceled, the author took to the Web to defend himself in a post on Business Insider.
On Thursday, S&S finally changed its tune. The publisher's Touchstone imprint, which had acquired the title, said that "in light of information that has recently come to our attention" it was dropping the project.
Because of the abrupt cancellation, questions linger about the author's advance. S&S would not speak on the matter, and Lefevre's literary agent, Byrd Leavell, also declined to answer any questions.
PW reached out to Lefevre, via email, and he expressed dismay over the way the publisher treated him. He also asserted, vehemently, that he would not be returning any money. (It's standard, with book publishing agreements, for authors to receive up to half of their advance upon signing the contract.)
Lefevre said: "S&S supported me while forcing me not to defend myself...and now they abandon me." He added that the house is "wrong in trying to back out now" and will "lose credibility" as a result of the situation. Regarding the advance, he said that he would "rather give [it] to the North Shore Animal League than return it," and will sue the house "100 times over" if they try to secure money they have already paid him.