LONDON – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lashed out at a British publisher for releasing drafts of a long-awaited memoir without his approval today, saying he did not author the book or get the opportunity to check it.
British publisher Canongate announced that the book, billed as an “unauthorized autobiography,” will go on sale in stores and online today. Canongate – which paid Assange for the rights to the memoir last year – said that Assange began working with a ghostwriter on the book, but later backed out and tried to cancel his contract.
The publisher said that since he had not repaid his advance, it had decided to publish the first draft that the WikiLeaks founder delivered to the publisher in March.
But in a statement released to the Associated Press, Assange disputed that account, accusing the publisher of “profiteering from an unfinished and erroneous draft.”
“The events surrounding its unauthorised publication by Canongate are not about freedom of information – they are about old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity – screwing people over to make a buck,” Assange said in the statement.
According to Assange, he did not give a copy of the manuscript, written by Andrew O’Hagan, to Canongate. Instead, it was handed over by O’Hagan’s researcher “for viewing purposes only” and was never intended for publication.
“This draft was a work in progress. It is entirely uncorrected or fact-checked by me,” Assange said.