Former National Enquirer Editor in Chief Dylan Howard—whose alleged efforts to shield accused sexual assaulters Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump from negative publicity are detailed in Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow's just-published bestseller Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators—is succeeding in threatening booksellers with lawsuits to prevent its sale in Howard’s native Australia.
On Tuesday, Farrow tweeted that “Some Australian outlets—Booktopia, Amazon Aus—caved and banned it due to frivolous legal threats free speech group @PENamerica called a ‘reprehensible attempt at censorship’ from AMI’s Dylan Howard. Thanks to all complaining and defending the free press.”
Farrow added: “I’m sorry to all the Australian readers to whom this story is important too. I hope you can import or buy from an independent bookseller, and avoid outlets that yield to these kinds of intimidation tactics."
Howard, who remains a top executive at the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., has hired several high-powered law firms on three continents, including the Sydney-based McLachlan Thorpe Partners, to suppress Farrow’s book, which chronicles the extraordinary lengths the Australian tabloid muckraker had gone to help his friend, criminally charged alleged serial rapist Harvey Weinstein.
Howard’s Australian lawyer, Andrew Thorpe, wrote to booksellers that his client “has put the publisher, Little, Brown Book Group Limited (in the USA and UK) and Hachette Australia Pty Ltd… on notice that if the defamatory content is included in the book, we are instructed to take such legal action as may be appropriate.”
The book alleges, among other things, that Howard told Enquirer staffers about Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan, “I want dirt on that bitch,” and that AMI chief executive David Pecker tried to purchase and suppress damaging stories about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
While Howard has declined to comment on Farrow’s book, an AMI spokesperson claimed its “narrative is driven by unsubstantiated allegations from questionable sources and while these stories may be dramatic, they are completely untrue.”