EXCRUCIATING

Naomi Wolf Realizes There’s a Massive Mistake in Her Book Live on Radio

It has to be an author’s worst nightmare. Naomi Wolf appeared on the BBC to promote her forthcoming book, Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love, and it might have worked, but not in the way she would have hoped. During the interview with journalist Matthew Sweet, Wolf realized she’d made two huge errors in her book. The host pointed out two serious problems with her work. First, she assumed “sodomy” means homosexuality, but Sweet pointed out that, in one key case in her book, it was referring to child sex abuse. Second, she mistakenly believed the 19th-century legal term “death recorded” meant the convict was executed, but it actually meant a death sentence wasn’t carried out because the prisoner was pardoned and freed. So Wolf’s claim that there were “several dozen” executions for homosexuality appears to be based on a complete misunderstanding of old court records. “I don’t think any of the executions you’ve identified here actually happened,” said Sweet.