Larry Kirshbaum, one of the most influential figures in the publishing world, stands accused of twice sexually assaulting his former mistress in 2010.
A suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by Teresa McCoy, 55, says that 69-year-old Kirshbaum — who heads Amazon Publishing — had an extramarital affair with McCoy that ended in 2005. The assaults allegedly occurred five years later, when they met "about a job he thought she'd be a good fit for," the New York Daily News reports.
According to the News,
They allegedly met for a bite to eat at a Midtown deli. McCoy said she was looking at salad options when "the much physically larger Kirshbaum suddenly swooped down, grabbed her and forcibly stuck his tongue in her mouth, causing (her) neck to jerk back in excruciating pain.” He then "thrust a hand into her pants and panties" and groped her, the suit says.
McCoy said she pushed him off, and he "apologized profusely" — before sticking his tongue in her mouth again outside, the suit says.
A second meeting allegedly went much like the first, according to the New York Post:
They met at deserted espresso bar on E. 44th Street in October 2010, and he allegedly cornered her in a booth, and shoved his fingers and then his face under the horrified woman's skirt.
"So that she would keep quiet about what he had done, Kirshbaum reminded [McCoy] of a close family relation, who he had told her was a federal prosecutor in a threatening email years earlier,” the legal papers state, adding that “the threat was a factor in intimidating plaintiff from reporting Kirshbaum's conduct."
At the time, Kirshbaum was a literary agent. He had previously run the Time Warner Book Group. In 2011, he was hired by Amazon to run its publishing division. In a profile of Kirshbaum for Bloomberg Businessweek titled "Amazon's Hit Man," Brad Stone says he was "the ultimate book industry insider, widely known and almost universally liked" — but that working for Amazon, seen as a threat to traditional publishing, constituted "[going] over to the dark side."
A lawyer for Kirshbaum said "McCoy began threatening Mr. Kirshbaum and his family with public embarrassment and demanding money on pain of public disclosure.” Her lawyer called this assertion "mudslinging."