Gay Talese renounces new book after credibility issues are raised

Author Gay Talese.
(Image credit: Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)

Noted author and journalist Gay Talese says he was duped by the main subject of his new book, The Voyeur's Motel, and he will not promote the work once it is published on July 12.

The Voyeur's Motel tells the tale of Gerald Foos, who allegedly spied on the guests staying at his Manor House motel in Aurora, Colorado, from the late 1960s to mid-1990s. One problem: Property records show Foos sold the Manor House in 1980 and didn't reacquire it until 1988, The Washington Post reports. Talese said he is now second-guessing everything Foos told him. "I should not have believed a word he said," Talese told The Post. "I'm not going to promote this book. How dare I promote it when its credibility is down the toilet?"

Most of the material came from journals that Foos, now 82, kept while running the motel. He claimed to have built special walkways above the rooms, and watched everything that took place — including a murder. (Foos told The Post he has "never purposely told a lie" and "everything I said in that book is the truth.") Talese noted in the book that he did find some discrepancies in Foos' story, and he told The Post he dealt with a "certifiably unreliable" source who is "totally dishonorable." The movie rights to the book have already been bought by Steven Spielberg, and an excerpt ran in The New Yorker in April; the publication is known for its thorough fact checking, and editor David Remnick told The Post he will look into how it was vetted.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.