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Unethical Behavior in Publishing: Violating a Nondisclosure Agreement

October 15, 2020
(image via wikimedia)

Even though this might be the most boring title I’ve ever written, the topic itself is kind of interesting.

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The Department of Justice this week filed suit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of first lady Melania Trump, alleging that she violated a nondisclosure agreement by publishing a tell-all book, Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with The First Lady.

Continue reading at DoJ Sues Author of Melania Trump Tell-All.

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I don’t know the real (unreported) details of this situation. Did the author really violate a nondisclosure agreement? Was this book a blatant, shallow money-grab? I don’t know.

When I met my wife, she had just finished working for a local politician who has since become somewhat of a famous public figure.

My wife has a lot of old dirt of about this politician. It’s more about bad personal behavior than corruption, but it would still make for an entertaining book.

My wife would never write that book. She’d see it as a violation of trust, even if she personally despises that politician. I agree with her, but I also agree from a practical standpoint. If she wrote that book, there’s a good chance she’d get hurt in a bad car accident or “commit suicide” (if you know what I mean).

I don’t want any of those things to happen to my wife. Even if retaliation weren’t an issue, I wouldn’t want my wife to write that book.

What do you think? In what situation would you violate a nondisclosure agreement to write a book? Would disliking a person be enough? A hint of corruption? Lots of corruption?

2 Comments
  1. If the person is breaking the law or harming others (such as Harvey Weinstein, or many other powerful individuals whose actions have come to light during the “me too” movement), I think it should be acceptable to violate an NDA. If you just dislike the person but they didn’t exactly do anything wrong, then I don’t think it’s worth it.

    • Harvey Weinstein probably deserved to have dozens (if not hundreds) of tell-alls written about him.

      I’m guessing that until recently the publishing industry would never have let that happen.

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