WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has already called for a boycott of Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography. Now he's published transcripts of phone calls (or, as WikiLeaks puts it, "contemporaneous records") between him and Jamie Byng of the book's publisher Canongate in June to prove that the manuscript was published without his permission. Assange, perhaps not surprisingly, must have taped the conversations. In one call, Assange says he would like to scrap plans for his memoir because of the legal and financial issues he's facing. Byng appears to be understanding, saying at one point, "It seems you don’t want to write that book and you don’t want it to be published." Assange speaks of his grand ambitions for the book, noting that it should "be show more than tell, bourne out by the life we're living through," adding that the "first one is going to be very important and impactful." The second call is significantly more tense, as Assange appears to suspect that Canongate is planning to publish the autobiography despite Byng's denials. "If I saw any moves towards publishing a manuscript that should never have been in your hands in the first place, I would consider that a hostile act," Assange warns. "Then all cards are off the table." The dispute may be next to moot, though: three days in, the unauthorized autobiography has had a dismal showing in its sales. It's almost as if it were never published.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.