Holding Publishers Accountable for Their Authors' Conduct

Att’n: The Crown Publishing Group
A Division of Random House, Inc.
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.782.9000

March 7, 2014 

Dear Crown Business Press, 

           Your company recently published a book called “Remote” by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. On at least one occasion, Hansson took the opportunity to publicly defame me and threaten my career (interfering in my effort to conduct legitimate and purely lawful interstate commerce) in an opportunistic effort to promote his book.   

           Personally, I really like the idea of working remotely, but he completely misrepresented and defamed me, libelously, purely for egotistic and personal gain and portrayed me as someone who was opposed to remote working situations (which is totally untrue, although I do feel that working remotely can be inappropriate in some situations, of course).  He also referred to me as a “mindless recruiter”, which I protest, because I have two degrees, one from Princeton University, and an IQ score of 195.  I am also related to a Nobel Peace Prizewinner, Lord Byron, William Shakespeare, Sir Thomas Mallory, Sir Francis Drake, the Eyre family (of whom Charlotte Bronte wrote), and am a direct descendant of at least 12 of the pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower. 

           I appreciate that Hansson is a creative individual, but I don’t believe that excuses him from making libelous statements on Twitter to 90,000 followers about me on the day his book came out.  “Needless to say, Nicholas Meyler sucks at recruiting,” was his tweet, and it clearly is erroneous and defamatory.  This was later picked up by The Fordyce Letter: http://www.fordyceletter.com/2013/11/01/memo-to-tech-recruiters-they-really-dont-like-you/ and The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/02/imagine-getting-30-job-offers-a-month-it-isnt-as-awesome-as-you-might-think/284114/ 

           Both of these articles are extreme distortions of the truth and contain multiple deliberate errors and unprofessional journalism.  They constitute glaring and easily proveable examples of Journalistic Fraud.  According to Wikipedia: "Journalistic scandals include: plagiarism, fabrication, and omission of information; activities that violate the law, or violate ethical rules; the altering or staging of an event being documented; or making substantial reporting or researching errors with the results leading to libelous or defamatory statements." Both of these articles, which were clearly inspired because of David Heinemeier Hansson’s libelous and inaccurate statements, seem to touch on every single one of the criteria listed by Wikipedia as grounds for accusations of fraud.  The fact is aggravated by the problem that these statements were made to promote his own book, published by Crown Press. 

            In any case, I consider Hansson’s remarks about me to be purely libelous and designed to harm me, while benefitting him.  I would like to request that I be fairly and appropriately compensated for this infringement of my rights, or at least that Hansson be required to issue an apology and a public retraction.  I would like a remedy to this situation, and believe that as publisher of Hansson’s book, you share some responsibility with him.  My family were friends of the Chandler family (owners of the L.A. Times) for fifty years, so I am well-aware of the importance of ethical standards for journalism.  We also knew William Randolph Hearst’s copyright attorney, Larry Mitchell, for fifty years.  I do not take the ethics of journalism lightly. That Hansson opportunistically perverted the truth in a defamatory way to promote the book that you are publishing is not ethical, in my opinion.  I do not believe that as his representatives, Random House/ Crown Publishing can escape some responsibility. 


                   Nicholas Meyler  


 My LinkedIn Entry:  https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=290004&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile 

My rebuttal/refutation of the above-mentioned articles in The Atlantic and The Fordyce Letter which Hansson appears to have commissioned: http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/analyzing-the-recruiterspam-problem?xg_source=activity







Views: 196

Comment by Matt Charney on March 9, 2014 at 11:46am

I like this calling people out for their stealing of intellectual property, but it's a bit tilting at windmills, right? I mean, at least publishers are paying some people for their content, whereas you're linking to LI, in which case you're surrendering the very same rights you're advocating for since they now own that post and everything else you put up on their site.

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on March 9, 2014 at 9:55pm

Nice point. 

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on March 14, 2014 at 8:46pm

The Attorney from Random House got back with me and said that since DHH's statements are only "opinion", then they don't constitute libel.  In my opinion, that's rubbish and said attorney should learn some law.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on March 17, 2014 at 1:45pm

Nicholas, do you have an attorney prepared to take on RH? 

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on March 17, 2014 at 11:43pm

I'm not really planning on it, but I did have one unsolicited volunteer on Friday.  I used to place attorneys, so it might be pretty easy to get one, but that doesn't make it worth doing.  Meanwhile, I just closed another deal today, and might close another tomorrow, and have two other offers pending.  I'm hanging in there.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on March 18, 2014 at 12:34pm

Success is the best revenge....

Best of luck


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