Orlando Figes admits: 'It was me'





For a week now, an extraordinary row has had Britain’s academe in turmoil with threats of libel writs and the bloodying of distinguished reputations.

But now, in an astonishing twist to the saga, I can reveal that the offending reviews on Amazon were not, after all, written by Figes’s wife, Stephanie, herself a Cambridge University law lecturer....

In a startling admission, which will put to rest the minds of those attacked — who all feared libel writs were on their way — Figes tells me it was in fact he who posted the anonymous critiques, and not his wife.

‘I take full responsibility,’ he says. ‘I have made some foolish errors and apologise wholeheartedly to all concerned. In particular, I am sorry for the distress I have caused to Rachel Polonsky and Robert Service. I also apologise to my lawyer, to whom I gave incorrect information.’

The extraordinary mea culpa goes on: ‘I am ashamed of my behaviour and don’t entirely understand why I acted as I did. It was stupid. Some of the reviews I now see were small-minded and ungenerous, but they were not intended to harm.’

I understand that Figes’s wife, a mother of twin girls, took the blame for her husband in an effort to protect him....



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