Going down: Goldman Sachs ‘elevator mole’ John Lefevre loses book deal

Publication of book based on the Twitter feed @GSElevator cancelled

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American publishing giant Simon & Schuster has pushed the open-door button on its ride with John Lefevre, recently unmasked as the wag behind three years of widely devoured Twitter postings that sought to parody the chatter of big-swinging-dicks inside the gilded lifts of Goldman Sachs that went by the handle @GSElevator.

The statement released by the company’s Touchstone imprint was terse, almost, but not quite, meeting the 140-character limit on Twitter posts.

“In light of information that has recently come to our attention since acquiring John Lefevre’s ‘Straight to Hell,’ Touchstone has decided to cancel its publication of this work,” it said.

The big news when Mr Lefevre was outed just over a week ago was that, contrary at least to the impression left by his postings of cringe-worthy comments  purportedly overhead at Goldman offices globally, he was not in fact employed by the bank. How do you spin a book out of something like @GSElevator when its entire premise turns out to be a fraud?

Not a few eyebrows were raised when Touchstone tried at first to suggest it had known this all along even if they and Mr Lefevre had never met in person. “He’s been pretty straight with us the entire time, so this is not a surprise,” the book’s editor, Matthew Benjamin, averred. Publishers have been burned in the past with books that weren’t what they pretended to be, for example A Million Little Pieces, the 2005 memoir by James Frey that wasn’t.

Touchstone’s about-turn is not sitting well with Mr Lefevre. He told NPR radio he hadn’t even been told why his contract has been cancelled.

“It’s sad and pathetic... they won’t even tell me... but my show will go on,” he said.

“We always counted on my identity being revealed and we were confident that it would lend credibility and support to my story and vantage point,” he told Business Insider. “And my publisher had been vocal in supporting me after I was outed. So today it’s quite surprising to see them walk away from a contractual obligation.

“Any person who actually thought my Twitter feed was... about verbatim conversations overhead in the elevators of Goldman Sachs is an idiot.”

Some of the bad blood is spilling, needless to say, into the Twittersphere itself.

“Stay tuned. Next week, I will tweet locations and times, at various bars in NYC – All drinks will be on Simon & Schuster,” he posted yesterday under his @GSElevator handle.

But the best tweeted response surely came from @GoldmanSachs itself: “Guess elevators go up and down.”