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The Great Literary Scandal: The JT Leroy Story

A Storyville documentary: An inside account of how San Francisco punk rocker Laura Albert created a literary persona called JT LeRoy that duped celebrities and the literary world.

An inside account of a scandal that duped celebrities and the literary world. Former homeless youth JT LeRoy become an 'it boy' beloved by stars like Madonna and Courtney Love. His tough prose about his sordid childhood captivated icons and luminaries internationally. But in 2005 an article in a New York magazine sent shockwaves through the literary world when it unmasked JT LeRoy. It turned out LeRoy didn't actually exist. He was dreamed up by 40-year-old San Francisco punk rocker and phone sex operator Laura Albert.

The JT LeRoy Story takes us down the infinitely fascinating rabbit hole of how Laura Albert breathed not only words but also life into her avatar for a decade. Albert's epic and entertaining account plunges us into a glittery world of rock shows, fashion events, and the Cannes red carpet where LeRoy becomes a mysterious sensation. As she recounts this astonishing odyssey, Albert also reveals the intricate web spun by irrepressible creative forces within her. Her extended and layered JT LeRoy performance still infuriates many, but for Albert, channelling her brilliant fiction through another identity was the only possible path to self-expression.

A gripping yarn about fantasy, deceit and the nature of celebrity.

1 hour, 45 minutes

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 01:01

    The Smashing Pumpkins


  • 01:11


    Fear of Flying

  • 01:15

    David Schwartz

    Theme From Deadwood

  • 01:44

    Lou Reed

    Vanishing Act


Role Contributor
Director Jeff Feuerzeig