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Publisher won’t back off book despite Azoff threat

HarperCollins Publishing yesterday said it will stand by the author of a new book that attacks MCA Records and its former music topper, Irving Azoff, despite threats of a lawsuit from Azoff.

Bill Knoedelseder’s “Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia” is expected to be out early next month.

The book alleges ties between MCA and reputed organized crime figures and questions what Azoff knew of those ties (Daily Variety, Jan. 21).

Responding to an attack by Azoff’s attorney, who termed the book “lies and half-truths” in response to media inquiries based on galleys, HarperCollins Publishing issued a two-paragraph statement:

“We don’t know why Mr. Azoff thinks the book contains defamatory statements about him. While he has made sweeping accusations, he has, so far, failed to provide HarperCollins or Bill Knoedelseder with any specifics.

“Bill Knoedelseder is a highly regarded journalist with 17 years of experience. The manuscript for ‘Stiffed’ received extensive legal vetting. HarperCollins stands behind it and the author.”

Azoff’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, was unavailable for comment at press time , but is expected to issue a report today that will set forth Azoff’s specific objections. MCA has so far declined comment on the book.

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