Leon Wieseltier, who was for decades the literary editor of The New Republic, is a legendary cultural and media figure. But in 2017, just as he was set to launch a new publication, he was accused of #MeToo transgressions and his professional connections were severed almost overnight. After three years out of the public eye, Leon has reemerged with a new quarterly journal called Liberties, which aims to be “slower, longer and deeper” than just about anything else around. In this conversation, Leon talks with Meghan about his hopes for the magazine, his frustrations with political and cultural discourse today, and the fallout and lessons from the #MeToo allegations made against him. They also talk about sexual dynamics in mentor relationships, the virtues of the Louis CK film Pootie Tang, and why Leon wishes he could list “intellectual” on his passport as his occupation.
Leon Wieseltier is the editor of Liberties - a Journal of Culture and Politics. From 1983 to 2014, he was the literary editor of The New Republic.