The Waves

A Conversation With One of Blake Bailey’s Accusers

Eve Crawford Peyton talks about her relationship with her former eighth-grade teacher, and her decision to write about her rape 17 years later.

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Episode Notes

Blake Bailey gained fame for telling the stories of famous men. But before that, he was a beloved middle-school teacher—who went on to have questionable sexual relationships with several of his former eighth-grade students. When his biography of Phillip Roth was published this spring, some former students started to speak out about their experiences with Bailey. A few revealed that after years of staying in touch with them as a mentor of sorts, he had made unwelcome sexual advances. Former student Eve Crawford Peyton says he raped her when she was 22 years old.

On today’s episode, Slate news director Susan Matthews is first joined by colleagues Josh Levin and Molly Olmstead, who were her collaborators on “Mr. Bailey’s Class.” They unpack what it was like to work on the piece, which stories about sexual assault get told, and what that means for journalism as a mechanism for obtaining justice.

Later in the show, Matthews is joined by Eve Crawford Peyton. Peyton wrote an essay for Slate, detailing her experiences with Bailey, including the alleged rape. She talks to Susan about what her life has been like in the aftermath of the Bailey revelations and her struggle to juggle her conflicting emotions about her former mentor.

We’re so excited that the Waves is back as a place to have these important conversations. Going forward, each week on The Waves, a different pair of hosts will talk about one big thing that’s on their minds. But this week, we needed to break the brand-new format.

Podcast production by Cheyna Roth, with editorial oversight by Susan Matthews and June Thomas.

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Each week a pair of writers and guests talk through one news story we can’t stop thinking about, and unpack what gender has to do with it.

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