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A French publishing house announced on Monday that it had suspended plans to publish a book by author Gabriel Matzneuf, who is currently under investigation for child rape, after staff at Paris’s Nouvelle Librairie received “death threats”.

Matznef, who is 86, made no secret of his preference for sex with underage teenagers, detailing his activities on television and publishing an essay in the 1970s called “Les Moins de Seize Ans” (“under 16”).

Despite the ongoing judicial investigation against the author, the Nouvelle Librairie in Paris planned to publish a new collection of his writings under the title “Derniers écrits avant le massacre” (“Last words before the massacre”).

In a statement released Monday, the company announced that “we have been forced to postpone the release” of the book indefinitely.

“Some of the reactions were completely blown out of proportion. At a time when freedom of expression is dangerously losing ground, Nouvelle Libraire plans to defend it.

From prize winner to pariah

“But it cannot accept serious death threats against the employees it is supposed to protect,” the publisher added, saying the company had already been the target of vandalism.

Back in 2013, Matznef was honored by a wide circle of the French literary establishment, receiving the prestigious Renaud Prize for a previous collection of essays.

His situation changed after the publication in 2020 of a book by leading publisher Vanessa Springory, which describes how she was groomed by Matznef when she was 14 years old.

Springory’s book Consent, which came out in the wake of the MeToo movement, was a turning point, prompting others to come forward with allegations of abuse against Matzneuf, and sparking a wider debate about the prevalence of pedophilia in French society.

Since no recent victims have come forward to accuse Matznef, he may not stand trial as Springory’s allegations date back to the 1980s and are now beyond the legal statute of limitations.