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Book News: John Grisham Backs Down From Comments On Child Pornography

John Grisham, seen here in 2009, said Thursday in a statement: "I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all." Bebeto Matthews/AP hide caption

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Bebeto Matthews/AP

John Grisham, seen here in 2009, said Thursday in a statement: "I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all."

Bebeto Matthews/AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

John Grisham has backpedaled from his recent comments regarding child pornography, which were made in an interview published Thursday. The best-selling writer apologized in a statement posted on his Facebook and on his personal website, saying he "in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children."

The apology came less than a day after the interview's publication in the British newspaper The Telegraph. In the course of that conversation, Grisham touched on the topic of U.S. prison populations.

"We have prisons now filled with guys my age — 60-year-old white men, in prison, who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child. But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn."

Grisham added: "I have no sympathy for real pedophiles. God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys don't deserve harsh prison sentences, and that's what they're getting."

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The comments sparked a near-immediate firestorm online — which was followed, almost as quickly, with Grisham's apology: "Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography — online or otherwise — should be punished to the fullest extent of the law."

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