John Grisham apologizes for defending child porn offenders

Jose Luis Magana/AP file photoIn an interview published Wednesday

John Grisham, master of plot twists, should have seen this one coming. The best-selling author of airport bookstore paperbacks was forced to issue an apology Thursday for a rambling tirade against prison sentences for child porn offenders.

“My comments … during an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children,” he wrote in a statement on his website. “I can think of nothing more despicable.”

Grisham told The Telegraph on Wednesday that the U.S. had “gone crazy” incarcerating people over the past few decades. More specifically, child porn users. Even more specifically, “60-year-old white men in prison.”

Extremely specifically, his “good buddy from law school.”

“His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labeled '16-year-old wannabee hookers' or something like that,” Grisham told The Telegraph. “So he went there. Downloaded some stuff — it was 16-year-old girls who looked 30.

“He shouldn't 'a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn't 10-year-old boys. He didn't touch anything. And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: FBI.”

Even as Grisham bemoaned the fate of his incarcerated buddy and all other offenders in prison “who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child,” Salon.com tracked him through court records. Grisham's law school buddy served a little over a year and is practicing law again.

There was no update on the “16-year-old girls who looked 30.”

QUICK TAKES

Actress-drag queen Jackie Beat, who is coming to town for a Project Hope benefit Oct. 25, is eager to hit Pancho Villa Taqueria with local drag star Heklina; “She must take every visiting drag queen there for the amazing food, because Lady Bunny is obsessed with it, too,” Beat told GayCities.com. … Actress Jennifer Lawrence pledges her loyalty to bread, telling Vanity Fair the gluten-free trend is “the new cool eating disorder, the 'basically I just don't eat carbs.'” … “Modern Family” actress Elizabeth Peña's death Tuesday was due to natural causes, her publicist says; she was 55.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Actor Chris Lowell (“Veronica Mars”) is 30. … Singer Chris Kirkpatrick of 'N Sync is 43. … Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els is 45. … Reggae singer Ziggy Marley is 46. … Director Mike Judge (“Idiocracy”) is 52. … Country singer Alan Jackson is 56. … Actor George Wendt (“Cheers”) is 66. … Actor Michael McKean (“This is Spinal Tap”) is 67. … Actress Julie Adams (“Creature from the Black Lagoon”) is 88. … Actress Marsha Hunt (“Born to the West”) is 97.

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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