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Ethically charged, controversial, and confusing, JT’s life and death sprang open a Pandora’s box of powerful questions about literature and culture, identity and celebrity, and the reality of the society we live in. Fraud? Art? Sociopathy? Complicity? The Cult of JT Leroy is a testament to this bizarre and elaborate story that has captured the attention and fascination of the world’s media, and perplexes to this day.
JT LeRoy was a teen prostitute, addicted to heroin and infected with HIV, when a therapist encouraged him to write his life story. Buoyed by a cadre of celebrities, he published three critically acclaimed books, including "Sarah" and "The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things." But as his fame skyrocketed, the shocking truth emerged: JT was not what he seemed. What followed was a downfall as bewildering as it was tragic. Drawn into LeRoy’s inner circle before the truth came to light, filmmaker Marjorie Sturm was misled like many others. Through intimate interviews with many close to the tarnished figure, Sturm attempts to untangle what really happened, and in the process explores how his deception called into question not only the value of LeRoy’s writing absent authenticity, but our culture’s complicity with the author’s seductive cult of personality.