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Last Saturday (25 Sep), alternative news site Rice Media published a damning exposé about Kenny Leck, the co-founder of BooksActually.

Several women had come forward with claims that Leck had made romantic overtures, including one former employee at the independent bookstore who was previously married to Leck.

One of the women, named Mel, claimed she had let Leck hug her and hold her hand because he was persistent with his advances and she didn’t want to hurt him, out of respect for what he had done for the local art scene and homegrown writers.

A day after the exposé was published, the store released a statement on Instagram, saying Leck will be relinquishing sole ownership of BooksActually.

Now, Leck himself has responded to the allegations.

BooksActually’s Kenny Leck Responded Publicly About Allegations; Says Some Allegations are “Untrue”

In a Facebook post last night (26 Sep), Leck claimed that while there were some failings on his part in the past, they no longer affect the bookstore now.

Dividing his tenure at the BooksActually into two periods, Leck admitted to his “personal failings as the individual running BooksActually” in the first period.

“These failings have caused immense pain to specific ex-employees,” he said.

He said he was experiencing trauma due to the mistakes he made in his marriage to Renée, his ex-employee.

According to Rice’s article, when they started dating, Renée and her two older sisters had been kicked out of their home. Devoting herself to BooksActually, the 19-year-old worked and slept in the Yong Siak Street store, and would barely get any days off for the next six years.

When BooksActually faced financial difficulties, Renée also claimed she stopped getting paid.

There were also claims of an extramarital affair, something which Leck addressed in his post.

“The extramarital affair has been spoken and speculated about and I do not wish to speak more about it here, save that I acknowledge causing Renee deep pain that she may never heal from,” he wrote.

Leck then confronted the allegations made by some of the women who used to work under him.

“There have been allegations, and inferences, that remain totally untrue. There will be a time when I will be ready to speak to each in detail publicly, but now is not that time. I hope you will allow me my privacy for now,” he said.

Leck claims that with his “current team”, BooksActually is no longer troubled by the “shadows of [his] personal life”.

“It continues to be run responsibly, professionally, consistent with our brand, and it has the current team whom I feel embodies its values,” he added.

Relinquishing Ownership of the Bookshop

Moving forward, Leck said he’s decided to “cede full legal ownership and directorship of BooksActually Pte Ltd to the current team, who will be the new owners.”

Consequently, he will no longer be involved in the decision-making process.

BooksActually will also be drafting and codifying workplace SOPs, which includes an anti-harassment policy for future employees, he said.

“To end, I am deeply sorry to everyone that I have caused pain to. I continue to believe in the importance of BooksActually as a milestone in our literary journey, and as an enabler of aspirations. I hope that you will continue to support the new team as they continue to forge the BooksActually journey,” he said.

You can read the full post below:

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Featured Image: Facebook (BooksActually & Kaplan Singapore)

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