U.S. denies entry to British sex, drugs memoir writer

Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:35pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. immigration officials denied British author Sebastian Horsley entrance to the United States on Wednesday on the grounds of "moral turpitude," Horsley told Reuters on Thursday.

Tired from his return trip to London and eight hours of detention with U.S. customs officials, the 45-year-old artist and author of the lurid autobiography of drug addiction and sex "Dandy in the Underworld," admitted that his flamboyant dress and top hat may have caught the attention of U.S. officials.

"I was wearing my dandy uniform, but the customs officials were wearing uniforms too and I didn't object to them," he said.

Horsley was stopped by immigration officials at New York's Newark airport after flying in from London to promote his book, which the author calls a "moral book."

"They said I was suffering from moral turpitude," Horsley said. "I was very surprised. I'm feeling quite well. I've never drunk turpentine in my life."

Horsley claims to have slept with more than 1,000 prostitutes, worked as a male escort, been in and out of rehab to treat drug addiction and staged a self-crucifixion in the Philippines in 2000.

"He is very honest about his life. That is who Sebastian is," said Seale Ballenger, spokesman for HarperCollins Publishers.

Ballenger said a party in New York that was meant to be the U.S. launch for the book, ended up being a rally for support to bring the author back to the United States.

Horsley said that after several hours of questioning in which customs officials asked him whether he used drugs, had solicited prostitutes or been convicted of any crimes, he was put on a plane back to London.   Continued...

<p>An undated image of the cover of Sebastian Horseley's "Dandy in the Underworld", released to Reuters on March 20, 2008. REUTERS/HarperCollins/Handout</p>