Rev. Leonard Payne’s Plagiarism — An Update & A Thank You

The outpouring of support after yesterday’s post on Leonard Payne’s admitted theft of 190 pages of my work has meant more than I can properly express. I don’t think I can thank you all enough or properly. Whether you commented here, on FB, on Twitter, or by email, your words felt like a soothing balm or a hug. I was particularly touched by an email from Belgium where the person found me because of Tom Ford (and his Bitter Peach) but stayed for Apollo and my writing. Thank you — to each and every one of you.

Many of you have suggested I sue the not-so-good Reverend. I wanted to address that point tonight in an update that also includes new things that I’ve learned about Mr. Payne.

Leonard Payne. Photo: Archant 2011 viathe Daily Mail 2015.

Some of you would have made an excellent detective in another life. For example, a longstanding reader, the sweet “Lellabelle23” who left a comment about the range of Mr. Payne’s alleged prior theft victims, which allegedly includes Jean-Claude Ellena amongst others:

It looks like there’s a third book in Mr. Payne’s Amazon credits: “Perfume Recipes”. I will not post the link here. I wonder to what extent both this, and the Perfume Accords books have been lifted from other sources? A quick search of the quoted material returns results for a couple of other perfume books, including Natural Perfumes (Mindy Green), Perfume, the Alchemy of Scent (JCE) and The Chemistry of Fragrances (Charles Sell). The cover of Perfume Recipes uses an image I recognize from Canva.

While I sincerely hope that this awful plagiarism of your work is an isolated incident, I’m not holding out much hope that this is the case… [Emphasis in bold added by me.]

Mr. Payne’s “Perfume Accords” book does not appear to be stolen from Mandy Aftel but allegedly from JK DeLapp of Rising Phoenix Perfumery.

Meanwhile, a European perfumer informed me of other alleged shenanigans, this time allegedly involving Arcadi Boix des Camps Perfumery, Allured Books publishing, and Perfumery & Flavorist. He wrote to me the following:

Meanwhile, Laurin @LaurinEmily on Twitter found a few more things on Mr. Payne, from yet another curated book — this time on the notorious, controversial Jordan Petersen (“a curation of material concerning the so-called “Intellectual Dark Web” and the role of Jordan Peterson. It contains biographical data on the main characters as well as appreciation and critique“)— to Payne’s hilarious bio:

Source: Laurin @LaurinEmily on Twitter.

Source: Amazon.

Many of you have told me to sue. I’m considering it. However, the basic reality of litigation, let alone transnational litigation as would be the case here, is that the costs would likely outweigh any damages/award. (It’s not as though Payne made millions on a best-seller.) From service of process in England to filing fees in one jurisdiction, possibly two, to legal fees (“a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client“), and more, whatever measly amount that I might be awarded as my “actual damages” from his sales would be eaten up long before the jury convened.

I bet Mr. Payne counts on this just as much as he counts on his victims not ever finding out what he did to ask for their share or to sue him.

HOWEVER, a class action comprised of potentially similarly-situated aggrieved people — like Jean-Claude Ellena, the New York Times journalist, JK deLapp, Mr. Arcadi Boix & Arcadi Boix Camps Perfumes, Perfumery & Flavorist, Allured Publishing, Mindy Green, Charles Sell, myself, and others— would yield results that might easily justify transnational litigation costs. The damages incurred by Jean-Claude Ellena alone from having parts of his best-seller book allegedly lifted and produced for someone else’s financial windfall could be notable. And written discovery would be significantly easier and more cost-effective when it came to showing “a pattern and practice” of theft, profits received from all of Payne’s “books,” and any documentation that he may have that showed he asked for and received consent from each author to use their intellectual property. (Obviously, such documentation is unlikely and his responses to a simple discovery question on that point could be devastating.) Further, once all the basic filing and service of process fees were paid, deposing Payne in the era of Covid by Zoom would be easy and low-cost. It’s simply the lawyer fees that would add up, but those would be dealt with by a contingency fee in the case of a class-action. Having a class-action would facilitate quite a bit since I could run things as the lead/named Plaintiff and the similarly situated folk wouldn’t have to do anything at all. They’d just receive notification and then, later, a share of the award or settlement after the litigator’s contingency fee and costs were subtracted.

Do I really want to go through all this? Not particularly. But again, filing a class-action would make everything much easier, especially with the devastating legal impact of Payne’s long pattern and practice of theft and especially if I’m leaving the daily litigation grind and paperwork to someone else.

The real point of all this would be to teach Mr. Payne such a lesson that he never does this again. Would someone quite so brazen and shameless ever change simply because of yesterday’s blog post on his plagiarism? Unlikely, given his seemingly long practice of appropriating other people’s ideas and work for his own financial windfall. But maybe a lawsuit and damages award against him would hit him hard enough to make him reconsider his means of paying for sherry, “nice wine,” and “chjeese” (sic) since I’m assuming a small village vicar’s salary can’t pay for it all.

On the other hand, someone pointed out that a lawsuit might let Payne present himself as a martyr of “cancel culture” when all he was trying to do, he claims, was to save and protect perfume-writing for the masses. (Charging $60 a pop somewhat undercuts the great savior argument, as do many other aspects of this case, but Payne’s introduction shows that logic is not necessarily a close acquaintance of his.) (Ethics certainly aren’t.)

Bottom line: I’m keeping all my options open and assessing numerous different aspects of the facts in this case and in prior ones.

Before I end this, I want to repeat my thanks and my gratitude to all of you for your support, your indignation or outrage on my behalf, and your kind words. It really means a lot, more than I could possibly convey here. I send a warm hug to each and every one of you.

Four-month-old baby Apollo with his constantly changing donkey ears sends you sharp little nibbles as thanks as well. And to end on a happier note, here is the little hellion before and after he traumatized the vet and several of the staff last week over having his nails cut. To quote Dr. H., Apollo is “50 pounds of of drama, tantrums, willfulness, & strength.” Or, as I like to put it, a bigger diva and drama queen than Paris Hilton and the entire cast of the Real Housewives of New Jersey and New York combined.


45 thoughts on “Rev. Leonard Payne’s Plagiarism — An Update & A Thank You

  1. Wow. I had missed your first post from yesterday. I’m sorry this ass has stolen the product of all your hard work.

  2. This criminal needs to answer for his crimes *somehow*. Isn’t that (ostensibly) why courts exist in the first place?!

  3. Excellent analysis of the legal issues. I didn’t know this man lived in England. Having handled transnational cases and had to deal with the drama and hassle of serving someone in England in a case filed in the US, you are right, it’s not worth it as a single plaintiff, but the idea of the class action is a good one. Having also handled a few big class actions those can be a lot of work but it would send a message to the hypocrite in chief aka the “Reverend.” Ugh. His photo made me want to hurl…
    Good luck with it all and know that there are a lot of us who support you 100% and who know how hard you work on all your perfume writings.

    • I’m so glad someone understands how the minutiae, costs, and logistics of litigation don’t always warrant action. Hollywood has given the average person a completely distorted impression of how litigation works. And they certainly never discuss the crucial, critical role of “actual damages” versus a mere violation of rights or the law. A violation is not, solely by itself, full and sufficient reason enough to sue unless you’ve got money to burn in seeking to make a point à la Taylor Swift or groups like the ACLU.

      But in a class action alleging a pattern and practice which has impacted a wide group of people, including those who may not have bought Jean-Claude Ellena’s book as a result of the alleged misappropriation, but also misleading, fraudulent activity that gipped people like Mr. Stoller out of $60 on the promise of original content… that might be a whole other ball of wax.

      PS– If I haven’t said this before, please know it’s been true for ages: I adore you, my dear.

    • Thank you! 🙂

      As for Apollo, he’s a naughty little stinker but he’s also sufficiently adorable to save his neck after he does something dastardly like eat a good portion of my upcoming Chanel review draft. ♥️

  4. I think in my country (as in (m)any), priests are the fathers of all thiefs. They have stollen even God from us! He deserves the walk of shame

    • The anger, pain, and grief behind your words are palpable. I’m genuinely sorry for what so many have gone through at the hands of those who were supposed to be protectors, saviors, or guardians. Those wounds or scars don’t fade easily — if at all, if ever.

  5. Pingback: Theft, Leonard Payne, & The AbdesSalaam Attar Book – Kafkaesque

    • Awwww, that’s so lovely about Apollo. But I won’t tell him because, lord knows, his head and his ego are already bigger than his fangs. 😉 heh.

      Apollo jokes aside, thank you, Mario, for your comments both yesterday and today in support and for your solidarity and kindness.

  6. To paraphrase his own work, ‘Chjeese-us’. Utterly mind-boggling. (Although he’s given me an idea of a book I might now ‘write’ about a young boy wizard – Garry Hopper and his two friends, Ermine and Ray.)

    • Gioff, I love you so much, darling. You made me snort out my 3 a.m. sip of wine and ridiculously late dinner. “Garry Hopper and his two friends, Ermine and Ray.”

      I will call you this weekend if things calm down. In the meantime, give David a kiss from me and know I send many to you, cheri. Bisous xoxo.

  7. I hope horrible things rain down on this terrible person! When we had really, really bad experience with an insane commercial landlord we got our dogs a large toy doll and wrote his name on it. It probably did not do any magical damage to the man (sadly) but it gave us a small degree of therapeutic satisfaction when the dogs ripped it to shreds. I bet Apollo would be delighted to do something similar for you.

    • Oh Bee, we must be birthed from the same pool of futile but endlessly gratifying gestures.

      I shall do as you suggested, more for me than for Apollo, aka Young Hannibal Lecter and Jeffrey Dahmer’s grandson, who has NOT A SINGLE WHIT of concern, interest, or discerningin taste when it comes to things that he eats.

      Thank you for the laugh, my dear. (Apollo might thank you, too, for thinking of him, but he is literally in the dog house right now… )

  8. I am not only upset because of what this person did to you and others with his plagiarism but also think of the people he is supposed to be ministering to as a Reverend. It is just a sad situation all around.

    My Pomeranians send lots of love to Apollo, and hope should they ever meet him that he doesn’t mistake them for a toy .

    • Lol, you are very sweet, as much with regard to Apollo as with regard to this other situation.

      Unfortunately, Apollo is currently a total hooligan, no matter how many hours I train him a day. But he’s getting a specialist behavioral trainer evaluation Saturday (with course openings at the end of May), so hopefully he can meet your Poms in the future one day and be a calm, well-mannered boy instead of a whirling dervish and agent of mayhem.

      (Give your furry ones a kiss from me.)

  9. United We Stand. I applaud your idea of a class action suit and also believe that unless action is taken the “bad reverend” will feel quite jolly knowing he has gotten away with his low-class frauds. Your work is YOURS, whether you gain financially from it or not.Your thoughts, writings, etc., are not someone else’s to present, but are an integral part of YOU. We have all benefitted so much through the years from your insights, writings and knowledge. I credit you with my return to the world of perfume and finding delight and, dare I say it, love of the world of scent again after several life crises had lain me low. You have touched many people, and please know that we all support you, whatever you decide to do. And hopefully Apollo will come to his adult senses soon.

  10. This is absolutely despicable conduct and I’m embarrassed to discover that he’s English. I hope you do manage to bring a group action to make this individual pay for his repeated plagiarisms.And I hope Apollo brings you consolation along with the friendly bites!

  11. I’ve been involved in litigation since 2014. And it’s horrible; the costs are ruinous. But I also believe in principles. There are so many things wrong with this situation: his being a “reverend,” charging outrageous sums for work that it’s not his, for stealing from multiple people, and the theft of your work, labor that took hours. Your writing further legitimized my love of perfume, and you taught me more about perfume than anyone else. I have several lovely and amazing vintage Shalimars because of you and some lovely ouds. You have broadened my whole world with perfume, art, food, scotch–and even butter (St. Clair Scents)! As challenging as a lawsuit is (and don’t I know it), I really support you in this endeavor, and think a class action would be worth it. This is not about “cancel culture”: it’s about a more recent culture of privilege and corruption, people stealing and getting away with it. I think the last 4 years here in the US have made me see even more the way the money has flowed to an elite that think nothing of robbing and pillaging. I’m very bitter about it all, so I think the “good reverend” at least, should pay the piper–even across the pond.

  12. As with the others, I find it despicable and also think you should sue him. You have many supporters, so be well.

  13. I thought that had to be a fake photo from a Monty Python movie or something like that. He’s actually a real vicar?? Stunning. Surreal. Thank you for the photos of Apollo at the close. The best emotional antidote I can think of for that vile man and his outrageous hubris and larcenous actions. But I do hope you can pursue a class action suit.

  14. It might have got lost, so I stole your stuff .
    How do you even justify that ?
    I’ll tell you what though, if Leonard Payne , excuse me ,
    The Rev. Leonard Payne, can justify that, well he can justify about anything.
    I watched a few of his videos on You Tube .
    There are a number of people from his church in them ; some young , some elderly .
    Some of them are impressionable , some look too for comfort and lasting guidance .
    How do you go to people and tell them to be good and truthful,
    when who and what you are nothing more then deceitful fabrications .
    Why distort the trust of innocence and reliance .
    What have they learned
    We are our brothers keepers Kafkaesque .

    Howdy hi Apollo.
    Had a good chuckle with the drama queens.
    best wishes , eddie.

  15. I am so sorry to read of this theft! Have you been in contact yet with any of the big publishers of the other authors whose work was stolen? It would take Simon and Schuster or Penguin Books no time at all to send cease and desist letters, both to a plagiarist and to Amazon. I know you’re qualified to send those yourself, but Amazon might respond more quickly to big publishing houses. And the big publishers have offices in the UK which might make them take notice. Also, if this man is a Church of England retiree, he gets a pension from them and they might have some oversight role over retirees. The email for what seems to be his last-known diocese is Again, I’m so sorry.

  16. Yes, we, (JK and I) have determined that JK DeLapp is the author of the formulas in the Perfume Accords book. The Perfume Recipes book and the Perfumery: Simple Recipes books are still under investigation, but JK may also be the author as well.

      • No, I believe you. My focus is on how yo make Payne pay, metaphorically or literally. If he thinks transnational litigation costs are going to save his sherry and cheese account, he has another thing coming.

        And I’m getting angrier by the day.

    • So goddamn infuriating how blithely and frequently he’s done this. And no-one has ever known until now@ Has he claimed in the introduction to those stolen JK books that he was grateful to JK and would gladly pay him as well (while never once actually informing JK of his theft that kept the vicar in “fine wine and chjeese (sic))?”

      The fact that he….no, I get too angry and I’m just going to grit my teeth lest I say something I’ll regret.

  17. Some of these “priests” really are disgrace to humankind and the God they claim to serve…If they’re not molesting children they’re committing fraud!

  18. This same Leonard Payne credits himself with having written several non-perfumery titles—not just the Jordan Peterson book, but also:

    “Sneaker Hustle: Making Money from Sneakers”
    “How to Start Your Own Day Spa”
    “Virtual Summit Profits: The Complete Playbook”
    “Barista: A Gift Journal for Coffee Lovers”

    and my favorite title:

    “Tesla: The Complete Patents of Nikolas Tesler” [sic].

    Plus, with uncharacteristic humility, he presents himself as editor rather than author of “Apollo 13: LM Systems Activation Checklist.”

    Truly, his range of expertise is astounding.

    All these books are issued through the self-publishing outfit, Lulu ( If you haven’t done so already, you might rattle sabers at Lulu, which probably doesn’t want its entire business going down over one “author’s” copyright violations.

    I have no idea why Rev. Payne would have begun cranking these books out in 2018. Prior to this, he was apparently only known outside his home town of Wrentham for two things: 1) hosting a surprisingly successful podcast of Christian homilies in 2005, and 2) suffering a heart attack in 2015 while overseeing repairs of the roof of his church, for which repairs he had received a £69K government grant.

    The thought occurred to me that this might not only be a case of IP theft, but also of identity theft. That seems less likely given this:

    I haven’t compared the voice to that in the 2005 podcast (mostly because I haven’t found that earlier podcast), but assuming they match, Rev. Payne seems to be reliving his moment of glory with a perfume-themed podcast—although, so far as I can tell, he’s only recorded this one episode. I guess it didn’t get as many downloads as his sermons. I wonder from whom he stole his opinions of cK One?

  19. Blessings to your new big baby Apollo and his wondrously floppy ears and a big fat BOO to Payne, may his cheese be like rubber and his wine taste like vinegar! Don’t let him put you off the English Kafka, we’re actually a really decent bunch apart from the odd reprobate as you’ve sadly discovered. xx

  20. That this could happen seems both incredulous and at the same time par for the course of the times we live in, it would appear. You have my full support!

  21. You keep referring to Jordan Peterson as “controversial”. Is this a term we give now to people with different opinions? I’m not particularly a fan of Peterson but I do mind these labels as they amount basically to a character assassination.

    • I made no character assassination statement on Petersen himself or his philosophy or beliefs. “Controversial” refers to the polarized reaction to his views. If you do not think that his views raise controversy, then I don’t know what to tell you.

      • For example, do you refer to President Macron as controversial too? More than half the country doesn’t agree with him… In the article you complain how this world is unfair to you and at the same time you assign false negative identity to people you don’t like. Just be upfront and say you don’t like his views.

        • I complained that the “world is unfair to me? Lolol This in a post NOT about Petersen but about someone proudly admitting they’ve stolen 80% of my work?

          “Negative false identity” when I haven’t said a word about Petersen’s actual opinions? Lmao.

          Dude, pot, kettle, black about views you don’t like.

          Petersen was a passing reference in one post centered entirely on a crazy vicar who has proudly admitted to stealing my work, work that constitutes 80% of a book that he’s charging $60 for without ever giving me a cent.

          If you want to have a total meltdown over a passing reference to my description of people’s polarized response to Petersen, methinks you have a lot more at stake than you’re admitting to.

          And LOLOLOL at your shifty false equivalence about Macron who, last I checked, the self-confessed plagiarizing vicar had not stolen from.

          If anyone is having an absolute total conniption over the most passing of irrelevant comments, thereby showing much more at stake here than your initial portrayal of your stake in this, it’s you.

          Now, since this is my site, you’ve come into my house will clear bad-faith bullshit (Macron… ), either fuck off, don’t continue to follow, or just continue to froth rapidly like a personally wounded snowflake victim as I just ignore you.

          Doesn’t matter which option you choose. I shan’t block you. Vent away, dude. I’ll just sit here, laugh, and mock your double standards, especially when you say “just be upfront and say you don’t like his views.” Rofl. Clown.

          • You have no logical answer to my points so you respond like most people: profanity and/or blocking because you feel shame over your actions.Try to think whether this whole thing is not karma – you get back what you put out…

          • I’ve had plenty of logical responses to you. You’re ignoring them and not discussing their substance whilst continuing to spin your wheels in further and further bad-faith arguments.

            And, as you can tell, you haven’t been blocked. You can continue to obfuscate as much as you want. Don’t take my amusement at your obvious snowflake meltdown as sign of your supposed victim hood. Post away. Gaslight away. At some point, though, I’ll get bored enough to let you froth away.

            I mean, my lord, that out of the blue, unrelated Macron thing was a hoot, not to mention your pathological, incessant bleating about Petersen for a post in which he has 0.0000001% relevance only in terms of the plagiarizing vicar.

            Froth on, my dude. Froth on.

  22. Theft of ideas is so personal, and so hateful. I’m sorry he chose to do this. You give so freely of your time, and you’ve created this gorgeous corner of the inter net, where we can learn about your perfume experiences down to perfect tiny details-I’m fuming, and probably not making much sense. Please know you have a unique voice, and a unique prescience, and we appreciate you. Hope your puppy is well.

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