Disclosure by Michael Crichton
Hardcover
Published in 1993 by Alfred A. Knopf

Paperback
Published in 1994 by Ballantine Books

A brutal struggle in the cutthroat computer industry; a shattering psychological game of cat and mouse; an accusation of sexual harassment that threatens to derail a brilliant career…this is the electrifying core of Disclosure.

At the center: Tom Sanders, an up-and-coming executive with DigiCom in Seattle, a man whose corporate future is certain. Until: after a closed-door meeting with his new boss — a woman who was his lover ten years before, a woman who has been promoted to the position he expected to have — he is accused of sexually harassing her. Now he finds himself trapped between what he knows to be true and what he knows others will assume to be the truth. And, as he uncovers an electronic trail into the company’s secrets, he begins to grasp just how cynical and manipulative an abuse of truth has actually occurred…

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own WordsIt’s based on a true story: two former lovers, now highly-placed executives in the same company, had competed for the same job, which went to one of them. They had then met privately one evening, and the next day each accused the other of sexual harassment. The problem for the company was what to do – fire them both? Fire neither? Keep one and fire one? If so, which one?

This story was told to me by a lawyer in 1987 as a problem of corporate governance, but I thought the story was more interesting than that. Eventually I found another use for it.

I imagined that both men and women would benefit from a better understanding of what harassment felt like. So I reversed the usual roles, allowing both men and women to experience what the other side felt like. I think this procedure worked and it made a lot of people angry.

The book was harshly criticized by feminist commentators, who saw it as just another vilification of working women. But a careful reading of their complaints made it clear to me that many had not read the book. (It’s much easier to criticize a book you haven’t read.) They had, however, read each other’s columns.

At the same time I was being criticized by leading spokeswomen, I found that working business women often went out of their way to tell me they liked the book (and later, Barry Levinson’s excellent movie.) This reaction of actual working women was in sharp distinction to their supposed spokespeople.

Eventually I concluded that working women liked the story because it focused attention on a female character they found difficult to deal with-the unscrupulous corporate climber. They weren’t able to publicly criticize these climbers, because back in those days, working women thought they should stick together and not criticize each other. So they were pleased that a book did it for them.

Michael Crichton Signature

From the Official Archives

Michael Crichton Tackles Sex

Michael Crichton was profiled by Diane Goldner in a USA Weekly magazine article in 1994, titled “Michael Crichton: The Plot Thickens”.  Here is an excerpt:

“Crichton realizes his new novel, Disclosure, out this week, could ignite a maelstrom of debate.

“The discourse on harassment,” he say, “seems to me as if it was conducted by 9-year-old virgins talking about some sexual act that none of them have ever had. But everyone’s a grown-up, everyone’s had sex, everyone knows all the feelings: the feelings of having overstepped yourself; the feelings of having done something wrong that you wished you hadn’t done; the feelings of having been talked into something; the feelings of having decided not to do something, then regretting it. Yet when the time comes to make the law, or the time comes to write the op-ed pieces, we’re all writing this kind of simple-minded, brain-dead stuff that doesn’t conform to the real world.”

Men, women, sex, power: Crichton always has had a deadly accurate eye for hot topics.”

Michael Crichton - USA Weekly - 1994

Michael Crichton in USA Weekly magazine
“Michael Crichton: The Plot Thickens” by Diane Goldner
January 7-9, 1994

Prime Provocateur

In a Time magazine profile from 1994 called “Pop Fiction’s Prime Provocoteur”, writer Gregory Jaynes and Michael Crichton discuss the controversial issue at the center of Disclosure.  Here is an excerpt:

“I can walk in the door and say what I see in the room and walk out.  That’s what I do. I tell the truth.  I believe very strongly in equality for women, and there’s only one way to get it. Egalitarian feminism says equality of opportunity and pay, period.  That’s it.  People say women have special problems. Well, men have special problems. I’m very tall.  That’s a special problem.”  Here Crichton is arguing, as his book does, against any “special protection” for women. “Equality is clear.  No favoritism is clear.  If you say, ‘No favoritism except here,’ then it’s not clear.  I think everybody understands equal.  It’s relatively easy to measure, as in exactly how far we’ve gotten and exactly how far we have to go.  Protectionism is not clear.  It’s possible to imagine there’s something even anti-American in it.  Limiting free speech …”

Disclosure - Time Magazine - 1994

Michael Crichton in Time magazine
“Pop Fiction’s Prime Provocoteur” by Gregory Jaynes
January 10, 1994

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own Words[On if he might direct another move] Yes, but I don’t know when. I like directing, but I’ve been in a writing phase, the last few years. I considered directing Disclosure for a long time, and finally decided not to because I wanted to write another book.

New York Times Best Seller List

Disclosure was #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List for 5 weeks.

Selected Passages

From the very first “Official Website”, Michael Crichton hand-picked these passages from Disclosure:

From Disclosure:
The Conley-White people were all staring at Sanders through the glass. He turned away and walked quickly toward his office, with a sense of deepening unease. Lewyn was notorious for his tendency to exaggerate, but even so, the –

It’s not right, what they’re doing.

There didn’t seem to be much doubt what that meant. Sanders wasn’t going to get a promotion. He broke into a light sweat and felt suddenly dizzy as he walked along the corridor. He leaned against the wall for a moment. He wiped his forehead with his hand and blinked his eyes rapidly. He took a deep breath and shook his head to clear it.

No promotion. Christ. He took another deep breath and walked on.

Instead of the promotion he expected, there was apparently going to be some kind of reorganization. And apparently it was related to the merger.

From Disclosure:
“Well, I’d say the problems are of the order of magnitude we general experience at this point.”

“I’m interested to hear that,” Nichols said, “because earlier today, Meredith indicated to us that the problems were actually quite serious. She said you might ever have to go back to the drawing board.”

How should he play it now? He’d already said that the problems were not so bad. He couldn’t back down. Sanders took a breath and said, “I hope I haven’t conveyed the wrong impression to Meredith. Because I have full confidence in our ability to manufacture the Twinkle drive.”

“I’m sure you do,” Nichols said. “But we’re looking down the barrel at competition from Sony and Philips, and I’m not sure that a simple expression of your confidence is adequate.”

From Disclosure:
“You’ve said you were aware of tensions from you past relationship with Mr. Sanders. Considering those past tensions, I would have thought that a meeting held in the middle of the day, without wine, would have been more professional – would have set a better tone.”

“I’m sure that’s correct in hindsight,” Meredith said. “But at the same time, this was all in the context of the acquisition meetings. Everybody was busy. I was just trying to fit the meeting with Mr. Sanders in before the Conley-White sessions the next day. That’s all I was thinking about. Schedules.”

“I see, And after Mr. Sanders left your office, why didn’t you call Mr. Blackburn, or someone else in the company, to report what had happened?”

“As I said, I was hoping it could all be overlooked.”

“Yet the episode you describe,” Murphy said, “is a serious breach of normal business behavior. As an experienced manager, you must have known the chance of a good working relationship with Mr. Sanders was nil. I would have thought you’d feel obliged to report what happened to a superior at once. And from a practical standpoint, I would have thought you’d want to go on record as soon as possible.”

“As I said I was still hoping.” She frowned, thinking. “You know, I guess … I felt responsible for Tom. As an old friend, I didn’t want to be the reason why he lost his job.”

“On the other hand, you are the reason why he lost his job.”

Book Covers

Disclosure Book Cover - Denmark

Disclosure
Denmark – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - Israel

Disclosure
Israel – 1995
Disclosure Book Cover - Japan

Disclosure
Japan – 1997
Disclosure Book Cover - Netherlands

Disclosure
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Disclosure Book Cover - Portugal

Disclosure
Portugal – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - United States

Disclosure
United States – 1997
Disclosure Book Cover - Finland

Disclosure
Finland – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - Hungary

Disclosure
Hungary – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - Hungary

Disclosure
Germany – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - Slovenia

Disclosure
Slovenia – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - France

Disclosure
France – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - Spain

Disclosure
Spain – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - Brazil

Disclosure
Brazil – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - Italy

Disclosure
Italy – 1994
Disclosure Book Cover - Poland

Disclosure
Poland – 1995

Movie

Disclosure based on the novel by Michael Crichton

Disclosure was one of the Top 15 movies of 1994.

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own WordsI know a lot about movies, and have made them myself, so I know what to expect. And actually, in general, I feel I have been pretty lucky with the movie versions of my books. I’m particularly happy with Jurassic Park and with Disclosure.

Disclosure

Release Date: December 9, 1994
Running Time: 2 hrs. 12 min.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Barry Levinson
Screenwriter: Paul Attanasio
Based on the novel by: Michael Crichton
Studio: Warner Bros.
Starring: Michael Douglas, Demi Moore, Donald Sutherland, Roma Maffia, Dennis Miller, Dylan Baker,

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