NEW YORK (WASHINGTON POST) – Prize-winning writer Junot Diaz has withdrawn from a writers’ pageant amid allegations that he had forcefully kissed a lady and confirmed aggressive behaviour in the direction of others.
Writer Zinzi Clemmons stated the incident occurred when she was a 26-year-old graduate pupil. She had invited Diaz to talk at a workshop, however Diaz “used it as an opportunity to corner and forcibly kiss me,” Clemmons wrote on Twitter.
Other feminine writers have since come ahead, accusing Diaz of mistreatment and misogynistic verbal abuse.
Diaz, who gained the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao, and his agent, Nicole Aragi, didn’t reply to emails from The Washington Post requesting touch upon Saturday (May 5).
In an announcement to The New York Times, he stated: “I take responsibility for my past. That is the reason I made the decision to tell the truth of my rape and its damaging aftermath. This conversation is important and must continue. I am listening to and learning from women’s stories in this essential and overdue cultural movement. We must continue to teach all men about consent and boundaries.”
Sydney Writers’ Festival introduced Diaz’s withdrawal from the days-long event, which ends on Sunday.
“As for so many in positions of power, the moment to reckon with the consequences of past behaviour has arrived,” the organisation stated in an announcement. “Sydney Writers’ Festival is a platform for the sharing of powerful stories: urgent, necessary and sometimes difficult. Such conversations have never become more timely.”
Diaz is the newest in an extended parade of well-known males to be accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour. The accusation from Clemmons, who teaches writing at Occidental College in Los Angeles, additionally comes because the publishing trade reels from allegations in opposition to different distinguished authors.
On Friday, the identical day Clemmons went public along with her story, the Swedish Academy introduced it won’t award the Nobel Prize in literature in 2018 following a sexual misconduct scandal.
Clemmons first confronted Diaz throughout a dwell Q&A session on Friday on the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the place Diaz was a panelist. Clemmons shocked the gang after she grabbed a microphone, not bothering to introduce herself, and questioned Diaz concerning the incident six years in the past, when she was a graduate pupil at Columbia University, folks who witnessed the alternate informed BuzzFeed.
Clemmons additionally requested Diaz a few current New Yorker article, during which Diaz revealed he had been raped as a baby, and whether or not it was meant to preempt misconduct accusations in opposition to him, in line with BuzzFeed.
Writer Alexander Luft, who watched the alternate, stated on Twitter the viewers “seemed to instantly rally around Diaz” and needed Clemmons to “stop questioning him”.
Luft informed BuzzFeed that Clemmons started strolling out of the venue whereas she and Diaz had been nonetheless speaking.
Clemmons’ agent didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
After Clemmons elaborated on her accusation on Twitter, author Monica Byrne responded in a collection of tweets with extra allegations. Byrne stated she was as soon as invited to a dinner the place Diaz was additionally current, and the 2 had an argument about points ladies in publishing face. Byrne described the encounter as “virulent misogyny” and stated Diaz shouted the phrase “rape” whereas speaking to her.
Carmen Maria Machado, additionally an writer, additionally stated Diaz “went off” on her for 20 minutes in entrance of an viewers after she requested him about his e-book, This Is How You Lose Her, throughout a Q&A session at a e-book tour.
“He raised his voice, paced, implied I was a prude who didn’t know how to read or draw reasonable conclusions from text,” Machado wrote on Twitter.
In a prolonged weblog put up, writer and former Boston Globe reporter Alisa Valdes stated she was castigated after she spoke out greater than 10 years in the past about Diaz’s mistreatment of her.
Valdes stated she met Diaz when she was an aspiring novelist in her 20s. She stated Diaz informed her he would assist her profession and satisfied her to sleep with him. Valdes did, she wrote, pondering they had been “soul mates,” “two bright rising star Latino writers” collectively.
“It was painful and upsetting. I had admired him, and thought he cared about me, but he was just using me for… I don’t know what for, honestly. Just using me. He had no intention of ever introducing me to anyone in publishing, and he never did,” Valdes wrote.
EJ Dickson, a deputy digital editor for Men’s Health Magazine, stated the accusations in opposition to Diaz aren’t a shock.
“Everyone in the literary world/the media knew this, or suspected it,” Dickson wrote on Twitter. “And yet, when Junot Diaz published his New Yorker Essay – a pre-emptive strike if there ever was one – we gave him nothing but plaudits.”
In the New Yorker piece, “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma,” which was revealed in April, Diaz stated he was raped when he was eight by a grown-up whom he “truly trusted”.
“More than being Dominican, more than being an immigrant, more, even than being of African descent, my rape defined me. I spent more energy running from it than I did living… The rape excluded me from manhood, from love, from everything,” he wrote.
The New Yorker didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Quill Books & Beverage, a bookstore in Westbrooke, Maine, and Duende District, a pop-up bookstore, have each introduced they’ll cease carrying Diaz’s books.
Diaz was born within the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. His first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao, was revealed in 2007 and gained the Pulitzer Prize the next 12 months.
He can be a inventive writing professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A spokeswoman didn’t reply to a request for remark, however a college official informed The Post that MIT had not recognized of the allegations in opposition to Diaz.
Other male authors confronted misconduct allegations over the previous months.
Jay Asher, writer of the young-adult novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, parted methods together with his agent after his identify got here up in on-line conversations about harassment.
In a prolonged assertion posted on Twitter in February, Maze Runner writer James Dashner, who was dropped by Random House following allegations of mistreating ladies, stated he by no means meant to harm one other individual and he takes the accusations severely.