A number of authors took to Twitter last week to accuse Junot Díaz, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, of sexual harassment and other misconduct.
Allegations broke last Friday, when What We Lose author Zinzi Clemmons took to the social media platform to say that Díaz [corner[ed] and forcibly kiss[ed]” her at a workshop.
As a grad student, I invited Junot Diaz to speak to a workshop on issues of representation in literature. I was an unknown wide-eyed 26 yo, and he used it as an opportunity to corner and forcibly kiss me. I’m far from the only one he’s done this 2, I refuse to be silent anymore.
— zinziclemmons (@zinziclemmons) May 4, 2018
In a statement issued through his agent, Nicole Aragi, Díaz said: “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.”
Díaz is the latest in a string of high-profile authors—including Sherman Alexie, Jay Asher, and James Dashner—to be accused of misconduct following the Harvey Weinstein scandal last October and the consequent launch of the #MeToo movement. The news comes weeks after Díaz recounted his childhood history of sexual abuse in an essay for the New Yorker, and on the same day the Swedish Academy announced it would postpone the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature until next year due to its recent sexual assault scandal.
A representative from Riverhead, which publishes Díaz’s adult books, said that his publisher has “no comment at this time beyond that we continue to monitor the situation.”