Controversy in the literary world…
According to the Associated Press on Monday, 13 Reasons Why author Jay Asher was expelled from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for harassment allegations, says executive director Lin Oliver.
While the 42-year-old was kicked out of the nonprofit writing organization in 2017, the news has resurfaced due to the emergence of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Illustrator David Diaz was dismissed for misconduct claims as well.
Oliver reveals in an email:
“Both Jay Asher and David Diaz were found to have violated the SCBWI code of conduct in regard to harassment… Claims against them were investigated and, as a result, they are no longer members and neither will be appearing at any SCBWI events in the future.”
Reportedly, the scandal began when Asher’s name frequently popped up in the comments section of a School Library Journal article on sexual harassment in children’s publishing.
One anonymous user reportedly wrote:
“I find it bizarre and horrifying that nobody has named Jay Asher… I am equally horrified at hearing of his disgusting Twitter claims of being so very pro ├óΓé¼ΓÇ£ #MeToo and #TimesUp. The irony is incredible, and belongs in an episode of Black Mirror.”
On Monday, Asher told BuzzFeed News he left the book club on his own terms as he feels he was “thrown under the bus.”
“It’s very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth… I feel very conflicted about it just because of what’s going on in the culture and who’s supposed to be believed and who’s not.”
While Oliver says the organization received anonymous complaints via email, Asher claims SCBWI told him “the emails showed nothing.”
In fact, Asher says his accusers are the ones who have “harassed” him.
“The truth is that I had been harassed by these people for close to 10 years… And I just could not deal with it anymore.”
On Tuesday, Netflix — which airs the television adaptation of Asher’s book — issued a statement saying the author was not involved in the show’s second season.
“Jay Asher was not involved in the second season of 13 Reasons Why. The upcoming season will not be impacted in any way.”
The SCBWI has more than 22,000 members worldwide, and is believed to be the largest children’s writing organization in the world.
[Image via Jay Asher/Instagram.]