13 Reasons Why Author Jay Asher Responds To Reports That He Was "Expelled" From Literary Organization
Update: February 14, 2018 at 5:o0 p.m.
A spokesperson for author Jay Asher provided the following statement in response to reports that Asher had been expelled from the SCBWI. The statement alleges that Asher left of his own accord, agreeing never to return to conferences held by the society. Asher left due to the "hurt feelings of a group of authors with whom he had consensual relationships that ended poorly." The statement also alleges the Lin Oliver's statement about the SCBWI investigating allegations of harassment is "defamatory" and is seeking for the statements to be retracted.
Read the full statement, below.
"The SCBWI's recent statement about author Jay Asher is completely false. There was no allegation, investigation or finding of sexual harassment.
In April 2017, Mr. Asher voluntarily agreed that he would no longer attend SCBWI conferences. This was in response to hurt feelings of a group of authors with whom he had consensual relationships that ended poorly.
Mr. Asher was not banned by the SCBWI. In fact, when he let his membership in the group lapse last summer, Lin Oliver, the group's executive director, suggested that he keep his membership going. He did as requested, and Mr. Asher's membership is active today.
These women were not subordinates of Mr. Asher; they were his peers and they each entered into romantic relationships with him voluntarily, with some initially pursuing him.
Mr. Asher was married at the time of these relationships, as were many of the women. He is deeply sorry for the pain these consensual decisions caused his family, and others.
The false statements to the news media have resulted in inaccurate and hurtful news coverage, which is threatening Mr. Asher's livelihood. Mr. Asher has retained legal counsel and is demanding SCBWI and Lin Oliver promptly retract the false and defamatory statements they made."
Original story follows.
13 Reasons Why Author Jay Asher is no longer a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators following allegations of sexual harassment, The Hollywood Reporter reports. In a statement to THR, executive director of the SCBWI explained that the society investigated claims against Asher and found that the author violated the group's harassment code.
The allegations against Asher came in the form of anonymous emails sent to the SCBWI. Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Asher claimed he left the society of his own volition. He also implied that the allegations were false and even a form of harassment themselves.
Explained Asher, “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.” "These people" refers to the anonymous people who emailed the SCBWI. The author expressed frustration that, now that the allegations have come to light, he won't be believed.
“It's very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth,” Asher said. “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.”
BuzzFeed points out that the allegations also surfaced in the comments section of an article in the School Library Journal about sexual harassment in children's publishing. One commenter connected Asher to a Medium essay by Anne Ursu. The essay chronicled the results of a survey made in December about the pervasive culture of sexual harassment in the children's literature industry, a topic made prevalent by the #MeToo movement and Time's Up. The survey does not name authors or executives directly.
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