Author Junot Díaz accused of sexual misconduct and verbal harassment

The story began last night when Zinzi Clemmons, the acclaimed writer behind last year’s novel What We Lose, claimed via Twitter that Díaz cornered and “forcibly” kissed her when she was a “wide-eyed” 26-year-old graduate student; she also claimed that she’s “far from the only one he’s done this to.” She elaborated in a second tweet that she has proof of email correspondence between herself and Díaz about the alleged incident. We must continue to teach all men about consent and boundaries.”
Díaz is most recently the author of Islandborn, a children’s books which has spent several weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. — Carmen Maria Machado (@carmenmmachado) May 4, 2018
Finally, Monica Byrne, author of the 2014 sci-fi novel The Girl in the Road, alleged misconduct against Díaz in an extended Facebook post. — zinziclemmons (@zinziclemmons) May 4, 2018
Another breakout 2017 author, Carmen Maria Machado (of the National Book Award finalist Her Body and Other Parties), then tweeted out a more in-depth story about an encounter she allegedly had with Díaz. “I’ve never experienced such virulent misogyny in my adult life,” she said. This happened and I have receipts. Absolutely.”
Through his literary agent, Díaz released a statement to the New York Times. Why am I such a threat to you? “And I couldn’t understand why. Junot Díaz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such acclaimed books as This Is How You Lose Her and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, has been accused of sexual misconduct by a prominent author and misogynistic verbal abuse by two more. She said that after she asked him a question about the This Is How You Lose Her protagonist’s “unhealthy, pathological relationship with women, he went off for me for twenty minutes.” Detailing the outburst, Machado alleged that Díaz raised his voice, paced, implied she was a “prude,” and continued to badger her until he “ran out of steam.” She also said she’s heard other stories of misconduct. I cited several passages from the book in front of me. Who am I to you? 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. He raised his voice, paced, implied I was a prude who didn’t know how to read or draw reasonable conclusions from text. The experience of that has stayed with me ever since; I mean, I left halfway through.”
Byrne added that she saw Díaz’s recent, well-received New Yorker essay, in which he revealed that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child and has spent his entire life trying to move on from the trauma, as an attempt to “get out ahead” of potential allegations of misconduct against him. I’m far from the only one he’s done this 2, I refuse to be silent anymore. In an interview with The Cut that followed her Facebook post, Byrne expanded on her allegations. When I made the mistake of asking him a question about his protagonist’s unhealthy, pathological relationship with women, he went off for me for twenty minutes. The book’s publisher, Penguin Young Readers, did not respond to a request for comment. During his tour for THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER, Junot Díaz did a Q&A at the grad program I’d just graduated from. She said, “Is it my opinion that he knew that this was coming for him and he wanted to get out ahead of it? “He made a point of talking over me, cutting me off, ignoring me.”
EW reached out to representatives for Díaz for comment, as well as to Clemmons, Machado, and Byrne, but has yet to receive any responses. “That is the reason I made the decision to tell the truth of my rape and its damaging aftermath. “I take responsibility for my past,” he said. Among other details, Byrne claimed that when she was at a dinner party with Díaz, he screamed the word rape in her face, and that several more uncomfortable encounters with him followed from there. “Every chance I gave, every time I opened my mouth, he needed to shut me down,” she said to the publication, of her experience with Díaz. — zinziclemmons (@zinziclemmons) May 4, 2018

I told several people this story at the time, I have emails he sent me afterward (*barf*). I am listening to and learning from women’s stories in this essential and overdue cultural movement. This conversation is important and must continue.
— Carmen Maria Machado (@carmenmmachado) May 4, 2018

He asked me to back up my claim with evidence.

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