The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao author, Junot Diaz, has pulled out of Sydney’s Writers’ Festival after sexual harassment claims were made against him.
The claims, made by author of What We Lose, Zinzi Clemmons, were brought up on Friday when she stood up during a panel and asked Diaz about an incident six years ago when Diaz allegedly harassed her.
via The Guardian
Following the allegations, Clemmons took to Twitter, saying, “I refuse to be silent anymore,” sparking more and more women to come forward about abuse inflicted on them by Diaz.
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
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. 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. https://t.co/7wuQOarBIJ
— Carmen Maria Machado (@carmenmmachado) May 4, 2018
I was 32 and my first novel hadn’t come out yet. I was invited to a dinner and sat next to him. I disagreed with him on a minor point. He shouted the word “rape” in my face to prove his. It was completely bizarre, disproportionate, and violent. https://t.co/WQr0hLW8Z5
— Monica Byrne (@monicabyrne13) May 4, 2018
Sydney Writers’ Festival savagely took to Facebook, writing “In his recent New Yorker essay, Mr. Diaz wrote, “Eventually the past finds you.” And for so many positions of power, the moment to reckon with the consequences of past behavior has arrived.”
Swiftly following the allegations and tweets, Diaz withdrew from the festival. In a statement made through his literary agent, Diaz said, “I take responsibility for my past,” without addressing anything specifically.
After his apology was released, Clemmons took to Twitter to call the release a “soup of unintelligibility.”
I have read his apology many times trying to make sense of it, but the words just rearrange into a soup of unintelligibility. You take responsibility how, in your head? What is that? And thanks for siding with your investment, Nicole Aragi. Good to know where you stand.
— zinziclemmons (@zinziclemmons) May 5, 2018
Díaz has not spoken any further regarding the allegations against him.
Featured image via Drew University