Weeks after his New Yorker essay on familial, sexual assault received praise and respect for admission, author Junot Diaz is being accused of sexual harassment himself. The Pulitzer Prize-winner has since been accused on social media platforms by multiple women, all with individual recollections of incidents.
In the early hours of Thursday (May 4), Zinzi Clemmons, author of novel What We Lose, tweeted how Diaz cornered and forcibly kissed her during her tenure as a graduate student. A little more than an hour later, Carmen Maria Machado, the author of Her Body and Other Parties, responded with her own experience at the hands of Diaz, relaying an alleged aggressive demeanor.
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
“When I made the mistake of asking him a question about his protagonist’s unhealthy, pathological relationship with women, he went off [on] me for twenty minutes,” she wrote. “He raised his voice, paced, implied I was a prude who didn’t know how to read or draw reasonable conclusions from text.” The author created a Twitter thread that detailed the event. The recurring themes were “bullying and misogyny,” Publishers Weekly reported.
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
Amongst the many authors that are under scrutiny for sexual misconduct, Diaz is the latest. He’s preceded by authors like Jay Asher, James Dashner, and Sherman Alexie. The Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement have encouraged people everywhere to come forth with their stories.
The accusations come amid saddening news that the Swedish Academy will delay awarding Nobel prizes for literature due to recurring allegations against photographer and culture figure Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of author and academy member Katarina Frostenson. Toward the end of 2017, published details by Dagens Nyheter revealed accusations by 18 women.
Diaz has yet to the respond to the accusations.