The Sydney Writers’ Festival announced Junot Díaz has withdrawn from his remaining scheduled sessions at the event Friday, amid allegations of sexual misconduct from novelist Zinzi Clemmons and numerous others. On May 4, Clemmons tweeted that Díaz once tried to “corner and forcibly kiss” her.
Junot Diaz has withdrawn from his remaining #sydneywritersfestival events following accusations of sexual harassment and assault made overnight. https://t.co/qjOhgNeZbk— steph harmon (@stephharmon) May 5, 2018
Statement from the festival below. pic.twitter.com/pUPmvnH431
In an official press release confirming the announcement the The Sydney Writers’ Festival stated, “In his recent New Yorker essay, Mr. Díaz wrote, ‘Eventually the past finds you.’ As for so many in positions of power, the moment to recon with the consequences of past behaviour has arrived.”
Fellow writer Carmen Maria Machado insinuated more allegations against Díaz were forthcoming, by retweeting Clemmons’ account and adding Díaz “has treated women horrifically in every way possible.” Reporter Aura Bogado of Reveal News tweeted that an unnamed source told her Díaz “assaulted women for 20 years” and there was possibly evidence to support the allegations.
Junot Díaz is a widely lauded, utterly beloved misogynist. His books are regressive and sexist. He has treated women horrifically in every way possible. And the #MeToo stories are just starting. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯— Carmen Maria Machado (@carmenmmachado) May 4, 2018
In October, someone I respect got in touch. She said she knew a man who's assaulted women for 20 years. He's high-profile, she told me. There were lots of stories. And letters. And emails. And tape.— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) May 5, 2018
I never pressed for who it was.
An hour ago, she messaged a name: Junot Díaz.
For his part, Díaz issued a statement to the New York Times through his literary agent.
“I take responsibility for my past,” the statement read. “That is the reason I made the decision to tell the truth of my rape and its damaging aftermath. This conversation is important and must continue. I am listening to and learning from women’s stories in this essential and overdue cultural movement. We must continue to teach all men about consent and boundaries.”
The "rape" referred to in Díaz’s statement likely refers to a New Yorker essay entitled “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma.” In the essay, Díaz recounts being raped at the age of eight, and writes, “I think about the hurt I caused.”
According to Clemmons, Machado, Bogado, and Roxanne Gay there have been allegations against Díaz for years.
I have no doubt that a lot of stories about him are about to come out, now that the damn has broken. Because there have been whispers for years.— roxane gay (@rgay) May 4, 2018