Junot Díaz has withdrawn from the Sydney Writers’ festival after he was called out by multiple women for sexual harassment.
In case you missed it: Zinzi Clemmons, author of 2017 novel What We Lose, took to her Twitter yesterday to tell how she was assaulted by Diaz when she was 26 years old.
“As a grad student, I invited Junot Díaz to speak to a workshop on issues of representation in literature,” Clemmons wrote in a tweet. “I was an unknown wide-eyed 26 year old, and he used it as an opportunity to corner and forcibly kiss me. I’m far from the only one he’s done this to, I refuse to be silent anymore.”
And shortly after, other writers, Carmen Maria Machado and Monica Byrne took to their social media to also tell how he violently abused them for confronting over the rampant misogyny in his works.
Reacting to the accusation, Díaz responded to the claims through his literary agent in a statement to the New York Times, saying, “I take responsibility for my past. 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.”
This comes barely a month after he penned an essay in which he talked about how he abuse he suffered as a child ‘fucked up’ his whole life and caused him to ‘hurt’ women.
Now, he has withdrawn from the Sydney Writer’s festival.
According to Guardian UK, “the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne confirmed confirmed Díaz’s planned appearance there on Monday would no longer take place after the cancellation of the rest of his tour.”