13 Reasons Why Author Jay Asher is no longer a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators following allegations of sexual harassment, The Hollywood Reporter reports. In a statement to THR, executive director of the SCBWI explained that the society investigated claims against Asher and found that the author violated the group's harassment code.
The allegations against Asher came in the form of anonymous emails sent to the SCBWI. Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Asher claimed he left the society of his own volition. He also implied that the allegations were false and even a form of harassment themselves.
Explained Asher, “The truth is that I had been harassed by these people for close to 10 years...And I just could not deal with it anymore.” "These people" refers to the anonymous people who emailed the SCBWI. The author expressed frustration that, now that the allegations have come to light, he won't be believed.
“It's very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth,” Asher said. “I feel very conflicted about it just because of what's going on in the culture and who's supposed to be believed and who's not.”
BuzzFeed points out that the allegations also surfaced in the comments section of an article in the School Library Journal about sexual harassment in children's publishing. One commenter connected Asher to a Medium essay by Anne Ursu. The essay chronicled the results of a survey made in December about the pervasive culture of sexual harassment in the children's literature industry, a topic made prevalent by the #MeToo movement and Time's Up. The survey does not name authors or executives directly.
As the author of 13 Reasons Why, Asher served as an advisor to the incredibly popular Netflix TV adaptation. Netflix wrapped filming of the second season of the show — which Asher was only tangentially involved in — in December.
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