The Pulitzer Prize board has stated that it will begin investigating accusations of sexual misconduct that have been made against its chairman, author Junot Díaz. The writer became chairman earlier this year in April but has since stepped down from the position, though he will remain on the board. Author Zinzi Clemmons has accused him of forcibly kissing her six years ago when she was a student.
The Pulitzer Prize winning author has since taken responsibility for his actions and, as the BBC reports, he has apparently welcomed Pulitzer’s investigation and will cooperate with it in full. Just last month, Díaz penned an article for The New Yorker magazine, which revealed that he was raped as a child. He has also issued a statement in response to Ms. Clemmons’s allegations, 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,” he said.
“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.”
Mr. Díaz was confronted by Ms. Clemmons at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on 4 May. She noted the article he had written and then asked why he had treated that way. She also implied she was not the only woman he had assaulted and added that she believes the article he wrote was published in order to divert attention from his own misconduct.
Several more female authors have accused Mr. Díaz of aggressive behaviour and of misogynistic comments. This is the latest allegation of sexual misconduct in the world of writing. As we reported, the poet Amy K. Blakemore has accused an editor at Penguin Random House of assault and the Nobel Prize for literature is being postponed this year following sexual assault accusations against the husband of a member of the board.
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