With all the #MeToo reckoning, Author Junot Diaz is one of the latest accused of sexual misconduct. On May 4, Zinzi Clemmons, author of What We Lose, decided enough was enough and shared her own story. Because of this, many other writers spoke out against Diaz online.
The first allegations against Diaz showed up on Twitter late Thursday. Zinzi Clemmons accused the Drown author of forcibly kissing her after cornering her.
Clemmons says she told many people about the happenings with Diaz. She also has emails sent by Diaz after the incident. Since then, Clemmons has avoided literary functions to avoid people like Diaz.
More Writers Come Forward to Share Their Stories About Their Encounters with Author Junot Diaz
Another author has also brought to light Diaz’s mistreatment of women both on the page and in real life. Carmen Maria Machado tweeted a story about the Latino author when she had a Q&A with him for his tour for This Is How You Lose Her. When questioned about Yunior, a character from his book, Diaz was reported to have raised his voice and insulted Machado’s reading and ability to reach reasonable conclusions from stories.
In her Twitter thread, Machado did point out how people are defensive about the author because it’s so rare to have a person of color become so successful in the publishing world. While she said she understands the sentiment, it still does not change the facts.
Other authors including Sinéad Gleeson and Monica Byrne came forward with stories about tense interviews and verbal sexual assault.
Considering the claims against Diaz, many are wondering about his New Yorker essay back in April. Called The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma, the author explains his experience with childhood rape and how it has affected his adult life. In the essay, he writes that due to the psychology of trauma: approach and retreat, he has hurt many people in the process. Now, it is uncertain precisely to what type of hurt Diaz was alluding.
When the piece came out, it was lauded for its bravery. Now, it seems to be a preemptive apology from the man who seemed to have seen the allegations coming. He states that he is not who he once was and goes to therapy once a week.
It is uncertain what will happen next. However, if one thing is clear, it’s that the literary world’s problem with its treatment of women needs addressing.