Jay Asher expelled from writer organization over harassment

February 12, 2018 - 4:13 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Best-selling children's author Jay Asher has been expelled from a prominent writers organization because of allegations about sexual harassment.

Lin Oliver, executive director of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, told The Associated Press on Monday that Asher had violated the society's harassment code. He was banned last year but the news only came to light with the rise of the #MeToo movement. Asher and prize-winning illustrator David Diaz, who was also kicked out of the organization, were mentioned frequently in a recent comment thread on School Library Journal about harassment in children's publishing.

"Both Jay Asher and David Diaz were found to have violated the SCBWI code of conduct in regard to harassment," Oliver wrote in an email. "Claims against them were investigated and, as a result, they are no longer members and neither will be appearing at any SCBWI events in the future."

Asher is known for novels such as "Thirteen Reasons Why" and "The Future of Us," while Diaz won the prestigious Caldecott medal for illustration for the 1994 book "Smoky Night." The publishers for Asher and Diaz didn't have any immediate comment Monday.

"Thirteen Reasons Why," a 2007 novel about a high student's suicide that was adapted last year into a Netflix series, has attracted attention for its explicit content.

"Slut-shaming, harassment, and sexual assault are central to Asher's story," BuzzFeed observed in 2017. Asher told BuzzFeed that his narrative was "uncomfortable, but that's OK. It needs to be."

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