Amid a wave of swirling sexual harassment controversies gaining attention as part of the Me Too movement, best-selling author Jay Asher, a resident of San Luis Obispo, was ousted from a prominent writers’ organization.
Asher, the author of “Thirteen Reasons Why,” a young adult novel that was adapted into a Netflix series, was expelled from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) over sexual harassment allegations. Details about the allegations are sparse, and Asher denies the accusations.
Lin Oliver, the executive director of the SCBWI, told the Associated Press that Asher violated the organization’s harassment code and was actually banned from the society last year. Oliver said claims against Asher, as well as illustrator David Diaz, were investigated and resulted in their ouster from the SCBWI.
Asher told BuzzFeed that he left the organization voluntarily and felt he was thrown under the bus.
“It’s very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth,” Ahser said to BuzzFeed. “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.”
Additionally, Asher gave a statement to the Tribune saying, in the past, he had affairs with consenting adults, which ended several years ago. Asher said he is ashamed of himself and the pain the affairs caused for the families involved.
Asher also told the Tribune he has endured a decade of harassment related to the affairs, but has not once retaliated against his accusers.
In addition to writing “Thirteen Reasons Why,” the story of a high school student committing suicide, Asher also authored young adult novels “The Future Of Us” and “What Light,” as well as the graphic novel “Piper.”