Pulitzer Prize Board Launches Independent Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Junot Díaz

Illustration for article titled Pulitzer Prize Board Launches Independent Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Junot Díaz
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On Thursday, the Pulitzer Prize Board issued a statement saying it was independently investigating sexual misconduct allegations leveled against one of its members, author Junot Díaz. According to the statement, Díaz has asked to relinquish his role as incoming chairman (he was elected to the position in April), but remains on the board, which he joined in 2010.

The statement reads:

“The Pulitzer Prize Board has authorized an independent review of allegations of misconduct against one of its members, Junot Díaz. Mr. Díaz said he welcomed the review and would cooperate fully with it.

Mr. Díaz was elected incoming chairman at the board’s April meeting, as is customary for the senior member of the board. He has asked to relinquish this role, and the board has accepted his request. Mr. Díaz remains on the board.

Eugene Robinson, the board’s immediate past chairman, has resumed the chairmanship on a short-term, interim basis.”


On Friday, Zinzi Clemmons, author of the 2017 novel What We Lose, wrote in a series of tweets that Díaz “forcibly kiss[ed]” her, adding “I’m far from the only one he’s done this 2, I refuse to remain silent anymore.” National Book Award Finalist Carmen Maria Machado tweeted that same day that Díaz “went off on” her during a book tour Q&A for his 2012 short story collection This Is How You Lose Her. Shortly after, author Alisa Valdes wrote about Díaz’s alleged “misogynistic abuse” in a blog post titled “I Tried to Warn You About Junot Díaz.”

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that M.I.T, where Díaz is a writing professor, announced it was looking into the allegations against the author.

contributing writer, nights

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Ugh, this is just so disappointing. I hadn’t even heard of the guy until his recent essay about his experience as a rape survivor, which was moving and meaningful... and now, meaningful on a whole other level.

He’d made it clear that he had a history of being a bit of a scumbag toward women, which I could understand in context (not that I’m remotely okay with the way Toxic Masculinity encourages men to make women suffer on their behalf), but by the sound of it, he’s more than a seriously problematic victim who takes his pain out on others because it’s the only way he knows to get by; he’s a bona fide predator who is dangerously skilled at weaving an exhonerating narrative from selected truths. He’s the guy you come this close to feeling sorry for, but then you remember that there are people who go through the same traumas and feel the same cultural pressures, but somehow manage to draw the line between what is poor behavior and what is unacceptable under any circumstances.