Junot Díaz

Christopher Peterson/Wikimedia @zinziclemmons/Twitter (CC-BY-SA)

Author Junot Diaz accused of sexual misconduct, abuse by multiple women

Women say the Pulitzer Prize winner forcibly kissed and verbally abused them.

 

Tess Cagle

IRL

Published May 4, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 4:42 pm CDT

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz has an alleged history of sexual misconduct and abuse, according to multiple personal accounts being shared on Twitter on Friday.

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Zinzi Clemmons, author of What We Lose, accused Diaz of cornering and forcibly kissing her after she invited him speak at a workshop on issues of representation in literature. In her tweet, which she posted on Friday, she said she’s “far from the only one” he’s treated that way.

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Diaz, who penned The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This Is How You Lose Her, has been widely regarded for his compelling storytelling about the Dominican-American experience. In 2008, he received a Pulitzer Prize for his writing and in 2012 he received a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a “Genius Grant.”

Clemmons’ tweet opened up a downpour of tweets from other women, who cited a multitude of troubling situations with Diaz.

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Author Carmen Maria Machado also detailed an experience she had with Diaz while he was touring his book, This Is How You Lose Her.

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“During his tour for THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER, Junot Díaz did a Q&A at the grad program I’d just graduated from,” Machado tweeted. “When I made the mistake of asking him a question about his protagonist’s unhealthy, pathological relationship with women, he went off for me for twenty minutes.”

Machado said Diaz debated with her in front of a full room of people—who said nothing during the exchange—and then later vindictively read the excerpts from his book that she called attention to as troubling.

“So, Junot Díaz can talk all he wants about writing books that interrogate masculinity, but that’s all it is: talk,” she tweeted. “His books are misogynist trash and folks either don’t see it (which disturbs me) or won’t acknowledge it (which disturbs me for different reasons).”

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Others cited an essay Diaz published in the New Yorker in April, in which he discussed abuse he experienced as a child and how it influenced relationships he had with women as an adult. Many viewed his piece as an attempt to preemptively excuse future reports of misogyny and abuse.

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The essay Diaz published was originally lauded by many as shining a light on male sexual assault. But now, more troubling aspects of the essay have been dissected, including a section of the essay in which he says he “hurt women.”

“I think about you, X⁠—. I think about that woman from the Brattle,” he wrote. “I think about silence; I think about shame, I think about loneliness. I think about the hurt I caused. I think of all the years and all the life I lost to the hiding and to the fear and to the pain.”

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The Daily Dot reached to Diaz but hasn’t heard back. So far, no official charges have been filed and he has yet to comment about the accusations.

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*First Published: May 4, 2018, 10:04 am CDT