According to Entertainment Weekly, Jay Asher was “quietly expelled” from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in 2017. The decision was made after the organization determined that the New York Times best-selling author had “violated its harassment code.” In a comment to BuzzFeed, SCBWI executive director Lin Oliver explained that the complaints against Asher had been sent anonymously via email.
“After we investigated, we felt that terminating his membership was the proper course of action,” she said. “We have always been really sensitive to sexual harassment issues and have a zero-tolerance policy, but clearly our policies haven’t prevented violations, so we’re taking this opportunity to take another look at our guidelines.”
News of Asher’s expulsion only became public Monday, and in a comment to BuzzFeed, he denied being booted from the society altogether. “It’s very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth,” he said. “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.”
Asher also said he felt “thrown under the bus,” because the SCBWI had informed him at the time that “the emails showed nothing.”
“I understand the predicament they’re in with everything going on and to want to protect themselves,” he said. “I love the organization, but they didn’t decide to push me out. It was my decision, even though [Oliver] said the email contained nothing that their organization should have anything to do with.”
Season 2 of the Selena Gomez-produced 13 Reasons Why has finished filming, but no release date has been announced.