Jay Asher, the author of the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why that became a hit Netflix series, has been expelled from a prominent writers society amid allegations of harassment.
Asher’s ban occurred sometime last year after he allegedly violated the organization’s harassment code, Lin Oliver, executive director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, told the Associated Press on Monday. The news came to light after the 42-year-old writer received backlash in the wake of a School Library Journal article on sexual harassment in children’s publishing. The article’s comments section was flooded with anonymous comments about Asher and other prominent authors not mentioned in the piece.
In addition, illustrator David Diaz was also removed from the organization due to similar allegations.
“Both Jay Asher and David Diaz were found to have violated the SCBWI code of conduct in regard to harassment,” Oliver told the AP via 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.”
On Monday, Asher told BuzzFeed News that he left the organization voluntarily and had been “thrown under the bus” by the allegations.
“It’s very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth,” Asher 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.”
“I understand the predicament they’re in with everything going on and to want to protect themselves,” he added. “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.”
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Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why, which tells the story of high school student Hannah Baker’s suicide and the 13 tapes she left behind explaining why she decided to end her life, is expected to premiere on Netflix in 2018. The series was executive-produced by Selena Gomez and her mother Mandy Teefey and earned star Katherine Langford a 2018 Golden Globe nomination.