"13 Reason Why" Author Jay Asher Responds To Sexual Harassment Allegations

13 February 2018, 14:23

Jay Asher 13 Reasons Why Sexual Harassment
Picture: PA Images / Netflix
Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

The author was expelled from writing organisation over harassment claims.

Jay Asher, the author of Thirteen Reasons Why, has responded to claims of sexual harassment made against him.

Asher was reportedly expelled from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a non-profit literary organisation, after he was accused of sexual harassment via anonymous emails. According to the Washington Post, he was banned last year but the news only came to light recently in the comment section of an article about sexual harassment in the children's publishing industry where multiple women mentioned him by name.

In a statement to Buzzfeed News, SCBWI executive director Lin Oliver said: “After we investigated, we felt that terminating his membership was the proper course of action. 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.”

Asher responded to the reports on the same day, telling Buzzfeed News that it was his decision to leave the organisation.

“It's very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth,” Asher told BuzzFeed News. “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," Asher continued. "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.”

He then goes on to claim that he was the one that “been harassed" by the people who (anonymously) complained about him.

Despite denying the claims, Asher's response has caused a LOT of backlash on Twitter.

Users are calling him out for telling Buzzfeed that he was the one subjected to years of harassment despite multiple women naming him as their harasser. A close friend of Asher's even left a comment on the original Buzzfeed post calling him out on it.

What does this mean for the future of 13 Reasons Why? Well, apart from the horrible irony of being the author of a series that portrays sexual harassment and assault being accused of sexual harassment and assault, it unfortunately doesn't mean much at all.

The second season of the Netflix series has been confirmed and will be airing this year. Season three is also said to be in the early stages of development too.