After Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted a month-long investigation into allegations that he had sexually and verbally abused women, Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz’s name has been cleared by the university. The Dominican-American author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Islandborn was recently reviewed by the university after accusations of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior against him surfaced last month.
In early May, Díaz was accused of sexual misconduct by women on Twitter.
We can’t have a dialogue about Junot Díaz or another perpetrator for that matter, without first understanding toxic masculinity. • This whole Junot Díaz situation has me thinking a lot about the issue of toxic masculinity, machismo and the importance of finally redefining what masculinity and manhood means. So I of course, chose to write about it. Please read, share and let me know your thoughts! Link in my bio! • #junotdiaz #metoo #metoomovement #toxicmasculinity #machismo #hiplatina
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At the time, Zinzi Clemmons, author of What We Lose, released a statement on Twitter alleging Díaz had forcibly kissed her at an event held at her university that she had organized as a 26-year-old graduate student. Soon after, more women spoke out. After Clemons, came Carmen Maria Machado and Monica Byrne two women who shared experiences of being publicly berated by Díaz on two separate occasions. At the time, Machado described her interaction with Díaz as “a blast of misogynist rage and public humiliation.”
While Byrne and Machado both underlined that Díaz never physically assaulted them, all three expressed their belief that others had experienced worse behavior from him.
Junot Díaz is a widely lauded, utterly beloved misogynist. His books are regressive and sexist. He has treated women horrifically in every way possible. And the #MeToo stories are just starting. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— Carmen Maria Machado (@carmenmmachado) May 4, 2018
Soon after the allegations came out, Diaz stepped down from his role as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize board and provided a comment to The New York Times stating that he took “responsibility for my past and that he was “listening to and learning from women’s stories in this essential and overdue cultural movement. We must continue to teach all men about consent and boundaries.”
In the month following the accusations, no other accusers have come forward during the investigations that were conducted by the Pulitzer Prize board, MIT, or the Boston review where Díaz is a professor of creative writing. Recently, both MIT and Boston Review announced they would both continue to work with the author.
The Boston-based magazine published a letter explaining their decision earlier this month to collaborate with Díaz in the future saying: “We do not think that any of the individual actions that have been reported are of the kind that requires us to end the editorial relationship. To be clear: we do not condone the objectionable behavior that they describe. Instead, we asked ourselves whether the conduct they report is of a kind that—given his role and our mission—requires us to end the editorial relationship. We do not think so. The objectionable conduct described in the public reports does not have the kind of severity that animated the #MeToo movement.”
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