Jay Asher, the author of the popular young-adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why, now a Netflix sensation, has been expelled from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators following allegations of sexual harassment, the writing organization has confirmed. Buzzfeed reports that the decision was made last year after the SCBWI launched an investigation into multiple anonymous allegations against the author.
However, according to Asher, he resigned on his own accord, telling Buzzfeed that he felt like he had been “thrown under the bus” by the literary organization.
“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 on the set of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, based on his first novel.
As for his accusers, Asher said, “The truth is that I had been harassed by these people for close to 10 years. And I just could not deal with it anymore.”
The follows the publication of an article in the School Library Journal last month, in which allegations of misconduct against illustrator David Díaz and Penguin Workshop executive art director Giuseppe Castellano had been openly addressed. Anonymous commenters called out Asher’s misconduct in the comments section, as well as that of several other prominent YA authors. One claims that she tried to warn other women about Asher through the publishing “whisper network.”
Asher was not actively involved in the 13 Reasons Why series, which is produced by Selena Gomez. Though, the popularity of the series gave Asher’s debut novel a major boost a decade after its original publication. Thirteen Reasons Why follows the tragic story of 17-year-old Hannah Baker as she details the reasons that led to her suicide through a series of 13 cassette tapes.
A second season is set to hit the streaming service later this year.