This might not come as news to a lot of you, and I’m sure some of you have even covered this yourself, either in talking to people or in your own posts, but it was recently alleged that James Dashner sexually harassed, groomed and gaslighted a series of people (of whom we don’t know the identities of), and has been subsequently dropped by Penguin Random House. So, it seems that even our beloved book world isn’t safe from the reaches of power abuse and sexual assault.
In a year when #MeToo and the Times Up campaign is so prevalent, I feel like a lot of media outlets confine the issue to the film industry and the political sphere. Which is understandable, really, when many people don’t regularly read, and a lot of the people who have been accused so far are greatly in the public eye, more so than James Dashner.
And, of course, Jay Asher has also been accused – so, obviously, this is not a one-person problem. The commonality between James Dashner and Jay Asher, though, is that they are both massive stars in the YA literary scene. The Maze Runner was published in 2009, yet still continues to be read and enjoyed today. Thirteen Reasons Why, however divisive a book it may be, is actually on syllabuses across the US.
These people are massive, they are influential, and they have been accused of abuse. Now, where have we heard that before?
The fact is, it is extremely dangerous to think that this problem is only relevant to one sector of society. It happens everywhere, right under our noses, in the books we read, and the authors we support, on the sets of adaptations. And although it is definitely important to take these claims with a pinch of salt, at least until we know the truth for sure, it does feel like this was a long time coming.
I haven’t seen many people speak up about this (or anyone – although I am not a frequenter of the social medias), so I hope you’ve taken the time to read this far. Let me know what you think about these allegations, and what you think should be done about it?