Trigger warnings: sexual harassment/abuse/assault, manipulation
Update #1: Allegations against Dan Wells and James A. Owen have been removed, as the accuser of Wells recanted and it appears the allegations against Owen were false and the comment was deleted.
Added C.L. Rose due to high demand, though the accusations against her are of abusive behavior and enabling sexual harassment, not sexual harassment herself. As far as I am aware, she has not been accused of directly committing sexual harassment.
This is solely to document the allegations of sexual harassment brought to light by Anne Ursu’s Medium article and in the comments on the School Library Journal post “Children’s Publishing Reckons with Sexual Harassment in Its Ranks.” This is not any statement on whether allegations are true or false. I have preserved both screencaps, which you can click for the full-size image, and the text of the allegations. Not everyone can scroll through the litany of comments posted and our community needs a quick reference.
If you would like to trust me with your story or alert me to further allegations that need to be added to the list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Accusation 1: “I find it bizarre and horrifying that nobody has named Jay Asher. I am equally horrified at hearing of his disgusting Twitter claims of being so very pro – #MeToo and #TimesUp. The irony is incredible, and belongs in an episode of Black Mirror.”
Accusation 2: “After the Medium essay by Anne Ursu, people want us to name names. They want to know “who.” I will say the name from my story: Jay Asher. Happy , now?”
Accusation 3: “I was also one of those in Anne Ursu’s survey and the name from my story is also Jay Asher.”
Accusation 4: “I,too, experienced predatory behavior from Jay Asher. He uses SCBWI to find young, new writers. When I discovered his true nature, I cut off all communication and tried to warn other women through the whisper network. He found out and used threats and intimidation to quiet me. Well, Mr. Asher, the intimidation stops NOW. We will no longer whisper.”
Accusation 1: “I was also in Anne’s survey, and the name in mine is James Dashner.”
Accusation 2: “I would also like to add that James Dashner was the man in my story in Anne’s survey.”
Accusation 3: “I was not in Anne’s article, but I have been harassed by James Dashner.”
Accusation 4: “I have been harassed by James Dashner as well.”
Accusation 5: “I wasn’t in the survey, but add me to the Dashner list.”
Accusation 6: “I was not in Anne’s survey but one of the stories sounded almost identical to mine. My harasser was James Dashner. He preys on female debut authors. Beware. Beware. Beware.
“I would like to clarify that the harassment/abuse from James Dashner was not a one-time unwanted touch or a joke I took the wrong way. It entailed months of manipulation, grooming and gaslighting. He offered to be my “mentor” using praise and flattery of my writing, and promises to use his connections to help elevate my career to the level of his. But it was all a bait and switch. When I made it clear that I was not going to give him what he wanted in return, our “mentorship” relationship ended. It took me a long time to realize that every move he made was carefully calculated. He has his manipulation down to a science. I realize now that I was not the first to fall for his tricks, and I was not the last. I feel deeply sorry for everyone who fell for his manipulations after me. I’ve tried to nudge others and warn on the so-called “whisper network” but I have always worried that talking about it publicly would harm my career or family. Even typing this is making me sweat buckets. Thanks for listening.”
Accusation 7: “#MeToo but no more. I quit writing. At first it was Dashner. A fluke, right? Then later Charlie Pulsipher and recently Dan Wells. And the other women just protect, saying boys will be boys and I’m a snowflake. I can’t trust anyone.” [Note: the accusations against Pulsipher and Wells have been recanted. This remains solely due to the Dashner accusation, which was not recanted.]
Accusation 1: “I was in Anne’s survey as well. Mine was Sherman Alexie.”
Accusation 2: “I saw Alexie speak at a library conference several years ago, and I saw the way he interacted with the (mostly female) attendees before and after his talk. That he has sexually harassed people is not at all surprising to me. I believe you and I’m sorry you had to deal with that.”
Accusation 3: “Another raised hand for Sherman Alexie.”
Accusation 4: “Yes, me too with Alexie.”
Accusation 5: “Sherman Alexie. #Me too. I know of several others. I think there’s a very good reason (or many very good reasons) he stopped all appearances and disappeared from social media almost immediately after Weinstein.”
Accusation 6: “i dined with Sherman Alexie several years ago with a group of librarians and, throughout dinner he talked pretty continuously about sex, told us that he loved all types of women (age, body type, level of attractiveness, HINT HINT) and showed us his hotel room number. He also said that at author conferences no one slept in their own rooms. Maybe not harassment per se, but definitely gross. I don’t doubt he’s done worse.”
Accusation 7: “Sherman Alexie: me too. Looking forward to the end of him getting to do whatever he wants to young women with the full knowledge of the people in power.”
Matt de la Peña
Accusation 1: “I wonder if any of Matt de la Pena’s students have weighed in. A friend took a writing class with him and recounted several tales of transactional sexual relationships with his students and creepy behavior.”
Accusation 2: “I didn’t respond to Anne’s survey but Matt de la Pena is someone to steer clear of.”
Accusation 3: “Matt de la Peña. You are powerful and respected in this industry, you should be ashamed of the way you speak to and treat female students. Your business is how we write, not how we look. Among several inappropriate comments, you minimized me down to my appearance in a moment of my education that I worked hard for, that should have been one of my proudest. You made me feel small and objectified. I resent it. I am not shocked to see that I am not the only student you abused your power over.”
Accusation 1: “A dear friend of mine asked me to post this for her as she doesn’t feel comfortable adding it herself. ”My story was in Anne’s article. The man was Stephan Pastis.””
Accusation 2: “Stephan Pastis has sexually harrassed me too.”
Richard Paul Evans
Accusation 1: I have been sexually harassed by Richard Paul Evans (author of the MICHAEL VEY series).”
Accusation 1: “I am very nervous posting this… I feel scared I might be tracked down. I have had a terrible experience with trying to tell people because she’s a woman.
Full disclosure: I made this post. The harassed person told me their experience with him in 2013/2014 and I still have the chat logs from when they told me even though the person and I are no longer friends. I will not be revealing their identity. I posted it to warn others because this is red flag behavior from a married author and because there may be others.
Accusation 1: “An account from a former friend I no longer speak to: when she met Chris Howard of Rootless and Night Speed fame at an event, he was very flirtatious with her despite him being married. I’ve got the messages from our conversation in my email account.
Tim Wynne Jones
Accusation 1: “Tim Wynne Jones was one of the faculty members at my MFA program. At the end of the residency, he initiated an unwanted hug which he held too long, and then used as cover for nibbling my earlobe.”
Accusation 1: [in reply to another comment] “Was this Tessa Gratton? She is a predator.”
Someone alleging to be the original commenter said Tessa Gratton is not the author they’re talking about. This accusation remains on the list due to the separate claim she is a predator.
Accusation 1: “I have experienced predatory behavior from Tim Federle. I am a male. This was also at the SBCWI conference some years ago. He expressed interest in my book and invited me to his room to go over my query letter. I was 18 and starry eyed because he was a respected author for kids. When I arrived at his room and got out my laptop, he closed it and began kissing me. I was shocked at first. I was not assaulted, but it was all under false pretenses. He preyed on me in a very disturbing manner.”
Accusation 1: “Michael Neff, the director of the New York Pitch Conference, took advantage of a post-conference dinner to grab my arm and make it clear he could grant me publishing favors in exchange for sexual ones. He singled me out because I was young and inexperienced, and often tried to get me alone at the conference with the promise of information and mentorship. Thankfully, I was able to evade him”
Accusation 1: “Adding to the chorus of accounts here, Stefane Marsan (an editor from France), approached me at RWA in 2015 after the RITAGHs award ceremony at the bar when I was alone and more than a little drunk. He wouldn’t stop TOUCHING me. My hands. My arms. We were surrounded by romance publishing elite, Tiffany Reisz was in my line of sight with her Rita award and yet he felt comfortable cornering me, offering his business card and telling me how big of a star he’d make me in France. He had me there for ten minutes. Always touching. As soon as I’d move one hand he would have the other already on me. Touching. Stroking. Smiling.
“I nodded and smiled, because I didn’t want to offend him – in case he was a big publisher – but in my head I kept thinking does he really think I’m this stupid, that I’ll sleep with him for a publishing contact? Because the subtext was heavily implied. I had no one at the conference I could go to. I was new, entirely alone and without friends for backup.
“I returned to my hotel room where my husband and infant son were sleeping – I scoped him out on twitter just to be sure he was a real editor, which he was. Then I threw out the card, and had a shower to wash his ‘touch’ from my body. It never occurred to me to report him because I’d dealt with this kind of behaviour so often at my workplace, it was like another Tuesday.
“It never occurred to me that I could or should report him, and I almost didn’t share this here but a friend managed to help me track him down from the RWA guest list cache and I screamed when I saw his face pop up on scream. All I had was a first name and his face branded in my brain. About 5’7-5’9″ with curly brown hair, paunchy in a tailored suit, trimmed beard and trendy glasses. He spoke with a heavy french accent. That’s it. But my friend is a genius, so now I can say his name. His full name. Stephane Marsan”
Accusation 1: “I was quoted in Ann’s article my predator was Mo Willems.”
Accusation 1: “As far as agents and editors being held responsible there were a ton of them in the bar when Jenny Bent got completely wasted and tried to grind on a very handsome editor of romance while his wife was in the same room. Women can be abusers too.”
Accusation 1: “Chiming I’m here with another nightmare person to avoid. Peter Yarrow, author of the song and picture book Puff the Magic Dragon molested me when I was a young teen. It was a grooming situation where he took me under his wing, wrote to me, gave me tickets to shows, backstage passes. He meant to so much to me. It took me years to talk about it, even to my family, because I was so ashamed. I found out later he’d done the same to a 14 year old girl in the 70s. He went to jail and was pardoned by Jimmy Carter. He blamed groupie culture in his behavior and mused on how jail wouldn’t have happpened to Mick Jagger. He hides behind his social justice work. I saw some little girls reading his picture book after it came out a few years ago and I nearly tore it out of their hands.
“I was thinking about keeping this post anonymous because dragging up these memories is painful and I don’t want to deal with the repercussions. But I think people deserve to know what he’s done and probably still does.”
Earl Lewis/E.B. Lewis
Accusation 1: “Add the opportunistic Earl Lewis [or E.B. Lewis as he likes to refer to himself as] to the list. He took advantage of me on two different fronts and I did report him. Thankfully he isn’t on the board anymore.”
Accusation 1: “My story was also mentioned in Anne’s article, and Drew Daywalt was the one that made me never want to return to Los Angeles. This is really tough for me to post, even anonymously, because I’ve always tried to be such a peacemaker, but honestly, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this goes beyond me. I felt confused and hurt over the entire interaction for a long while, and after reading Anne’s response in her article, she truly helped me understand why I felt the way I did. Thank you, Anne! And to those also speaking up, I’m glad we’re all having this conversation, and my hope is that those being called out will truly reach out for help and want to change. ”
C.L. Rose (aka Courtney Lynn Rose, aka Tiffany Rosenthal Hofmann)
Accusation 1: “Can we talk about women in power positions who know about abusive men, and choose to believe the men over the victims?