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Local author Jay Asher responds to harassment allegations - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Local author Jay Asher responds to harassment allegations

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Local author Jay Asher is responding to allegations of sexual misconduct.

The San Luis Obispo native is best known for his novel Thirteen Reasons Why, which inspired a Netflix series.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Asher was accused of violating the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' harassment code.

He was reportedly banned from the organization last year but the news came to light just recently with the rise of the #MeToo movement.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Jay Asher, Tamara Taylor, released this statement to KSBY: 

"The SCBWI's recent statement about author Jay Asher is completely false. In April 2017, Mr. Asher voluntarily agreed that he would no longer attend SCBWI conferences. This was in response to many years of harassment from a group of authors with whom he had consensual relationships that ended with some hurt feelings when they learned about each other. Mr. Asher was not banned by the SCBWI. He is currently a member in good standing. In fact, when he let his membership in the group lapse last summer, Lin Oliver, the group's executive director, suggested that he keep his membership going. He did as requested, and Mr. Asher's membership is active today. There was no allegation, investigation or finding of sexual harassment. These women were not subordinates of Mr. Asher; they were his peers and they each entered into romantic relationships with him voluntarily, with some initially pursuing him. Mr. Asher was married at the time of these relationships, as were many of the women. He is deeply sorry for the pain these consensual decisions caused his family, and others.
The false statements to the news media have resulted in inaccurate and hurtful news coverage, which is threatening Mr. Asher's livelihood. Mr. Asher has retained legal counsel and will take whatever steps necessary to set the record straight."

KSBY reached out to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators multiple times on Tuesday but did not receive a response.

A planned second season of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix will be unaffected by the recent allegations. Netflix said in a statement that Asher was not involved in the new season so it won't be impacted.

Also this year, Asher was invited be to be a speaker at the Cuesta College Central Coast Writers Conference at the end of September. That offer is still on the table. The executive director says she's waiting to hear back from Asher about whether he will attend.
 

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