MIT looking into allegations made against writer Junot Diaz
Writer Junot Diaz previously wrote about experiencing sexual abuse. Now, women are saying they experienced sexual misconduct at his hands.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is looking into allegations of abuse recently made against writer Junot Diaz, a spokesperson for the university said in a statement.
Diaz is a Dominican-American writer known for his books This is How You Lose Her and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also a professor of writing at MIT.
In April, Diaz wrote a story for The New Yorker titled “The Silence: A Legacy of Trauma,” in which he talked about his experience being raped as a child, joining the countless stories of sexual abuse shared since the start of the #MeToo movement.
But now, Diaz has found himself on the other side of that movement. Last week, multiple writers took to Twitter to detail the abuse and harassment they say Diaz unleashed on them.
Author Zinzi Clemmons on Thursday said that Diaz, speaking at the school where she was a grad student, cornered and “forcibly” kissed her.
Author Carmen Maria Machado piggybacked on Clemmons’s tweet and shared an experience in which she says Diaz verbally assaulted her, yelling at her after she asked about “his protagonist’s unhealthy, pathological relationship with women.”
“I have no doubt that a lot of stories about him are about to come out, now that the damn has broken,” author Roxane Gay tweeted. “Because there have been whispers for years.”
In a statement made through his literary agent to the New York Times, Diaz said “I take responsibility for my past. That is the reason I made the decision to tell the truth of my rape and its damaging aftermath.” He did not address any allegations specifically.
"As MIT looks into concerns shared on social media regarding Professor Diaz, we wish to make clear that we do not tolerate sexual harassment at MIT: at all times, we encourage any member of our community who has experienced or witnessed harassing behavior to report it using the resources we make available,” MIT said in a statement. “Both accusers and the accused have rights and protections within the process we follow—and we strive to protect the privacy of all parties involved."