Sexual assault allegations have just arose against Jay Asher, the author of the 13 Reasons Why novel that was adapted into the Netflix series.
The allegations came to light after the School Library Journal published an article about sexual harassment in the children's publishing industry last month.
Although the topic of the article was regarding other children's artists like illustrator David Díaz, loads of anonymous users took to the comments section of the piece to share their experiences of being sexually harassed by 13RW's author.
It was also revealed that Asher was expelled from from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators last year for violating its harassment code.
The executive director of the Society, Lin Oliver spoke out about the incident:
"Please understand that SCBWI can only take action on what has been reported," she wrote. "Two men have been reported — David Diaz and Jay Asher. Both have been expelled from the SCBWI and are not welcome as members, faculty or speakers."
On Monday, Oliver addressed the issue again with Buzzfeed, revealing what led to Asher's dismissal.
"After we investigated, we felt that terminating his membership was the proper course of action,” she said.
“We have always been really sensitive to sexual harassment issues and have a zero tolerance policy, but clearly our policies haven’t prevented violations, so we’re taking this opportunity to take another look at our guidelines.”
Asher has since denied the allegations and claimed that it was his decision to leave SCBWI.
“It's very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth,” he told BuzzFeed News. “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 says he feels "thrown under the bus" because at the time of the investigation, he was told by the SCBWI that “the emails showed nothing.”
“I understand the predicament they're in with everything going on and to want to protect themselves,” Asher continued. “I love the organisation, but they didn't decide to push me out. It was my decision, even though [Oliver] said the email contained nothing that their organisation should have anything to do with.”
Oliver also revealed that Asher has been banned from SCBWI's group conferences or events in the future, but it's a decision that he claims he made himself.
“The truth is that I had been harassed by these people for close to 10 years,” Asher said of the anonymous people who reported him to the SCBWI. “And I just could not deal with it anymore.”
If you or someone you know needs help, you can speak confidentially to a trained counsellor 24 hours a day at headspace.org.au or Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.