June 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Children’s Publishing Reckons with Sexual Harassment in Its Ranks

UPDATED February 14, 2018: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators executive director Lin Oliver, who originally declined to comment for this story on sexual harassment in children’s publishing, has subsequently contacted the reporter to provide new details and a timeline concerning David Díaz and SCBWI’s actions in response to allegations of sexual harassment against him.

According to Oliver: In 2012, SCBWI received an anonymous complaint against Díaz. The complaint corresponded with what the organization’s leadership had observed of Díaz’s behavior at conferences, which they considered unprofessional. At that point, they removed him from the board for a year and he attended sexual harassment training. SCBWI then readmitted him to the board on a probationary basis for one year, during which no further incidents were observed or reported.

Díaz was allowed to return to the board in a permanent capacity in 2015. When Ishta Mercurio came forward in the fall of 2017 to report a 2012 incident, Oliver discussed it with Díaz and he apologized to Mercurio.  At that time, Oliver and Díaz mutually decided he should resign from the board.

 

A writer was making small talk during the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ (SCBWI) annual conference when she says the man she was chatting with, a successful children’s book illustrator, reached over and touched her hair.

“He fondled a lock of my hair and leaned in to my ear and said, ‘You’re kinky, aren’t you?’” says the writer, who asked not to be identified. (See updated story: “Ishta Mercurio Goes Public as David Díaz Accuser.”)

The exchange, which happened in 2012 at SCBWI’s winter conference in New York and was witnessed by one of the writer’s friends, left the woman feeling “horrified” and “disgusted.” The illustrator, David Díaz, was a member of SCBWI’s board and a faculty member at the conference. Still, the writer, who at that point in her career was an unpublished aspiring children’s book author, did not complain about the incident at the time. However, in December 2017,  Díaz resigned from his position on the SCBWI’s board, after sexual harassment complaints emerged about his past.

The author of numerous books for children, Díaz was honored with the 1995 Caldecott Medal for his illustration of the picture book Smoky Night (Harcourt, 1994) by Eve Bunting.

Ever since October, when the New York Times published a damning expose of film producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long track record of sexual harassment and predation, the United States has been engaged in a difficult and far-reaching dialogue about sexual harassment. The problem touches all industries, from blue collar to white collar, and as women have felt emboldened to come forward to report abuse, men who held leading positions in media, government, the arts, and entertainment have been fired or forced to resign.

The situation is no different in publishing, where journalist Mark Halperin was dropped by Penguin Press due to reports of sexual harassment. In an investigation by Publisher’s Weekly (PW) this fall, numerous women reported troubling incidents of sexual harassment over the course of their publishing careers, ranging from degrading remarks to groping and physical attacks. Two recent resignations this winter have shined a light on the problem within the more close-knit world of children’s publishing.

Castellano departs Penguin

At the beginning of December, Giuseppe Castellano, executive art director of Penguin Workshop, Penguin Random House’s imprint for children’s books, resigned due to allegations made against him by actress Charlyne Yi. In a series of messages posted on Twitter on Nov. 14, Yi claims that after a work meeting at a bar earlier that month to discuss a potential book project, Castellano walked Yi back to her hotel and repeatedly pushed Yi to invite him to her room as she repeatedly refused. Yi says the interaction was unnerving because Castellano had gone on at length during their meeting about the many “creeps” in children’s publishing who abuse their power to sexually harass and assault women. He also, according to Yi, told her his wife would be OK with him having an affair.

Castellano denied Yi’s claims outright, calling her story “fabricated” in a statement published on his blog shortly after his resignation. His meeting with Yi was social, not professional, he claimed, and he never pressured Yi to allow him up to her room. He resigned, Castellano says, because Yi’s public claim against him made it untenable for him to continue in his job. In response to his statement, Yi released copies of emails exchanged between them in which Castellano suggested they meet for drinks to discuss her book ideas and later apologized, saying he was “sick” about how he acted during the meeting. Penguin Random House had also previously disclosed that the company was investigating the matter.

The details of Yi’s and Castellano’s interaction—outside of the office, at a bar, while the actress was traveling and staying at a hotel—highlight aspects and dynamics of the way informal socializing is embedded into the publishing world, sometimes creating scenarios that leave people vulnerable to sexual harassment. Networking is considered a crucial part of making it as an author or illustrator or rising in a publishing house, and many women told PW that they had experienced sexual harassment during off-site social situations, such as book parties, readings, and conferences. The casual nature of these gatherings lead some to test limits and engage in sexually aggressive behavior that they might not attempt in an office setting (though sexual harassment routinely occurs in offices as well). And there’s no human resources department readily available to report abusive behavior that occurs at a conference, for instance.

Complaints about Díaz

That’s the situation that the writer whom Díaz reportedly called “kinky” found herself in at the SCBWI conference in 2012. It wasn’t the first time she had met him—a mutual acquaintance introduced them at the conference the year before, and he had made a more mild but still suggestive comment to her then. After their 2012 interaction, the writer knew she wanted to avoid Díaz, but she wasn’t about to make public accusations against someone who was a conference faculty member.

“Editors want to work with people they can work with. No one wants to be that nightmare author,” says the writer, who co-authored a children’s book in 2015 and has a picture book coming out in 2019. “I didn’t want [a sexual harassment claim] to stop me from becoming the writer I wanted to become in order to thrive in this industry and in order to succeed in this industry.”

She summoned the confidence to come forward this October, encouraged by online conversations about sexual harassment and children’s publishing. The writer reported her experiences to the executive director of SCBWI, Lin Oliver, who told her that Díaz had previously been warned about such behavior. Díaz apologized to the writer via email, and she accepted his apology. Satisfied with that outcome, the writer believed the matter had been laid to rest, and she doesn’t know whether there were any further allegations which prompted Díaz’s resignation in December. Oliver declined to comment about Díaz’s resignation.

The writer is left feeling exposed and with lingering questions about how the matter was handled.

“If I’m the only one choosing to have a voice in this conversation, how is the public going to perceive this?” she says. “Keeping it behind closed doors just doesn’t help anyone.”


Drew Himmelstein is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn who writes frequently about education.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous Former SCBWI Member says:

    This is not the only occurrence or offender within SCBWI.

  2. Mike Jung says:

    I won’t say it’s good that the news about David Diaz and Guiseppe Castellano is out, because there’s nothing good about either of those situations, but it would be worse to keep the news under wraps, because the knowledge that our industry is not exempt from the destructive effects of sexual harassment is vitally important to internalize, and there’s little reason to doubt that the preceding comment is accurate.

  3. Current SCBWI Member says:

    I have worked with Mr. Diaz through SCBWI. He has a proven legacy found in the SCBWI mentoring program and has single handedly assisted many illustrators produce their best work under his guidence without strings or compensation. I hope this article doesn’t deprive our industry of this generous mentor.

    • Major props to those speaking out and naming names — at least one of them I was aware of — and others have already said better than I can why there’s no value in a “he was always nice to me and did good things for the business” type of defense. This conversation is long overdue.

    • Ruth McNally Barshaw says:

      Believe women.

      • This is funny as says:

        When women go back to being trustworthy people we will.

        But its easier for you to lie and rely on white knights to defend your lack of any real evidence on anything.

        Every false complaint you make makes it more difficult for an actual victim to be heard.

        You clowns are taking the spotlight away from women who have actually been harassed or assaulted.

        You should be utterly ashamed at your actions. Every. Single. One. Of. You.

        And your hero Rose McGowan? Well guess what? Nothing happened. She wasnt raped. Or Assaulted. My evidence? Her agreement where she took a bunch of money to say, legally, ‘He did nothing wrong’

        • GobacktoRedPill says:

          Seriously, you know NOTHING. So go back to the red pill or something.

        • How about you knock it off with the virtue signaling. “Oh noes, you’re making it harder for the REAL VICTIMS to be believed!” You’d be a lot more credible clutching those pearls if it wasn’t obvious you’re an MRA dbag who believes ALL women lie and that no one in history has ever actually committed rape unless he was a Muslim immigrant or something. So go back to choking it to hentai on 4chan, chuckles.

        • Spoken like a serial sexual harasser.

    • Sarah Dvojack says:

      Okay, that’s nice. And I’ve met Giuseppe Castellano and been alone with him and he was appropriate and professional with me. Doesn’t mean he didn’t harass others.

      There are better mentors.

  4. SCBWI Member says:

    As a ten year member of SCBWI, I accidentally met David Diaz during the 2010 Los Angeles SCBWI conference. His professionalism, as well as his dedication to furthering the careers of beginning artists, struck me as genuine from the start. Every conference after that, whenever I was fortunate to meet with David Diaz, he showed me and my group of friends, only respect and encouragement. For a newbie talent, one with no agent, publishing contract or prospects, his kind words to carry on helped me to preserver. A true gem, David’s sincerity, his overall willingness to help those of us striving to have our work recognized, should be praised. Very few extremely talented & recognized artists such as David Diaz have sought to play it forward. I am eternally grateful he has taken the time and energy to be such an important part of SCBWI and invest in so many people’s careers.

    • I take issue with this statement, among others: “Very few extremely talented & recognized artists such as David Diaz have sought to play it forward.” As an SCBWI member, you HAVE been to their conference, correct? Many, many, MANY extremely talented & recognized artists play it forward. The difference is, not all of them are serial sexual harassers.

    • That's nice says:

      Abusers groom their character witnesses as carefully as they groom their victims.

  5. current member SCBWI says:

    I have known David Diaz for ten years. We met at a SCBWI conference. During those years I saw and spoke with him at several more. Mr. Diaz always made me feel welcome, when I knew very few of the attendees. Besides being an accomplished award wining artist, he never portrayed any arrogance, and I always found him to be charming. Mr. Diaz always showed interest in my career and what direction it was taking. We discussed at length the children’s publishing world. He was honest and very helpful to someone, like me, that was considered a newbie. I consider him a friend and a mentor.

    • Good for you. That means he didn’t harass YOU.

      • This is funny as says:

        didnt harass you or anyone else either or there would be a police report.

        but there isnt these days because we have this nice big metoo bandwagon that was started with a lie, continued with lies, and will eventually end with lies.

        • Shut up. Your continued insistence that this didn’t happen suggests you are someone to be avoided. As far as police reports go, the police will not file unless there has been an actual assault and even then, they will oft times blame the victim. So shut your damn mouth.

          • police will not file unless there has been an actual assault

            Good. And nobody should actually join the #MeToo movement unless there has been an actual assault either. Because doing either without actually being assaulted is…lying.

          • Chris – the #metoo movement was not only about assault. It is about any sort of use of power to sexually coerce someone with less power. That could be assault and it could also be harrassment. I don’t know if you have ever been sexually harrassed – I have. It leaves you feeling powerless and violated, and often without any voice to speak out and stand against the harrasser – because they have more power!!

  6. I have known David Diaz for almost a decade, through SCBWI and other children’s author events, and have always found him to be a man of integrity, as well as immensely generous and thoughtful, providing mentorship and guidance to scores of illustrators over the years. To discredit him in this way, with no attempt to convey his side of the story seems egregious, a lapse of professionalism when it comes to reporting. Was he even contacted for a statement? Or indeed was anyone else on the board of SCBWI contacted? I believe that if they had been, a much different and more balanced story would have resulted.

    • I’m fairly certain Diaz hasn’t come forward with the story of his innocence because he knows if he does, there will be an avalanche of women who will come forward to refute him. #metoo

  7. Martha Brockenbrough says:

    Colleagues: Just because someone did not harass you does not mean he has not harassed others. This is the same as defending an arsonist who did not happen to burn down your house. Let’s please believe people when they say this happens. There are no rewards to making such accusations for women except to change a culture that does not value us equally. The culture won’t change until women are believed.

  8. Just another conference Attendee says:

    Seriously? Anyone defending David Diaz wasn’t walking around the SCBWI conferences with eyes open. My first conference in New York was my first run in with him, he tried to get me in a picture with all his ladies, as he called them. The ones who were good enough looking to be in the picture. Needless to say, I took a hard pass. He was touching, whispering, flirting…all across the gala with these women. I have always warned women I meet to steer clear of him after my run ins and my unfortunate experience of talking to him with other writers. Because to a lot of us younger, yet to be published authors, he’s just another dirty older man trying to get some and the smart ones steer clear. I’m guessing those who are shocked by this weren’t paying attention or were too caught up in their own limelights to recognize what was going on. You can be his friend and like him as a friend, but it doesn’t make what he did less true and defending him…DOESNT MAKE IT LESS TRUE. Defending a guilty man doesn’t make him less guilty…if this does something to his career it’s because of his own choices. No one made him hit on all those conference attendees…or talk to them the way he did. Or touch them. That was ALL his choice. If I saw it happening, as a newbie to the SCBWI world, so did a whole hell of a lot of others. And I certainly wasn’t the only person holding whispered conversations about his behavior at the conferences…So I don’t understand how this is a surprise? To anyone…

    • Former SCBWI member says:

      Amen to this. I was not surprised at all when I saw his name; every female writer I know thinks he is a sleezeball.

      • I agree with this former SCBWI’s note. Diaz never bothered me, but I watched him harass three female writers in the Northern California area at a couple of events, continually asking them to sleep with him, being overly familiar, etc. Yes, many female writers knew about him. I was wondering when his name would become public. Lin Oliver didn’t know? Glad he’s off the board of directors or whatever he was on.

  9. People can be both generous, kind, and supportive at times and also awful, creepy, and inappropriate at other times. The comments here suggesting that we dismiss accounts of sexual harassment are reprehensible, and quite frankly suspicious.

  10. So how does this work, exactly? If we believe none of what we hear, that includes what we hear about believing none of what we hear, but if we believe none of what we hear about believing none of what we hear, that means we shouldn’t believe that we should believe none of what we hear, which suggests we should believe at least some of what we hear, if not all of what we hear…help, I’ve fallen into a wormhole of believing disbelief and I can’t get up

  11. This comments section shows that the children’s lit world has a lot of work to do to dismantle toxic masculinity that leads to situations like the one involving Mr. Diaz. I’ve been around him too (at more than one conference), and I didn’t personally see him do anything that I would personally consider sexual harassment, and he was also nice to me… BUT NONE OF THAT MEANS ANYTHING IN THIS SITUATION. Stop discrediting the words of women who are coming forward in a public manner – a move which takes more courage than I personally can imagine – just because the man is a popular and well-loved illustrator. That literally means NOTHING in this case. Believe the woman (women?) and stop this ultra-toxic cycle.

    And by the way, you should definitely check out Anne Ursu’s recent piece in Medium – https://medium.com/@anneursu_10179/sexual-harassment-in-the-childrens-book-industry-3417048ccde2 – this is a widespread issue that we all need to deal with. First step: stop the crap comments about the poor man not getting his say. Seriously: stop.

  12. Debbie Reese says:

    I am reading and re-reading this line from the follow up, posted Feb 5, “Ishta Mercurio Goes Public as David Diaz Accuser”:

    “Mercurio reported her experiences to the executive director of SCBWI, Lin Oliver, who told her that Díaz had been warned in the past about such behavior, ”

    We don’t know who the other women are, but frankly, I wonder when we will hold those in authority responsible? Oliver knew of past behavior. How many incidences were there? Was this a pattern? Diaz was warned. Did the warning enable further behaviors?

    Choosing not to attend subsequent meetings is not the choice that Mercurio, or ANY PERSON, should ever have to make.

    I’m glad Sam posted a link to Anne Ursu’s article. Who else has been warned? Who else is choosing not to go to meetings or gatherings because that would mean being in the same room or space with someone who has harassed them?

    • Absolutely, Debbie. The organizers of these events HAVE been hearing from women. I know it. And to date, many have NOT instituted a zero tolerance policy. Most festivals, SCBWI, panels, conferences, etc, brush aside the feedback they receive so that they can continue to invite the best-selling men they hear bad things about. Enough is enough. We need a zero tolerance policy. Time for SCBWI to decide which side they are on.

  13. scbwi long timer says:

    Yes, why is Oliver not knowing? Or even more, not doing? David’s reputation is well known amongst the women for decades. He asked to stay at my place for no reason while visiting my city. What about his married illustrator friend who was upset David was friendly towards me , so married illustrator lunges at me in the elevator at the SCBWI conference, which sours my connection to married illustrator’s author wife. I will say that when I attended a conference Oliver announced how handsome certain men are during her speeches and seems to favor males in general. I’ve witnessed a female publisher ask a group of librarians at a preview if we wanted to hear how handsome illustrator XX is? I wanted scream out “handsome illustrator yells at kids during his presentations” (my knowledge via an appalled librarian friend). There are women in the business who need to also be held accountable, they see a meal ticket in the predators but still look the other way. I find it ironic that the “anti-bully” kid lit business is filled with covert and overt bullies both male and female who will do anything for a book contract and a thimble full of world power.

    • Natasha Yim says:

      Let’s not over-generalize to include the ENTIRE kidlit business. A handful of bad apples do not represent all of us in the SCBWI world. Yes, the perpetrators need to be confronted and exposed and their heinous acts punished, but in my long-time experience with SCBWI and as an author who has attended numerous conferences, workshops, presentations etc. most faculty members, volunteers, agents, editors I’ve met have been professional, encouraging and supportive so the kid lit business is not “filled” with bullies as you imply. However, we need to stand together to help those who have been harrassed find the support and strength to stand up to their harrassers and bring their situations to light. But let’s deal with it one situation at a time and not discount the time and efforts of the many kidlit industry professionals, many of whom are unpaid volunteers at these events. You have your bad apples but you also have those who work tirelessly for the good of the whole, such as Lin Oliver and her team. Lin is crafting a more transparent SCBWI policy on sexual harrassment so there will be stronger guidance and stricter parameters going forth.

      • Hi Ms Yim, I was a part of the survey and talked below. I can name at least a dozen industry men who have verbally abused me or were predators or felt entitled on various levels outlined in the article. Bullying is a form of abuse. And too add, these bullies had their circle of men and women friends who would be there to fly in to defend them when I ever spoke back, or tried to fight with me for daring speak out. There are plenty of bullies in kid-lit. Like everyone is saying, because you haven’t been bullied does not mean that it’s not happening to others. And as someone astutely said, there is such a buddy-buddy symbiotic nepotistic inclusiveness in the current SCBWI board that who knows how well these new stricter parameters will take hold by those who enabled these behaviors in the first place.

  14. Anonymous Writer says:

    Yes, we steered clear of him in the evenings when he was drinking at our conference. If he wasn’t actively seeking out tail, he was rude. As far as no one else being a mentor like he was, many people in SCBWI are very helpful. Being nice by day doesn’t excuse his predatory behavior.

  15. ” I will say that when I attended a conference Oliver announced how handsome certain men are during her speeches and seems to favor males in general.”

    Yes, I have observed this as well.

  16. 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.

  17. Anon Victim says:

    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?

    • Third Anon Victim says:

      I was also in Anne’s survey, and the name in mine is James Dashner.

      • surprised anon says:

        I believe you. I’ve witnessed some strange actions from him at conferences and just shrugged them off. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had mentioned that sense of unease to someone.

      • This is insanity! says:

        Hey, why don’t you stop hiding behind anom and speak your truth, starting with your name. Why are we at the point where anyone can say anything about anybody and we are suppose to believe them. Why is slander okay when it is ruining people’s lives and careers because of what comes out of your mouth. Let’s see the proof, let’s see the texts, anything. Prove it or shut the fuck up. How do we know you aren’t just pissed because you feel inadequate about your own writing career and want to get back at certain people. Why are we allowing this? And I agree, this kind of baseless accusation is going to set women back, not help them. If you have the balls to name names, then name your own!

    • I believe you both. I’m so sorry you went through this.

      • I was in Anne’s survey as well. Mine was Sherman Alexie.

        • Enough is Enough says:

          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.

        • Annonymous says:

          Yes, me too with Alexie.

        • another anon says:

          If you don’t mind me asking (since you are anonymous here and the author has probably figured out who you are from Anne’s article anyway), which story is yours? I’m very appreciative of Anne’s thorough article on the wide range of culture and systems – and especially appreciative that she focuses on solutions (awareness, policy, etc.).

  18. Second Anon Victim says:

    I was also one of those in Anne Ursu’s survey and the name from my story is also Jay Asher.

  19. I’m so sad to hear this. My god, what a mess. I suspect there are dozens more who can add stories about his severe predatory behavior. What a disgusting world we live in.

  20. I can’t help but remember Jay Asher as one of Lin Oliver’s darlings. I’m so deeply sorry to the women impacted by this. The culture of misogyny and abuse doesn’t belong anywhere, but most especially not in kidlit.

  21. Ishta Mercurio says:

    I am horrified to hear that so many of you have had these awful experiences. I believe each and every one of you. I am so sorry this has happened to you, and you all have my support to tell your own stories, in your own way. You are not alone.

  22. Just because these men didn’t sexually harass/assault YOU doesn’t mean they are incapable of doing it to someone else. Stop being so god damn selfish FFS. If you hear this and your first response is,”Well I’ve known him for 10 years and he never…” JUST STOP.

    • Enough is Enough says:

      I feel like it’s worth mentioning that a lot of abusers tend to have a crowd of people that they never show this behavior to, specifically so that they will have a human shield when allegations pop up. If someone is outed as a harasser or abuser and you never witnessed any of those behaviors, that was most likely a deliberate choice that this harasser made in order to protect himself from future consequences.

      • Patrick Nielsen Hayden says:

        I work in a slightly different area of book publishing (mostly-adult SF and fantasy), but I can say from experience that the above comment is right on the money. In addition, abusers often have extremely good social radar for detecting people they need to never misbehave in front of.

  23. Thank you to the women who named their harassers.

    SCBWI conferences are places where harassment can readily flourish, given the power differential between people with standing in the industry and those looking to enter it. And then there’s all that alcohol-fueled socializing.

    I hope SCBWI comes up with a better reporting mechanism, as well as a zero-tolerance policy. There should be no need to warn people repeadedly about their behavior, as it sounds like Oliver warned Diaz.

    The Society should speak openly at conferences about their policy on harassment and how to report it.

  24. I would also like to add that James Dashner was the man in my story in Anne’s survey.

  25. To anyone saying that they had great experiences with these men, so these stories must be nonsense–you’re wrong. Frankly, those comments are suspicious. My love and support to all speaking out here.

  26. Does anyone remember the conference in early 2000 at the Century Plaza when Lin Oliver ran mini contests every day and the winner was always announced as “Our very own Jay Asher!” Almost every single time over 3 days. One person joked that the only way to win was to submit entries under his name. Then when SCBWI switched to an online presence he was winning most of the first years monthly contests the first year? Also got the prize that sent him to New York expenses paid on SCBWIs dime. The organization has a long standing bias favoring certain men despite the organization being composed mostly of women. Keep looking. They’re the last people who should be leading the charge on bias now. Conferences were breeding grounds for predators surrounded by anxious people desperate to break into the business and scared to say anything.

  27. Thank you to the women who are brave enough to name their accuser here and elsewhere. This thread, article and survey do an excellent job of demonstrating that there is much work to be done. However, it is because colleagues like you that there’s a chance of getting this work done at all.

  28. I’d like to address the women who are #butnotme-ing all over themselves here and other places. If this is your reaction, it is what is called gaslighting: to make a victom doubt their own memory or perception of an event WHERE YOU WERE NOT PRESENT!!!
    We are marinating in a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, ableist, classist society. No one is immune. But women, and it is usually White women who want to be nice and keep the peace, need to seriously think about the defense, erasure, and denial of sexual assault. Who are you protecting? The most privileged? And why are you protecting them? Are you hoping to be part of the “in” group ? To what end?

    • Survivor 4 Kindness says:

      I agree that this is not the right response (the #butnotme), but I don’t believe the women’s responses are gaslighting. I was the victim of sexual assault and gaslighting. A lot has to do with motivation. Men do it to continue predatory behavior and make women think they are crazy, but women often react this way because they feel scared and unsafe as a result of this revelation. I also agree that white feminism can play into this. I just think we can be compassionate towards women who may be reacting this way because of their own experiences, and fear. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and we need numbers in this fight.

  29. I was not in Anne’s article, but I have been harassed by James Dashner.

  30. A current SCBWI member says:

    I’m so grateful to brave souls for putting a spotlight on this topic. It’s important. It’s something that’s near and dear to my heart.

    I do think, however, that we need a nuanced approach for how we go after institutions. Organizations need to grow and change. They need to improve. They need to address topics. Some never will. Some will always do their best to get better. SCBWI is a huge organization with over 60,000 members. Its mission has always been to support the creation and availability of quality children’s books in every region of the world. I think it has done a pretty amazing job when you look at its mission.

    I’ve attended many SCBWI conferences. And, yes, I’ve heard Lin say silly and sweet things about EVERY person she introduces. If she’s biased, she’s biased towards everyone. Both she and Steve Mooser have hearts as wide as the ocean. They care about everyone they meet. They are staunch feminists. If you look at SCBWI’s employees and board, they are both heavily populated with amazing women.

    It’s easy to only see the bad when we look at an organization like SCBWI. I think as we move forward with solutions, it would be helpful to remember that there’s a lot of good that’s been done for feminism and diversity via SCBWI too. Let’s help them grow. Let’s encourage them to be part of the solution. I’m quite hopeful that they are up to the challenge.

    • Sorry, I adore SCBWI and Lin, Steve, and the whole office crew. But all you have to do is look at a typical conference program to wonder why an industry that is something like 80% women has so many male speakers at its events, and women of equal standing are there but less present and often relegated to (lower-paying) panels. I raised this issue when I was in a leadership position and got my head bitten off. And I know they were trying, but I still don’t think they try hard enough. We are all human, and we are all subject to a human bias toward good-looking people of both genders, but perhaps more of the opposite gender — and also more to our friends and established relationships. I agree with you that they ARE up to the challenge, but they can use our help pushing for change to make more and faster.

      • A current SCBWI member says:

        If you look at the last two big conferences, female keynotes dominate. In LA, it was almost all female (one exception) and at the winter conference it was a different format that (I think) only had one opening keynote and one closing keynote. In that case, it was one male and one female. It does feel as if changes have happened (perhaps belatedly due to your willingness to raise issues!) Our world has been slow to change. But I’m very hopeful that things are speeding up.

        I’m super grateful that this topic has a big spotlight on it. I find myself to be constantly in a state of anger toward the misogyny in America. We need women to feel safe. Believe me, I don’t want to sugar-coat any organization. I just believe that SCBWI has done a lot of good and is trying keep up. And I’ll do my best to encourage speed:)

        Humorous (I hope) side note, every year I help with a local writing conference and a few times we’ve realized almost too late that we haven’t invited any males as faculty. We do try for a balanced, diverse faculty, but sometimes it takes us a while to get it right:) Humans…

        Thank you for all that you did (and likely still do) to affect change.

    • Why do we have to look at the “good intentions” of an organization when people need/want to be heard and believed about what has happened to them? I’ve learned my intentions and the good I may do in the world on an individual basis doesn’t make the hurt I’ve done to someone any less. In fact, noting all the good I’ve done in my apology for hurting them actually often makes the person I have hurt feel worse.

  31. Beth Navarro says:

    Thank you so much Martha Brockenbrough for what you said and so many of you for speaking your mind here. For others defending these people, as someone who has been through something like this (NOT with these people or in the Children’s writing part of my life) I understand the knee jerk reaction. The reaction of: No way they did it. Look at all the good they have done.
    It’s a hard thing to reconcile. But believe the victim. To echo what Martha said they don’t get rewarded for this. Believe them. BELIEVE THEM.
    People who sexual harass (and who do worse) can be great mentors, great artists, and also sexual harassers.

  32. Thank you to those of you who are speaking out. I’m sorry this happened to you. I believe you.

  33. Tasslyn Magnusson says:

    Thank you for your stories. I believe you. And every person who told their story in Anne’s survey. I believe you.

  34. I’m grateful this conversation is happening. I vow to pay attention, and support, and report.

  35. Stephen Messer says:

    Thanks to those who are speaking out.

  36. Daniel Mauleon says:

    To those of you speaking out, thank you for your continued courage. We see you and we support you.

    To those denying claims, please ask yourself who you are making comfortable in your community.

  37. Hannah Moskowitz says:

    Thank you so much to everyone speaking out in these comments. I believe you. Please reach out to me if there’s anything I can do.

  38. Thank you for speaking out – I believe you.

  39. To add my voice to the chorus of support: thank you to everyone who’s choosing to speak up. I have only a dim understanding of how frightening and re-traumatizing this must be for you, but I understand that as well as I can from my own, unaffected perspective. I believe you. I will support you however I can.

  40. Ashley Blake says:

    I believe you & stand beside you. Thank you for speaking out & let me know any ways I can support & help.

  41. Thank you, women who are speaking out. I BELIEVE YOU.

  42. Current SCBWI Member says:

    SCBWI is listening and has been dealing with situations as they arise. Policies have been in place for years and they are being strengthened.
    This is from Lin Oliver:
    Children’s book friends: I hope you are all following the conversation about sexual harassment and discrimination in the children’s book industry. EVERY industry should be engaged in this same kind of honest and difficult self-examination. Speaking for SCBWI, I can tell you that we are developing a detailed policy on what constitutes sexual harassment, a code of conduct for everyone at conferences, an explicit reporting system for offenses and an appropriate list of consequences for offenders. I love our field and with all my heart, believe it to be a loving, supportive, and upstanding community, but no community is immune from problems. This is the moment for thoughtful introspection and proactive policies, and I’m proud we are able to have this fearless conversation to provoke change.
    Lin, Steve Mooser and the board are committed to doing what’s best for members. If someone has complained to them, they have dealt with those complaints. There are privacy laws that dictate what they can say but anyone who has attended the summer conference the last few years would have noticed that there are certain people missing who used to be regulars. Those people are no longer mentioned , when they were mentioned often before.
    You can be assured those men named will not be invited to future SCBWI events.

    • Enough is Enough says:

      By “those men named,” are you referring to the men in the original article, or is SCBWI planning to include any of the men who have been named in this comment thread as well? I know I for one would not be comfortable spending my money and my time to attend a conference where any of these men were present.

  43. Susan Adrian says:

    To those speaking out: I believe you, and I will support you as best I can.

  44. I appreciate those speaking out and believe you. It’s time to refresh SCBWI leadership at every level with a generation who understands the sexual aggression and misogyny issues and who can truly help us with out diversity problems. Looking at you, SCBWI Carolinas.

    • Yes! Teresa’s preferential treatment of men at the expense of women in our chapter has driven away many FANTASTIC women who could have been AMAZING leaders in our region.

  45. 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.

    • I think it’s best if those accusations come from victims themselves, even anonymously, not the hearsay from your friend of what she heard. Victims can be believed. Hearsay and repeating stories a friend heard aren’t helpful in these conversations. In fact, they’re irresponsible.

  46. Lisa Schroeder says:

    To the brave women speaking up, I stand with you. I support you. I believe you. It is not easy, even anonymously, to say the names. Even then, you wonder if they’ll find a way to identify you. I’ve heard through the grapevine one of these men threatens his victims with lawsuits of libel if they come forward. He has stories ready of how he was actually the victim. I hope this is the beginning of our industry doing the work to bring about change. And we should all be thanking Anne Ursu for her important work. Monsters have been hiding in the shadows for far too long. If your first reaction is to say I can’t believe it, he’s such a nice guy, you need to check yourself. As someone else said on Twitter, that’s what they said about Ted Bundy too.

  47. Nicole Maggi says:

    Thank you to everyone speaking out. I believe you. I support you. And to anyone saying, “But he’s a great guy…” maybe he’s a great guy TO YOU but that doesn’t mean he didn’t harass someone else. Open your eyes, close your mouth, and LISTEN.
    Conferences are breeding grounds for harassment, and I saw the preferential treatment certain people (especially men) got at SCBWI firsthand. It’s a big reason why I’m no longer a member.

  48. Longtime Atendee says:

    Women reported this guy to Lin, the executive director, and he was invited back? It’s like these conferences were filled with struggling actresses, and year after year Harvey Weinstein was let loose. But here’s the thing: if Lin has set a tone of male privilege at the expense of women, make no mistake it is industry wide. I once did a ms consultation with a female agent who tapped my pages and said, “This is my favorite.” But at the closing dinner, when all the agents’ favorites were asked to stand, hers was a man. In fact, even though the place was 90% women, all but one of the people standing ended up men. At another conference I listened to a speaker tell his road to success story. His agent became his close friend, and she signed him at a conference even the his YA ms was in such bad shape it lacked basic punctuation or even a single paragraph break. Again and again I’ve attended breakout sessions where female editors have chummy presentations with their male authors. Immensely talented women are using their positions and their energies to skyrocket the careers of almost exclusively male stables, stables they’ve hand selected. I don’t mean to suggest any of this even begins to compare with the devastation of sexual abuse or harassment, but when the worst of male behavior prevails, the damage ripples out, and all women are hurt.

    • Anonymous Author says:

      I will never understand why one reporting of Diaz to Oliver wasn’t enough to get him kicked out.

  49. I didn’t respond to Anne’s survey but Matt de la Pena is someone to steer clear of.

  50. Lindsay Eagar says:

    To everyone speaking out, thank you. I’m listening. Im so, so sorry.

  51. I just wanted to say thank you to those beginning these conversations and thank you to those adding to them. I can’t imagine how excruciating it must be to recount these experiences. Please know that I believe you and I want to work to be a part of the solution.

    • These conversations aren’t beginning. They’ve been going on for years and years. It’s privileged as hell to think they’re “beginning.”

      Women have been chewed up and spit out every time they’ve talked this.

      What’s different now is more people are listening.

  52. 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.

  53. Colten Hibbs says:

    To the extraordinarily brave women who spoke up: I believe you.
    Not only do I believe you, but I will stand with you to facilitate change.

  54. I have been harassed by James Dashner as well.

  55. Thank you to everyone being open about the harassment they’ve suffered. This information is invaluable to women who are new to the industry, trying to protect themselves.

    Now a question. There was an editor from Philomel on the Shitty Media Men list, but nothing ever seemed to come of it. I will not name names because I am not speaking from personal experience, but does anyone know if there’s actually cause to worry about this person?

  56. Thank you to everyone who is speaking out about their experiences. I believe you and I’m here to support you.

  57. Joy McCullough says:

    Thank you to everyone speaking up. I believe you and support you. Sending love also to those who are not able to speak up for whatever reason, and those who are only just beginning to process and name their experiences. Please take the time you need for your own well-being. Your experience is no less valid if you are not able to speak up. We support you and fight for you, too.

  58. Amber Lough says:

    Thank you all. You’re very brave.

  59. Nita Tyndall says:

    To everyone speaking up and those who aren’t in a position to speak up, thank you for your bravery and your courage. I believe you.

  60. An SCBWI Member, Too says:

    While SCBWI does a lot of good things, they can do better. The *only* time I’ve ever heard a faculty member’s marital status mentioned on stage was during introductions at an SCBWI Conference in the vein of “sorry, ladies, he’s married.”

    I’m not surprised by the reports of harassment and stand by the accusers.

    • Ex-SCBWI member says:

      I witnessed a male author/illustrator introduced as “adorable” and “AND he’s single!” He was also visibly uncomfortable with the intro. This sort of behavior is fraught with the potential for damage on all sides.

      • An SCBWI Member, Too says:

        I should mention I brought this up because, when men are highlighted as being available, or not, in the official introductions, it reinforces the idea that the conference is a place to hook up versus being a place of learning. Highlighting any faculty member’s marital status or appearance shows a lack of professionalism.

  61. Kristi Cook says:

    To all the brave women speaking out, I believe you. I support you. I admire your courage.

  62. Tiffany Meuret says:

    To all those brave survivors coming forward, I BELIEVE YOU AND I WILL DEFEND YOU.

  63. Tanya Seale says:

    I believe all of you, too. And I’m sorry. :(

  64. I believe you. I am so sorry this happened to you. I want to gather all of us together and form a mighty wall through which these men can no longer have access to us, our bodies or even our books. Standing with you. <3

    And I applaud SLJ for publicly naming names and those coming forward in the comments to name more. Thank you.

  65. I have not been personally harassed by him, but I’ve now heard four firsthand accounts, and one secondhand account, about James Dashner. I know him well, and have for ten years—long before he was famous—and I believe every one of the complaints about him.

  66. To any who would like to see SCBWI do better, they are currently creating a stronger policy and better reporting procedure. Please contact the organization with your thoughts, complaints, offers of help, stories of what happened. They are ready and willing to both listen and act. They have listened and acted in the past with consequences that were more than the standard at the time, but that’s not my story to tell.

    If you have tried to report such behavior and felt you weren’t heard, I am truly sorry for your experience. It is not easy to come forward. It’s also not too late to come forward now and help this organization, and industry as a whole, do better.

    • There has been a KNOWN SEXUAL PREDATOR on the board for YEARS and it was tolerated. “He was warned.” And there is another Board member, prominent picture book illustrator who beds a lot of women at these conferences. So…hence, the lack of trust.

  67. Rin Chupeco says:

    I am so sorry, and want to add my support for all the brave people speaking out with others in this thread. We are listening, we hear you, and we support you.

  68. I belonged to SCWBI for many years and attended LA and Italy conferences. As an older woman I could pretty much see the dynamic across the board was favorable to men and to young “pretty” women , but having lived through my own harrassment days as a young woman could see what was happenning around me.
    One suggestion: stop having business meetings in bars. The amount of drinking at these conferences is pretty off putting when what I wanted to do was talk kid lit. The drunken behaviotr of some board members is legendary and just laughed off. And if you do not want to participate you do not meet industry professionals.
    I believe the women who are speaking up because after a life time in various situations and work environments the stories ring absolutely plausible. I am so sorry for the smack down on your confidence, security and hopes. Get supportive counsel however you can. Do not carry it around with you as an unhealed wound is my unsolicited advice.

    All this confirms my decision to epublish my own books. At leat the success or lack of will be my own and not hinge on the whims of sexually distracted people.

    • Sorry for the typos. SCBWI etc.

    • I completely understand why you would warn people away from bars, and of course you are right that drinking leads to bad behavior. But when networking is happening in a bar, women need to be in bars. They shouldn’t have to miss out on these opportunities just to say safe. The responsibility is not on them. It’s on the men who MAKE those spaces unsafe.

      • That is an awesome idea. And if awesome ideas could change hideous realities, a lot more would have got done by now. Unfortunately, someone has to persuade the men to take the responsibility to make bars safe(r) for women. Are you volunteering, anon?

  69. CommaGirl1993 says:

    How about the publishing execs who have overstepped the bounds of decency over the years? We all know them. But all are afraid to speak out given the size of this industry.

  70. 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.”

  71. I believe you. All of you.
    Thank you for being brave.

  72. I have been sexually harassed by Richard Paul Evans (author of the MICHAEL VEY series).

  73. Kate Gilbert says:

    Thank you to all for speaking out despite how painful it surely is to revisit this disgusting behavior and its aftereffects. I believe you. I support you.

  74. Tara Dairman says:

    No more silence. I believe you.

  75. Far and Away Me Too says:

    Oh, yes… Diaz, et al. A few of us newbies crashed the SCBWI NYC party several years ago because (ummm, funds…). Anyway, we showed up knowing we’d have to dodge the entrance police, but Diaz greeted us (and, of course, we knew his work, who he was, but not really WHO he was…), promised us VIP access, and took us on each arm. We went because–again–direct access to the faculty, free food, free booze. And I met a veteran SCBWI member who talked my ear off about her new book–one that I gave her advice about how to NOT be racist… dear god… So, my cover fee was well covered within that first hour. Anyway… Diaz sauntered off with other women, and our group disseminated, talking with the best in the industry behind those velvet ropes. Then another illustrator–a very well-respected illustrator–kept buying me drinks, asked for my number because I was “beautiful” and then we discussed a host of things, and he asked for my number. I obliged, but then he texted me for well over a week after the conference. I mean, he texted like a man-puppy who refused to pee on someone else’s territory, until he eventually kept on, even inviting me to his home (several states to the south), with additional invitations to travel with him. Despite all of my “no’s” (not to mention all of the messages I ignored). I still don’t feel badly about not re-newing my SCBWI membership (much less crashing the party that night). Oh, and at least one of the men mentioned in the comments above is on faculty in one of the kid-lit MFA programs–exposed to new, eager writers. What will the deans do about this? What will the kid-lit community do about this? Ladies who are coming forward? You are here. You rock. And WE believe you. And for those apologists–if you lack empathy on a message board, I can’t imagine what your fiction lacks… Dear god.

    • Far and Away Me Too says:

      I realize after re-re-revising the original post–how I’ve glossed over the physical–the hand under the table on my upper thigh, not once, or twice, but four times after the phone number exchange. The creepy uncle-like kiss on each cheek goodbye. The self-invite to return with me to my hotel room, etc. Every time from me–no, no, stop, good night–etc. because, you know, good girl behavior, newbie status, no ticket in the door (bounceable any second). Anyway…

  76. Katie L. Carroll says:

    I want to add my support to those who are speaking out and to those who can’t.

  77. I wasn’t in the survey, but add me to the Dashner list.

  78. This news feels like a smack the forehead moment for me–“Duh! Of course!” Why was I so blind? I am part of an industry with an immense imbalance of power, and I don’t mean between men and women exclusively, but between the established insiders and the throngs of inexperienced ambitious people who desperately want to be on the inside (much like the entertainment industry). Clearly, some insiders choose to abuse that power for their own perverse purposes. I remain confident that the overwhelming majority of writers and illustrators, both established and newbies, are the very giving, good people I assume them to be, but I was a fool to believe children’s publishing was somehow encased in a candy coated bubble. This realization grieves and angers me, but it also motivates me to listen to and support those brave individuals who come forward to tell us the Truth. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have come forward so that we deal with reality, no matter how shattering or painful. I believe you. I hope the days ahead will help you to feel empowered and bring you a sense of healing so that you can continue to create your art and stories for the sake of all children who need them.

  79. I’m in awe of the courage shown here and elsewhere. I stand with those who were harassed. I believe you. I support you. I’ve got your back.

  80. Tara Lazar says:

    Thank you to those who are speaking out and speaking up. You are brave and what you have to say is important.

  81. Thank you to everyone who as spoken out. Professional organizations must develop codes of conduct, explicit sexual harassment and abuse policies, and reporting procedures. I have contacted several professional organizations this weekend inquiring about their policies and encouraging them to make their current policies more visible (if they have them) or to develop them immediately. Conference attendees and organization members should not be prey for abusers.

  82. Anon #MeToo says:

    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.

    • Anon #MeToo says:

      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.

  83. Brenda Ferber says:

    Thank you for your courage. Naming names protects other would-be victims. I believe you. I support you. And I’m so sad this is going on.

  84. Thank you for naming names and dragging the ugly into the light. You are brave women. I believe you and stand in solidarity with you.

  85. As a teacher of our future generations of human beings, I thank all of the brave people who are speaking up. I will be listening and watching, and will no longer support – through purchases or book talks – those who use their power to harass or oppress others.

  86. Anonymous, the person at Philomel is the publisher. He has had a NOTORIOUS reputation for over a decade. He was lightly reprimanded for his behavior.

    • Beth in Boston says:

      I’m curious what you know about the reprimand. HR talk? What actions were being taken? Thanks for any info.

  87. Thank you to everyone speaking up and sharing your stories. I hope your bravery helps shift our industry’s practice of turning a blind eye to harassment. As others have mentioned, I’d like to see SCBWI pay more attention to the way that male authors and illustrators are elevated at conferences. But the publishing industry itself is one of the structures upholding this practice. Publishers know that the majority of teachers and librarians who talk about, buy, and gate-keep children’s literature are women. They have a history of playing up the sex appeal of men in our industry — especially attractive young men — in order to sell books. That is a large part of the problem.

  88. Another Writer says:

    I want to add that probably MOST conference attendees are not pre-warned about potential abusers. I’ve never heard the whispers. SCBWI and other conferences need clear policies and procedures around abuse for conferences and mentorships so that no one has to rely upon being in the “right” group to be forewarned. The burden should not be on the potential victims.

  89. For those who have named names–I believe you.
    For those who do not feel ready or safe to name names–I believe you too. You are all very, very strong.

  90. Jennifer WHISTLER says:

    I wasn’t in the survey, but I was harassed by Diaz. And I am leaving my real name because I believe that it is important to be as transparent as possible when making these accusations. But I also have deep respect for the people posting anonymously for whatever reason they feel they need to.

  91. Jen Petro-Roy says:

    Thank you to all those speaking up and who do not yet feel safe to speak up. I am in awe of your bravery.

  92. Arie Wolff says:

    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.

    It’s known among a very small circle, and I’m sorry for those it hurts. I was a teenager, and I’m enby. I was sexually harassed by Tristina Wright. It went on for a long time. I eventually had to delete my social media accounts and restart under a new name. She has a reputation among young people on social media. After her appearances on the conference circuit for her debut book it was known. Steer clear, especially if you are young, thin, and have long hair. She has a type and she is relentless.

    • I don’t want to make you nervous but did you want to change your name/handle on this? Or is your choice of handle already anonymous enough to protect yourself?

    • Hi,
      I have no idea who you are. Perhaps you’re a member of the group who’s been sending me death threats and telling me to get out of YA entirely “or else.” Feel free to contact my publisher – Entangled – but I never went on a conference circuit for my debut. I’m disabled. To do so would’ve caused me extraordinary amounts of pain and discomfort. Not to mention the weeks of recovery afterward.

      I don’t know the intent behind this malicious accusation, but real people are suffering and real abusers are in children’s publishing. I’m one of the victims but my story is my own, and now I may never come forward with it because of this.

      However, I will be contacting a lawyer to protect myself because it’s clear after the multiple death threats and messages to get out of YA, and now this accusation, there is an organized attempt to make me leave by any means necessary.

      The truly disgusting thing is that you’re hijacking a movement meant to help victims of assault for your petty vendetta.

      • You were present at BEA and Book Con. That’s documented on your social media.

      • Mrs. Wright,
        The accusation might be a false claim but what makes you different than the men accused? Why are you being asked to be give the benefit of the doubt over others listed? You have white privilege despite all of this. The non-white men, who might be seen as “creepy” by white women, do not get this same grace.

        You have always said to believe the victims. Take a step back. If these people are waging a campaign against you to ruin your name, the truth will come out. Adding yourself to this conversation is not helping you.

        • She also was racist to Justina. It’s probably still on Twitter.

          • Not quite. Tristina tweeted that a known Goodreads troll was targeting her, and Justina — out of the blue — jumped in on full attack mode, berating Justina in an “oppression olympics” kind of way. (“You don’t get to complain you’ve been harassed because you’ve never lived with the harassment black women live with every day etc etc!”) The pushback against Justina, from both her followers and Tristina’s, was sufficiently harsh that Justina disabled her Twitter for several months.

    • Anonymouse says:

      So sorry this happened to you, Arie. Sending you love. I believe you.

      • Considering Arie mentions “appearances on a publicity circuit” that Justina never made, I’m going to be skeptical of this one.

        • If she went to Bookcon she had contact with teens. That’s enough. It’s not the victim’s job to keep track of her abuser’s schedule.

  93. Anne Marie Pace says:

    Thank you, brave ones. We wish you peace.

  94. Another author says:

    Many of us have heard or experienced these stories for years and I believe everyone speaking up today. Thank you for your honesty and bravery.
    What I want to discuss at some point is how the women in our business fawn over men in our business, often giving men an advantage at the publishing house level and beyond that. Kelly Jensen did great work many years ago when she researched how many awards go to men when our business is largely comprised of women. Articles have been written about how we praise male authors for children so much more because men working for children are seen as exceptional somehow simply because they are men who care about children. Women of publishing, I believe it’s time to stop putting men in publishing on a pedestal. It’s time to judge work based on the quality of the work, not on who wrote it. We need to have this conversation and stop pretending that this isn’t happening. It’s part of what led us here. If we’re going to pull the cover off now, then we need to talk about why there was cover in the first place.

    • “It’s time to judge work based on the quality of the work, not on who wrote it.” I agree with this, because it will remove the incentive for people to exploit their positions of power. Maybe children’s publishing should be like journal publishing in the academic world, writers submitting with no identifying markers on the work. At least start with a couple of imprints and see how it goes.

      • Another anon says:

        I completely agree that we need to stop putting male authors on pedestals, but why should women give up their ambition and recognition? I want my name on my books. I want to win awards and be praised for my work. They’re my accomplishments, after all. I certainly won’t ever apologize for that. I don’t think this is a solution, though I understand the desire to find one and I understand wanting to squash the hero-worshiping of those that abuse their positions of power. But I don’t want to make myself smaller to make it happen. Men are certainly never asked to do that.

        • I’m not saying books should be published anonymously. Only that submission is a blind process. I was on an award committee for unpublished work where this was done, and so were several other commenters. It worked out well, and we all walked away feeling like our process had been fair.

        • And by the way, some years ago, orchestras started auditioning members behind curtains, so they wouldn’t see who was performing, and the result was much higher representation of women in orchestras.

        • Another author says:

          I agree. I don’t think blind submissions would be possible at the award levels where Jensen did her research. I think, eventually, this should be a wake up call to publishers, publicity managers and gatekeepers to have a conversation and to look long and hard at their biases and see if their dollars, awards and recommendations follow those biases.

    • Nicole Maggi says:

      YES. THIS. ^^^^^^

    • Another anonymous author says:

      Yes, yes, yes, 1000 times yes.
      From the moment a manuscript is submitted for publication to the moment an adult decides whether to put a book into a child’s hands, this bias is happening.

  95. Rebecca Mahoney says:

    Thank you all for your bravery and I’m so sorry that you’ve been forced to contend with this. I believe you.

  96. Former SCBWI member says:

    Besides being sexist, SCBWI is a buddy buddy club with the exact same industry insiders trotted out year after year. And if they are all friends, how can leadership be trusted to enact the harassment policies?

  97. Arie Wolff, I’m so sorry to hear about what you went through. I know how difficult it is, as a woman to tell people you were sexually harassed by another woman. I’ve been through it too, in a different industry.

    Applauding the courage of all the brave women here who are speaking out and appreciating those who are naming names to warn others. Very much hoping the celebrated male authors who have perpetrated these abuses will no longer be celebrated, although that remains to be seen…

    • NotJustWomenHere says:

      Arie Wolff probably does not identify as a woman, as they specifically say “I’m enby”.
      Misgendering people is not a good way to support them.

  98. 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.

    I’ve already said the same thing off-anon on my own accounts, I’m simply posting it here for anyone else he might have done the same with.

  99. 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.

  100. I heard about Jay Asher back in 2005. It is so well known, his agent HAS to know. I’m quite disappointed in her, and in anybody who has supported his career in any way. And it is almost impossible to believe the SCBWI conference organizers didn’t know about his behavior either.

  101. To all of those speaking out: I hear you, I believe you. I am listening.

  102. Stephan Pastis has sexually harrassed me too.

  103. 😬😬😬😬😬 says:

    I would be very careful to believe any of this information in these comments until the harassed come public and/or criminal charges are filed. Anonymously attacking an individual without credibility is also harassing, but in a different way. It is unfair that we can ruin the reputation of someone just by publicly claiming that they harassed us. Drew, you’ve provided a forum for false and unbacked allegations to be made. Kudos for raising awareness to the issue, but un-kudos for not holding the proper accountability line for those that you have let participate in this allegation with you.

    Sexual harassment is very bad. No question. False allegations are also very bad. No question.

    There seems to be a gradient of sexual harassment from “Someone touched my shoulders in a way I didn’t like even though I never asked them to stop” all the way to making crude comments and overt actions about sexual activities or private body parts, to much much worse. IMO I am hearing way to many accounts from us women about how someone harassed us when it wasn’t at all harassment, and really it was just an unwanted comment from someone they didn’t like or find attractive. So many of these accounts also hold very little or zero authority or opportunity nuances.

    Please, those of you making anonymous accusations, release details, reveal who you are, and/or file charges. Otherwise, you may want to reclaim your comments. I’m told that the literary authors labeled in these comments could easily find who posted each comment by the IP address of the computer that posted it. Be warned, libel and defamation are not legal (if untrue) and thus you place yourself at risk by publicly harassing a harasser without basis. If your comments cause damages to any of the named authors, be prepared to defend them.

    If your story is false, recant it. Remove it. If the harassment was just an unwanted advance in a friend-to-friend flirty scenario where you were to scared to say “NO!” to at the time, then grow up and move on with life. Flirting is not illegal.

    If your story is true, come out with it. Reveal yourself! Be brave just as all the many women have over the last several months! If you are confident you have sexually harassed, and you are willing to smear a name over it, then out with it! Tell the world your story and hold those disgusting men accountable!

    • Lisa Mantchev says:

      And yet YOU didn’t sign your name to your post, and you have even less at risk.

      Stop victim blaming. Stop putting the onus on the harassed instead of the harassers.

      Predators get away with predatory behavior because their actions are protected by posts (and people) exactly like these.

      • What’s your name? You certainly can’t be sued for slander by posting this comment, why aren’t you putting your name behind it?

    • Funny how you’re talking about people coming out with it when you don’t even post your own name. There’s no room for apologists here. Bye.

    • Donalyn Miller says:

      I notice that you published this comment anonymously. Ironic.

    • If it was safe to make these reports on the record, many people would already have done so. If there was reason to believe these reports would be taken seriously, many people would already have made their reports official. There are people who can’t afford to bring the law into it; that doesn’t mean nothing happened to them. There are people for whom describing the details of what happened is re-traumatizing. That doesn’t mean nothing happened to them.

      If you want these stories to be made with names, on the record, then the best thing you can do is work toward making the industry — and the world — a place where it’s safe to report behavior. The first step toward doing that is to take reports seriously, even when they’re anonymous, and understand that they may be anonymous for good reason. Suggesting that people are making false reports and demanding people who’ve been harassed open themselves up to more potential harassment by going on the record does the opposite of that.

    • You posted this mess anonymously. What are you afraid of? Why not attach your real name to it?

      … now imagine if you were traumatized by harassment, assault, or abuse and facing down men powerful in your career industry with deep pockets and lawyers on retainer. That’s why these women remain anonymous. They are protecting themselves the way you are. Only, they’re protecting themselves from an actual threat, not just being a hypocritical coward.

    • Melanie Conklin says:

      This original comment is reprehensible. And frankly, very suspicious as something that an accused harasser might write.

    • I think Anne’s article (https://medium.com/@anneursu_10179/sexual-harassment-in-the-childrens-book-industry-3417048ccde2) does a very good job of outlining levels of harrassment and what is legal and what is not legal. Legal and not legal is only a small part of the question. Power and power differentials is a huge part of sexual harrassment and problematic sexist and racist behavior. Power is defined by practice and policy of a group of people or institutions or profession. Systems need to be changed. Anne’s article and the people who bravely stepped forward to share deserve huge credit for raising this difficult and complex issue inspite of not being believed, not being trusted, told they just misterpreted flirting behavior or heard a bad joke or couldn’t take a joke.

    • Far and Away Me Too says:

      Your scare tactics and pseudo-legalese are amusing at best, and perhaps frightening, at worst. Why would anyone who has been harassed have to reveal themselves? Because “you’ve been informed” that these men can track those who have come forward? So, multiple women are just out for these guys, huh? Who are you working for? It reeks. Honestly.

      And release details? Out with it? It is up to the individual–and not your command–to release what she feels she wants to. Period. But that you’re threatening “libel” is interesting… Do we have a lawyer here or a wanna be? And for you to write: “So many of these accounts also hold very little or zero authority or opportunity nuances–” First, what does that mean? Grammatically? Anyway… I won’t reveal my name to you nor my profession, but let’s just say, I’m an expert, and your words are empty rhetoric, echoing around all of us. Relying on empty commands masked as a call to arms. It’s cheap, yet predictable, apologist. Your tough exterior ain’t foolin’ anyone, so you can take those imperative statements and re-direct them towards, I don’t know these men or, y’know, yourself–who has chosen to replace any semblance of a name with emojis. Typical. You command that we reveal ourselves while you hide behind a row of emojis. Redirect your energy towards the men who have been accused–accused again, and again and again and again.

    • Stephen Messer says:

      First off, it’s not necessarily that easy to track someone from the IP a website logs. Second, if anyone is worried about being tracked, friend me on FB (if we’re not already friends), and I’ll tell you how to easily spoof your IP address so that you can’t be tracked.

      • Stephen, thanks so much. This is something I’ve worried about, but don’t know enough about the technology to have answers for.

    • Enough is Enough says:

      Okay. I’m sick to death of hearing people make the complaint that “you can’t even touch a woman’s shoulders without being accused of sexual harassment these days!” (Quotation marks not because I’m directly quoting our anonymous poster here, but because I’m paraphrasing an argument that gets made quite a lot online.)

      You know how to keep from being accused of sexual harassment for touching a person who didn’t want you to touch them? Make not touching people your default. If you want to touch someone, ask. If they say no, don’t.

      It really is that simple.

      • This. Please. It belittles either gender, the concept of adult maturity, or both to pretend that someone (either aggressor OR victim, actually) doesn’t know and can’t tell the difference between a professional relationship or a professional level of friendliness and a come-on/taking advantage. And the idea that maybe someone could be confused, mistaken, misunderstood has been weaponized for way too long.

    • I’m not part of the survey, but I support all those speaking up and those who don’t feel safe doing so. This anonymous warning by 5-forced-smileys reads a lot like a threat by an accused or would-be-accused industry male (pretending to be a female devil’s advocate) meant to intimidate those who’ve already spoken up and silence those who are wondering whether it’s safe for them to share their experiences. That may be effective to some degree. But this important conversation has started — and it’s not going anywhere.

    • Having looked at the source code for this page, there is no record of the IP address of any of the commenters. So to get those IP addresses, someone would have to break into the server that is hosting this site. If you have an accusation to make in this regard, please do so. If you know of something like this happening, you are responsible for speaking up. As the rest of these comments suggest, this is a very safe place to discuss when someone is abusing the standards that we all hold.

      However, it seems more likely from the rest of your comment that you are fear mongering. If this is the case, then you are working to intimidate and frighten people who have already been intimidated and frightened enough. If making people afraid to come forward is your goal then you are both enabling abusive behavior and engaging in it yourself.

    • Ruth McNally Barshaw says:

      You say: “Drew, you’ve provided a forum for false and unbacked allegations to be made. Kudos for raising awareness to the issue, but un-kudos for not holding the proper accountability line for those that you have let participate in this allegation with you.”
      This is disgusting. Quit defending those who have been named repeatedly for bad behavior. Quit blaming the victims. Quit pretending that unless sexual assault/harassment goes through the legal system it doesn’t count.
      As the parent of a young woman whose rape claim is making its way through the legal system right now, I am appalled at your stance.
      Sexual assault and harassment happens everywhere. Women are smart enough to know the difference between flirty attention and sexual harassment.
      Either read up on this or talk to someone who has been there. And please, whatever you do, don’t spread your ideas in books for young people. They deserve the truth.

      • Ruth McNally Barshaw says:

        Now I’m replying to my own reply. I was harsh in the above post and I am sorry for that — I don’t see a way to edit it. I have sexual assault survivors on my mind a lot these days and it’s coloring my view of claims of sexual harassment/assault by others, including here in my beloved children’s books industry.
        This is a tangled issue. We have to believe women in order to make them feel safe enough to speak up.
        At some point after that, we have to be discerning about what constitutes abuse — sexual abuse, abuse of power, abuse of access — and what is harassment and what is flirting and what is crossing the line. (For instance, faculty at events have more power, so it’s a very different line for attendees vs faculty.)
        Personally? I am trying hard to listen and understand, especially to those who disagree with me.

    • It seems obvious to me that all of the “women are lying” posts and thinly veiled threats of retaliation have been written by the same 2, maybe 3, people. I see only two writing styles in these voices. Gee, I wonder what reason you could have to advise women to delete their accusations? It wouldn’t be because YOU’RE one of the people who’s name is getting dragged through the righteous mud, would it? Interesting!

      “Come forward and put your real name on it so that the successful, powerful men who can afford fancy lawyers can contact you and threaten to sue you into silence…just like in the good old days!”

      Go away, DUDE.

  104. To those who can speak up: I believe you and support you entirely.

    To those who can’t speak up: I support you entirely, too.

  105. To those of you sharing stories of harassment and abuse: I believe you, and I’m here for you.

  106. angela marie says:

    Reveal yourself too then if it’s so easy??? Stop trying to intimidate victims into recanting or staying quiet. What you;re doing is so transparent.

  107. To everyone posting your stories: I believe you and so do a lot of people. You’re not alone.

  108. Can’t find how to reply to the earlier comment, sorry… But I just wanted to say that there is another woman in publishing who was sexually harassed/assaulted by a (very prominent) female author. It’s not my story to tell, not my name to name, but it’s too important to keep completely to myself. At this time, what we need most is to stand together.

    • Was this Tessa Gratton? She is a predator.

      • This is not a place to smear people you have a grudge against. It’s disrespectful to everyone.

        • Nothing in the reply indicates a personal grudge, unless you think every person named in the comments is being named because of a personal grudge.

        • Any reason you think this is a smear? Because I’m also aware of several stories about her.

      • Anonymous (from February 11, 2018 at 2:56 pm) says:

        No, Tessa Gratton was not the author who harassed/assaulted my friend. It was a different woman, someone in the highest tier of popularity/success (IMO)…

        • Anonymous (from February 11, 2018 at 2:56 pm) says:

          I should add: It *pains* me to be so vague about this, but I recognize my place, and it is not as a victim myself, thus I cannot name the name. I spoke up because I wanted an earlier commenter (and anyone else to whom it might be relevant) to know that they were not alone in being harassed by a woman, though it may be less common.

      • I have grappled with posting this as I know Tessa Gratton will know exactly who I am if I do, but it pains me to be complicit in this more than it pains for me to be outed, I think. I think. God, I don’t know. I was present for an incident of Tessa harassing a rape survivor during a professional workshop/ retreat — Tessa was making date rape jokes at her, specifically trying to force alcohol on her, and constantly making comments about how much she was sexually attracted to this survivor, despite the survivor’s continued protests. I don’t know if Tessa is a “predator” as that first comment said. I hope not. I do know she has hurt at least one woman in the community, and I post this not to smear her, as another comment said, but because I hope that specifics might quiet dramatic rumors and instead encourage her and anyone else in the community who may have hurt someone to take a hard look at themselves and ask why they were named in these comments this way. This industry has a real problem with walking the walk and talking the talk, and we need to be better. I feel fairly ill posting this, because like I said, she’ll know. But I’m not much use protecting a survivor if I too am daunted by the person who harassed her. So I guess I’m pressing ‘post comment’. :(

      • A Complicit Bystander says:

        I have grappled with posting this as I know Tessa Gratton will know exactly who I am if I do, but it pains me to be complicit in this more than it pains for me to be outed, I think. I think. God, I don’t know. I was present for an incident of Tessa harassing a rape survivor during a professional workshop/ retreat — Tessa was making date rape jokes at her, specifically trying to force alcohol on her, and constantly making comments about how much she was sexually attracted to this survivor, despite the survivor’s continued protests. I don’t know if Tessa is a “predator” as that first comment said. I hope not. I do know she has hurt at least one woman in the community, and I post this not to smear her, as another comment said, but because I hope that specifics might quiet dramatic rumors and instead encourage her and anyone else in the community who may have hurt someone to take a hard look at themselves and ask why they were named in these comments this way. This industry has a real problem with walking the walk and talking the talk, and we need to be better. I feel fairly ill posting this, because like I said, she’ll know. But I’m not much use protecting a survivor if I too am daunted by the person who harassed her. So I guess I’m pressing ‘post comment’. :(

        • Another Bystander says:

          I’ve also been reluctant to comment, but as someone who was also at this retreat (or at at least, I sincerely hope this was the same one and that there are not other incidents): I also witnessed it.

  109. Sad but not surprised. Writing conferences are venues where being published or working in publishing brings great privilege. A number of years ago SCBWI instituted color-coded name tages to distinguish between published and aspiring writers. I never thought this was a good idea, and it seems like an even worse one now. I am grateful to everyone speaking out; it’s the only way we will ever change the culture.

    • SCBWI conf attendee says:

      There were no color-coded name tags at the most recent conference in NYC (2 weeks ago).

  110. He’s banned from SCBWI. They know. The question remains as to when they knew and when they acted.

    • That was referring to an earlier post about Jay Asher and SCBWI and whether they knew. I guess I posted in the wrong place.

  111. Lauren Eldridge says:

    So many brave colleagues – there are thousands of us that believe you and we stand with you. Time’s up.

  112. To the victims speaking up and to those who aren’t, to those of you being forced to relive your trauma, I believe you I believe you I believe you. I stand by you. I’m so sorry this happened to you. You have my support. 💜

    • Yes, and thank you for pointing out that many people are “being forced to relive their trauma.” Many victims are struggling with this very issue at this time. Thank you for being sensitive and aware of that issue.

  113. I doubt she cares, tbf. She also represents Ellen Hopkins, who harasses WOC. And Maggie Stievfater is problematic re: woc too. So having a sexual harasser on top of other harassers is probably not a problem for her. As long as they make her money -_-

  114. Rob Costello says:

    To all the victims of this abhorrent behavior, for whatever it’s worth, I’m so sorry you had to endure this, and I believe you. Thank you for being brave and sharing your stories.

  115. To those who have spoken out anonymously or have used your names, I believe you and I support you. I’m so sorry that you were harassed and/or assaulted. It’s not your fault. They did this and they are responsible for their actions. Thank you for coming forward. Stay safe.

    To the people saying, “So and so must have known about this person’s behavior!” It might seem like people should have known (and some people did), but abusers and harassers hide their behavior or shift the blame, or gaslight people into thinking something else was really going on. So the people that should have known might not have known. I didn’t know about all of these people. There’s one person on this list that I knew something happened with years ago, but I didn’t know it was this. I thought it was something different. Rumors and whisper networks are great, but sometimes the word doesn’t get out to everyone, and sometimes what’s reported is not exactly what happened, usually to protect the victim(s), but sometimes to protect the abuser as well. Maybe specific people did know. If so, they should have done something. But there’s no way to know if they actually DID know, unless you were the one to tell them.

    To the anonymous person above who wants everyone to name names on the record and who says that some of this was flirting and not harassment, here are some things you probably know, but just in case you don’t:
    1. Not everyone feels safe using their name to report harassment. Not everyone IS safe reporting harassment whether using their name, or posting anonymously (if someone finds out by tracking an IP address as you suggested). People get hurt in many ways, including but not limited to, being re-traumatized, being doxxed, or being found in real life and physically harmed.

    2. Many of the names on this list have had multiple people reporting, or are people who are known to have engaged in harassing or creepy behavior for years, or were people that women were warned to stay away from over the years.

    3. “Flirting” can be NOT AT ALL flirting, but terrifying and harassing depending on tone of voice and body language, or when done in conjunction with unwanted touching. It is seen, and rightly so, as a threat sometimes. You never know when a “NO” to flirting is going to wind up being a death sentence. If that seems silly, see the news reports of women being killed for saying no to men who were flirting with them.

    4. As others have said above, it’s interesting and telling that you chose to voice your opinion anonymously while calling for others to come forward on record.

  116. Cathren Page says:

    Regarding libel and slander, though I am a law professor, I do not intend my comment as legal advice and would advise anyone seeking counsel on this subject to speak to an attorney who represents them. I do not practice in this area.

    However, generally speaking to prove both libel (written) and slander (spoken), a plaintiff must show that the statement is false. In some states, the plaintiff must also show malice.

    Therefore, generally speaking, if the statement is true, the person cannot be held liable. In some instances, if the purpose of the statement was not to harm but to help, then the person also cannot be held liable.

    We all know the repercussions women have suffered over the years for speaking out. I would not ask someone who is already suffering the post traumatic stress symptoms of harassment to also subject herself or himself to that by outing themselves.

    I personally ethically support anyone who relays true facts for the sake of bringing about change and applaud their courage in speaking up. Though I have never personally been physically, sexually touched by someone in the children’s writing community, I’ve experienced it elsewhere and know what people who have suffered are going through. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering.

  117. stop the abuse says:

    Can we talk about women in power positions who know about abusive men, and choose to believe the men over the victims?

    If so, Tiffany Rosenthal Hofmann, person who co created a fiction writing mentoring contest, was outed for abusive/racist behavior (videos of Tiffany ranting were released to prove it). When abusive/racist men contacted Tiffany to complain about a marginalized and disabled woman of color, who refused to stay silent about their harassment, gaslighting and other abuse, Tiffany chose the men’s side.

    She then fired the WoC, after verbally attacking/berating the WoC on video. After the video’s were released, Tiffany changed her name to Courtney Lynn Rose clrose1990 on Twitter. She’s a freelance editor and an acquisitions editor for Filles Vertes publishing. She’s in collusion with a ton of Pitch Wars mentors, who are well known in the writing industry, and who knew of Tiffany’s abuse and name change to hide her true identity.

  118. Ashok K. Banker says:

    To all those who have spoken out about this unacceptable behavior, as well as those who have named names:

    I believe you.

    Speak on.

    As for those apologists who are rushing to defend the abusers:

    We see you.

  119. My heart breaks for the many women who’ve left this profession because of being preyed upon. In the past when I was SO desperate to be published, it would have devastated me to have been put through what these women are describing. It would have crushed me to believe that someone loved my work, only to learn that they were viewing me as an object. I would’ve blamed myself. I’m SO glad that this is coming out, that we are finally able to demand respect, whether we are published or not published. And the SCBWI conferences that have name tags differentiating between published and unpublished? Unacceptable. What a way to create a power imbalance! For the issue of biased awards and contests, another way of keeping favouritism out of them would be to have every book submitted anonymously. Not sure if that’s possible with published books, but the PNWA contest which accepts unpublished manuscripts makes sure that every submission is anonymous to the judges. It seems like something could be done for ensuring books receive awards due to merit, and not due to favours, friendships, and gender. I’m so very sorry for those of you who’ve been mistreated, and for all of us who’ve been mistreated by a broken system. It’s high time to have a society and an industry that is merit-based, and to get the exploiters out of these positions of power.

    • Ellen Hopkins says:

      I judged the Golden Kite Award (YA category) two years ago. Three judges, all with different backgrounds as per the kinds of books we write. I can tell you without doubt that the books were judged for merit, not favors. We each chose a shortlist, then discussed merit specifically. Much like I’m told the Newbery is judged, some of our books were the same, some different. We discussed those not on our personal lists as well. It was a long process, with almost 250 books read. The best rose to the top.

      • NotTheTimeNorPlace says:

        Hey, I’m not sure what your intentions are. I’m so glad that contest is based on merit, but this is not appropriate. This what you focus on when people are talking about the unfair amount of fawning over certain male authors, and the power that gives them and the disparity between best-sellers and aspiring writers in conferences. Think hard about this, Ellen.

  120. I was quoted in Ann’s article my predator was Mo Willems.

    • I figured out how many men in the business, mostly the authors and illustrators, who have veered off the professional track with me, mostly verbal abuse, and I counted over a dozen! I know I am forgetting some more incidents.

    • Oh my god.

  121. Colby Sharp says:

    Thank you to all the woman coming forward to share the awful things that have happened to you. I usually don’t comment on this sort of thing, but I am starting to see my silence as a problem. I wish I knew what else to say. Just know that I hear you, and I hurt for you. Please let me know what I can do to help.

    • Kristy Dempsey says:

      Colby, as teachers I think we have to truly consider how we contribute to celebrity culture in the way we profile authors and illustrators for our students. I think we used to think that we were replacing their reality tv and music celebrities with better idols. How do we honor the creators of good literature without idolizing them? I admit there’s quite a few people I’m disappointed in right now and I’m trying to figure out how to reconcile that.

      • Colby Sharp says:

        You have some very good points. I have no answers.

      • Another anonymous author says:

        I would say sometimes the honoring is a little too overt? Personally I feel uncomfortable when told that “authors are rock stars”. Many of us are more like rabbits than like rock stars, and we’re okay with that and we want others to be okay with it.

        And I think the “rock star” thing contributes maybe to unfortunate behavior sometimes.

      • This brings up a good point. We idolize creators. I hope this painful discussion, which makes me so angry – but about which I’m also so sorry, and ache for people – even the abusers, who are a part of our shared culture which says that men aren’t men unless they’re aggressive and women chasers, or that they can’t feel important or comfortable with themselves or life without acting that way – this is a learned disability. I hate it, and I stand with these women who have suffered and are brave. I despise this behavior. It’s completely wrong. But these women are not ‘victims’ as their full identity. These men are not simply & only ‘predators.’ I hope and pray for healing for all. Justice and policy change needs to happen but categorizing someone as one thing is counterproductive. Every person is a *person* with a myriad of thoughts, feelings and motivations – as well as gifts. This kind of gets back to the celebrity focus actually.

        Our society has suffered and still suffers as a whole, because of seeing women as “less,” simply for being female. Much of our literature, even for the youngest kids, reinforces women as objects and men as “doers.” It’s also not just one or the other in our books. It’s all mixed together. One book will be more sexist, one will have a different focus – both by the same author. Or within the same work, there’ll be good and bad. This is something we can discuss with kids while reading. Even though the work is always more than (and even somewhat separate from) its creator, I hope the focus will shift more to the work itself. Something that kids can create themselves. Hopefully all of our eyes are opening now and we can make lasting changes away from these biases – and this abuse that is sometimes or at least partially IN the work.

  122. speaking for "us women" says:

    Dear Anon with 5 smiley faces,
    How does it go?
    You can’t stop the future.
    You can’t rewind the past.
    Dude. We know who you are

  123. To the anonymous coward warning of libel suits: a male real estate broker in my town, in the space of one week, wrote posts claiming that I was sleeping with my former district chair on the town legislature (aka “The Greenwich P*ssy Grabber), having a lesbian affair with the publisher of an online news site, and was angry because he’d rejected his drunken advances at a singles bar. All patently and provably false. Yet when I looked into suing him for these patently false claims, the libel lawyer said the bar was high because I’m a public figure (and I’m way less well-known than any of the men named here) and that even if I won, people would remember what he said about me, not that I won. So Anonymous smiley, this is an empty threat by someone who stands to benefit from the status quo. I also received an online rape threat and my local police reaction was “let us know if you get another one.” So please, spare us the hypocritical lecture.

  124. 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.

  125. 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.

  126. I just wanted to formally voice my support here for everyone speaking out. Thank you. If there is anything else you need that I can help with, please be in touch.

  127. Sarah Dvojack says:

    I want to lend my support to all of those coming forward. This is long overdue. And there are many other stories still to share (but they are not mine to tell).

  128. Ms Wright: if you’re innocent, that’ll become clear but right now you’re attacking a victim and making them not feel safe. That’s not okay. I think it’d be better if you don’t get involved in this discussion.

    To all those coming forward, while I haven’t been hurt by anyone in kid lit, I’ve been harassed multiple times while working as a librarian. I’ve been following this thread and I’m just nauseated. Thank you to all speaking up. I believe you.

    • Anonymous2 says:

      “Ms Wright: “if you’re innocent, that’ll become clear.” Not necessarily. If I was innocent, I’d speak up. I think there’s a reason we’re only hearing crickets from most of the accused.

      • Due Diligence says:

        It’s inadvisable to charge in to defend yourself as a knee jerk reaction. All that does is make you look defensive, and if you’ve got some triggers going off on top of it, then there’s an increased chance that you won’t be able to mount a coherent rebuttal.

        You can check and see that the men mentioned have been long-time, active participants in the events they’re accused of using as hunting grounds. In T. Wright’s case, she’s never been to a convention, nor has she gone on book tours – easily verifiable facts, so whomever the accuser interacted with, it wasn’t T. Wright. At least not the real one. It is possible for someone to give a false name at an event they’re attending, or scribble a false name on a name tag.

        It doesn’t take much to vet an accusation on a base level and find out if the person in question was physically part of the event.

  129. Kristin reynolds says:

    Thank you. To all the brave people coming forward, thank you. I believe you.

  130. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley says:

    My heart hurts. To those harassed, thank you for speaking up. I will always believe you.

  131. Tom Angleberger says:

    One of my books was dedicated to someone named on this page. I’ve contacted my publisher and asked for their name to be removed from any future printings. I wish I could strip it from the books already in print.

    I’m so angry that this has been going on and so grateful to everyone now working to change it.

  132. Anonymous 2: totally fair. I just don’t want a victim feeling unsafe. If someone is innocent, they surely can speak up. Thanks for the reminder-I’m feeling a little raw right now

  133. 13 Reasons Why you shouldn’t harass women:

    1. It’s wrong.
    2. It’s wrong.
    3. It’s wrong.
    4. It’s wrong.
    5. It’s wrong.
    6. It’s wrong.
    7. It’s wrong.
    8. It’s wrong.
    9. It’s wrong.
    10. It’s wrong.
    11. It’s wrong.
    12. It’s wrong.
    13. It’s wrong.

    Any man who feels the need to harass women needs a lesson on how to be a man. Women deserve our respect and admiration. For all the women choosing to name names, and the ones choosing to post anonymously, just know that we believe you. I hope your bravery today will help change things in this industry, and also help you in your healing process.

  134. another anon says:

    Thank you to those who named names and I’m so sorry for what you went through. I believe you. Publishing needs to get better at how we handle this. People vague tweeting and subtweeting does not help when people outside the loop have no idea what’s going on (especially newer authors, who are more likely to be preyed upon). This is a good start. So thank you.

  135. I’ve heard awful things about another publisher at PYRG for years. High turn over rate at this particular imprint seems to corroborate those claims. It’s a real shame that because of him so many authors lose their editors and that the editors feel like the only way to escape is to leave.

    • I was sexually abused from the age of seven to around 12, by a relative. I’m sixty-five now. Few days go by that I don’t spend a second, or moment, reflecting on how that has affected my life, and still to this day revelations appear as to how I am different because of it. As an older teen, and twenty-something year old, I was, admittedly, beautiful. I was thin (Cuz, yanno, I had that eating disorder thing going on due to the sexual abuse) and tan and was able to flirt and laugh at myself. Things that attract self-absorbed men. When I married (After, yanno, that first marriage that didn’t work out for obvious reasons) and had two daughters, I was pretty focused on keeping. Them. Safe. But that was a different time. Sexual harassment was different. It meant men found me attractive. They liked me, and damn, that felt good. (See first paragraph.) I put up with many things because that’s what we did back then. It never occurred to me to complain. To tell someone. A boss. Or a co-worker. And, I can say, with confidence, nothing would have been done. Maybe, what Oliver did to Diaz. A stern talking to. It wasn’t the culture back then. It hasn’t even been the culture until very recently to speak up. So, to hang Oliver out, does not seem the right decision, but rather support growth and education.
      Finally, I want to say that speaking up about being sexually harassed or, sexually abused, is the very hardest thing a person can do. (See my anonymous sign in). The shame is unbearable. Why didn’t I… stop it? Speak up? Why did I allow it? Something must be very wrong with me. People will look at me differently (Yes, they will) and think I’m weak. Stupid. I can’t imagine anyone doing this for notoriety or attention. They could find it another way, I’m certain. It’s humiliating at the core. So, please, while your experience may have been different with a person, that does not negate the experience of another. So don’t make a person, who is already down, go further.

  136. Well said! Thank you!

  137. More importantly, his wife! And son! I used to follow Jay Asher’s blog and was so happy for the birth of his son. I’m shocked to learn he is one of the questionable’s.

  138. I’m waiting for more names of editors and agents and other industry people to come out, not just authors. I’ve heard many things, but they’re not mine to share.

  139. The girl in the red dress says:

    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

  140. Emily S. Keyes says:

    Wow these comments are upsetting and eye opening. I would like to thank everyone who is telling their story, you might be able to save someone else.

    It’s now getting kind of contentious about libel and who is “lying.” I think our default should be to believe women. Yes, there will always be false reporting. (I think about 7% of sexual assaults are false reports, but I could be misremembering!)

    So that means there are probably some false reports here with so many posts but if you keep seeing the same names over and over it is time to ask yourself WHY you don’t believe. If it is because you love their books, remember Bill Cosby is a comedy genius and still a predator. You can still be talented and problematic.

    As someone who was victimized in another area and not believed, I hope we can at least treat everyone respectfully. We need to discuss this in kidlit. It is important that this happens.

    And we are all complicit in making men the “superstars” when so many women have been mostly the innovators of Kidlit. Our society is…

    I don’t know how to end this. I don’t have answers. I am sorry to victims. If anyone needs to talk, you can contact me. I am just SO SORRY.

    • “That means there are probably some false reports here.”

      You either believe victims or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways.

    • 8% is on the high end of the estimation based on research. This article has it “between 2% and 10%”: https://qz.com/980766/the-truth-about-false-rape-accusations/
      But consider though that that percentage is based on women NOT coming forward because they’re too afraid of being accused of lying. If 100 report assault, and 5 percent are falsifying, and 500 never come forward at all because they’re too afraid… what’s the percentage now?
      Also, when men are falsely accused, it often comes out in court. Their lives aren’t ruined, not compared the the women assaulted. From the article: “out of 216 complaints that were classified as false, only 126 had even gotten to the stage where the accuser lodged a formal complaint. Only 39 complainants named a suspect. Only six cases led to an arrest, and only two led to charges being brought before they were ultimately deemed false.”

      What do the stats tell us then? That conjecturing about who is lying only serves to harm victims.

      Believe victims. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

  141. OMG. So appalled that this has happened to so many of you through SCBWI. Keep speaking out. Stay strong. :(

  142. If you’re spreading rumors you might have heard instead of first-hand accounts you’re adding to the problem.

  143. this is not going to go the way you think says:

    I had a completely consensual sexual relationship with David Diaz, who is about 30 years older than me, and I have 0% regret about it. I never felt like he was taking advantage of me, though he ostensibly has more power than me, and I knew exactly what I was getting into and I was seeing several other men at the time (not in the industry) and I knew he was chasing every librarian/teacher/publisher/writer he could. As long as all of it was as consensual and satisfying as our connection was, I didn’t have a single problem with it.

    After several months of this, including sexual encounters that were consensual and pleasurable, and tons of texting and text flirting, he discovered that I had told other people in our industry (obviously I had – I wasn’t hiding anything and wasn’t embarrassed) and told me he was cutting off all contact because it was supposed to be a “secret” – huh? And it would never work if I told people about it. Excuse me?

    AND THAT’S WHEN I KNEW I HAD BEEN PLAYED and it had never been a consensual relationship between equals. He thought I was just another piece (which wasn’t even the issue, I was fine with being another piece. That’s all he was to me, after all.) that he had to keep secret because GOD FORBID it “get out” he was the kind of person who picked up (multiple, multiple) women who didn’t have the same level of power as him within the industry and at industry events and then strung them all along.

    In the end, the creepiest part of it all – THE ONLY CREEPY PART OF IT FOR ME – was the way he “broke it off.” In my mind, we hadn’t done anything wrong/worth hiding. But in his mind, I was just another broad that could run my mouth about him and that was an issue because, well, that’s how avalanches start.

    Let’s bury these fuckers.

  144. To all who’ve faced abuse, I am so very sorry. Thank you for courageously speaking out. It’s been so sickening to read these many accounts. Of course we knew this wasn’t a perfect industry, but the magnitude of the problem is deeply disillusioning. And, of course, sexism/sexual harassment isn’t the only systemic vice we’re grappling with, as others have bravely pointed out. I imagine most of us who devote our lives to children’s books in any fashion do so because kids’ books are the magic place, the happy place, of our childhoods. To have that magical forest infested with predators — hm, maybe this is what Little Red Riding Hood was trying to tell us. But it is a betrayal of the utmost kind, and an assault on your personhood, and a violation of that safe/sacred space of kidlit. I hope this #metoo moment of greater listening and believing victims coming forward will signal a lasting change, a moral awakening within this industry and other communities, that we ALL need to change our values in a lasting way. And this is always painful. So many people would rather attack back than look inward, acknowledge error, sincerely apologize, and change. Perhaps in tiny (or not tiny) ways many of us, without realizing it, have participated in the culture that enthrones and protects the famous, the popular, the bestselling, the influential, and the attractive. (And the male. The straight male. The straight white male. Straight white young male. Etc. Insert “handsome,” etc.) We all want to advance our careers and not be That Difficult Person, and those aspirational dynamics increase our risk of Complicity Lite: smiling along and laughing along at parties/conferences/events, etc.. Overlooking misbehavior. Mildly flattering the narcissist in the room. (Embarrassing confession: I often can’t hear what’s being said at parties, etc., so I smile and laugh along as a cover for my cluelessness. Heaven knows what I’ve overlooked.) (Other embarrassing confession: part of why I write for kids is that I Just Don’t Get Grownups, and the flirty/flattery/smartypants way adults talk in professional settings makes me want to go home and hug my teddy bears.) So, my prayer for myself at this moment is that I will speak up differently, notice and defend those affected by power imbalances more instinctively and consistently, and give no more “polite” support or silence or indulgence to behavior that doesn’t belong. For victims, a prayer of healing, peace, renewed hope and belief in their ability to tell stories, and the world’s need to hear them. Now more than ever. For industry pros: a prayer that they’ll have the wisdom and courage to make hard but right choices and enact firm policies. For perpetrators, a prayer that they STOP, look inward, admit wrong, make what amends can be made, and return to positive engagement with creativity. Or at the very least, go away and do no more harm. Each of us has a high bar to reach to be worthy of the kids who will, if we’re lucky, read our work.

    • I totally relate to what you wrote about feeling like so uncomfortable with the adult stuff, and racing home to hug a teddy bear. I think there are many of us who were traumatized as children, and who write to create a sense of safety around ourselves, to make new the safety and innocence we did not feel as children. I am so angry at the people who have trampled in this “magical forest”, this place where we thought we were safe. Well, we are safe now. Now we are all speaking up, and speaking out. I will no longer be complicit either, although I haven’t witnessed such horrors in the kidlit industry personally. But I won’t let stupid, sexist comments slide, wherever they are said. And I’m taking Krav Maga which trains one to have a hair-trigger response to any physical, non-consensual touching. I thought about that for the poor woman who gave a hug to one of the accused who then proceeded to grope her. A hard knee to the groin (or two, or three) would have been a just response, but unless we are trained to react, we often freeze because we can’t believe what just happened. I highly recommend it for abuse survivors.

  145. To everyone speaking up and sharing your stories, I know it’s painful to do so, but I believe you. <3 I support you.

  146. Amy Fellner Dominy says:

    I just want to add my support to those who have shared their stories. I believe you, and I believe that your voices–all of our voices together–will lead to change.

  147. 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.

  148. 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.

    • I have some questions with this statement. Yes, women can be abusers – but this seems more like someone who was watching the incident and feeling uncomfortable on the editor’s behalf, does it not? If the editor came forward and says “this made me feel extremely uncomfortable” then I think it would come across as more genuine than someone reporting it like it was at a christmas party and they disapproved, rather than the person it was done to.

      I understand that if the roles were reversed, it might be looked upon in a more scrutinised way – a man rubbing up against a woman, drunk? Terrible. And yet we don’t know their relationship, it could have been seen as good humour by both of them.

      note I’m not defending anyone – just concerned that this could be lumped in with more serious allegations.

  149. 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.

  150. Christina Tugeau says:

    this is terrible in every way…. but lets keep our heads and hearts….not throw out the SCBWI bath water with the baby! Time to hunker down, continue the honesty, and mend the holes. This is OUR world…lets support it being the best it can be!

  151. I haven’t experienced any of this at conferences, which is probably because I’ve only been to a very few conferences, but i’ve worked in publishing for decades and when I think back on things, wow, it’s really all of a piece. As a young woman I had no idea, for example, what to do when I worked in a major publishing company’s NYC offices and my cubicle was across from the esteemed male art director, who spent much of the day talking with a freelance artist analyzing the various attractive women in the company and discussing sexual experiences and spying on people having sex from their apartment windows, etc. in great detail. All the powerful male editors knew about this behavior but pretended it was not happening. And then there were a few years spent in an educational publishing house that developed works for elementary school children in which several highly ranked men who behaved inappropriately were “punished”–but only by letting them go and then hiring them as ‘consultants’. And I’m still scratching my head about what motivated the various women in power who were so condescending and mean to young women, but catered to the men lavishly. I’m not at all surprised that harassment is going on in all corners of the publishing industry.

    • “And I’m still scratching my head about what motivated the various women in power who were so condescending and mean to young women, but catered to the men lavishly.”

      YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

      So many of my colleagues left their job or left publishing altogether for this very reason. I was harassed for almost a year by a female colleague before I quit, too.

  152. I’m sorry to hear about all of this and I applaud all of the people who spoke out. I believe you. To those who haven’t spoken out yet, I understand the difficulty in speaking out l’ll listen when you are ready.

  153. All what people is saying about Dashner is fake.

    • Caller-out-of-BS says:

      Do you follow him around 100% of his life? Because I’m betting you don’t, which means You. Don’t. Know.

      • And do you? I guess not, so you. Don’t. Know. Either.

        • Andrew Kozma says:

          So no one knows except the victims then, and so the default should be to believe and support them.

          • All the accusations that have come from anonymous sources in regards to James Dashner. That could be posted by the same exact person for all we know. If someone comes forward officially stating that he sexually assaulted them then maybe people can be more inclined to believe a person. Not just follow blindly for the sake of following. Provide the information and be transparent or it’s the equivilant to saying nothing at all. If these accusations are false you’re screwing with someones lively-hood all because you want to support an anonymous poster.

          • nunyo biznes says:

            no the default is innocent until proven guilty.

  154. I know others I want to name but I’m scared to. Thank you to all those braver than I.

  155. Courtney Milan says:

    Hey girl in the red dress,

    RWA has an anti-harassment policy at conference, and we did in 2015. If you feel comfortable at all coming forward, please consider talking to me or another board member, and we can figure out what to do.

    I am sorry that this happened to you.

  156. Anon Anon I Come Anon says:

    I agree. You’re not alone in this feeling. <3

  157. Sharon Levin says:

    Thank you all for your courage and your voices. I hear and believe you.

  158. Kate Messner says:

    Sending love and support to the brave women speaking out here. And also sending love to everyone who’s not able to do that right now. We see you, too, and support you.

  159. Annon Because Scared says:

    There’s a certain editor at Tor who thinks its okay to proposition writers in exchange for getting their manuscript published. To make it worse the editor is a woman. You can’t trust anyone.

  160. For those who are, as I am, refreshing this thread, I just wanted to point out that Sherman Alexie has won the Carnegie award at ALA just now… maybe a good time to take to twitter and spread the word of what’s been revealed here.

    • Anonymous21 says:

      Jesus H. Christ. Does this ever end?

    • Anon Supporter says:

      For those taking to Twitter, don’t forget to tag the organizations and accounts who need the information. They can’t act on what they don’t see.

      • my tweet is getting some attention, please let me know what organizations and accounts i should tag.

  161. Betsy Ickes says:

    I applaud the women who are speaking up- kudos to you! Just because a guy treats you with respect doesn’t mean he doesn’t act the same way with everyone. Maybe he’s not attracted to you. Maybe you don’t give off vulnerable vibes. Maybe you remind him of his sister or mom. That doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t his type of prey. Thank God women are now speaking up – we need to support each other!

  162. Pam Victorio says:

    It’s taken me all day to read these accounts I’m sorry that our industry has failed so many of you. I’m sorry that we aren’t doing better. I’m here if you need to talk.

  163. Theo baker says:

    My name is Theo baker. I am Lin oliver’s son. I’ve read a lot of the comments as well as those insinuations in the main article that my mom did not take this and other incidents seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Am I biased against my mom? You bet. I’ve known her well for all 38 years of my life, and she is she is the strongest, most remarkable woman I know. Is she perfect? Of course not. But for 38 years, I have watched her work tirelessly to promote and elevate children’s literature, and to create a safe, inclusive, and extended family for children’s book people the world over. It has always been her mission to promote, hire and encourage people of color, LGBTQ, and yes, women! She has consistently been far ahead of the culture in all of her positions and actions, and to say otherwise is just wrong on the facts.

    While my mom worked tirelessly at the scbwi when I was kid, her day job was working in the tv and films. This was during the 1980s. She was a pioneering figure, a woman with power. I doubt many know how much women hating and abuse she had to put up with in that field, and succeeded despite that. I know from personal experience that it was always her determined and obsessive goal to banish those kinds of abusive and women hating behaviors from her organization, to create a real and truly safe place for women and everyone under the sun to thrive.

    I am incredibly disheartened to learn of how little good will my mom has earned from some of the commmentating class. The SCBWI takes any allegations as serious as cancer. There’s no sweeping things under the rug, or conspiracy, or a willful promotion of patriarchal creeps. (My mom loves people, she is biased FOR everyone. Spend five minutes with her and tell me otherwise.) But the Scbwi is not the retroactive police. They are a non profit with a small full time staff. And despite that, they do everything they can to make sure that the Scbwi and its conferences are inviting, safe, and welcoming to all. And they will be doing much more, as much as they are capable of.

    The Scbwi has been my mom’s life work. Before you trash that with a dashed off comment or insinuation, take a moment and think of how much good will and love she has given the world, especially the world of children’s books. If despite that you still believe she is part of the problem, recognize you will be eating one of your own. There is no better ally than my mom. Believe me.

    • Another anonymous author says:

      That might not be what this conversation is about.

    • Derailing a conversation that needs to be happening.

    • Don't try to derail says:

      Being a loyal son is admirable, but this space is not for you nor about you. This space is not a forum for a debate about SCBWI. This is not a space for debating the character flaws or virtues of people or organizations who have been complicit in victimization. I say this with all due respect: please stop taking space and attention that should be devoted to the victims.

      • Theo Baker says:

        With the same respect and good will, I would gladly cede this space and not make another peep, but to indirectly call my mom complicit in sexual abuse or any sort of victimization is really crossing an ugly line.

        It is categorically untrue in every respect.

        My mom is a woman as well, and all I ask is this. Give her the benefit of the doubt. Allow her to prove her actions have always been in the best interest of women. Look to her fifty plus year career of selfless advocacy for women, families, childhood literacy, and multiculturalism, and give the same weight to that as you do the assumptions of a reporter who spent all of five minutes interviewing her.

        • I appreciate you bringing that up. Your thoughts about your mother, Lin Oliver, DO matter, and matter in this context, given that there is a lot of inappropriate behaviour that has come out at SCBWI conferences. There must be change, of course, but it is change that is due through all levels of society. This IS about the victims of predatory behaviour, and how they need to be believed. But allegations have also been made about how much SCBWI knew. Your comments are relevant, in my opinion. Just because you are commenting, does not mean that you are not respecting the claims of the women who are speaking up. One doesn’t discount the other, and you have as much right as anyone to speak. This is about honesty, accountability, and collective action.

          • Thanks for your reply, Andrea. It means so much. My mom is about to get SLAMMED by news sites on a feeding frenzy who won’t take the time to actually think and investigate, just find a boogie man.

            I never wanted to take the spotlight from the women coming forward. Share away. Partial accounts, anonymous, it’s all ok.

            I just ask this community here not to cast assumption on her based on this article. It is not entirely accurate, and relies on innuendo and speculation. There is no who knew what when. There were two major creep they knew about. When they learned of them and what they did, they showed em the door. But are there other ways they can improve? you bet. I know they want to hear from you. Hell you can email me: theo.is.baker@gmail.com, and I’ll relay a message. Because today, and for the foreseeable future, there’s a school of piranha out that wants to feed and it doesnt matter on what. You’ve seen it happen to other people. Now it is happening to one of the finest most courageous and heartfelt people you’ll ever meet.

            All I can say is that my mom, Lin Oliver, is here to listen to you. How she and/or the organization and change. Please give her and the org a chance to talk to you like people, and they will. This is a compassionate humanist organization.

    • Can we please keep the focus where it belongs, which is on the VICTIMS? Thank you.

    • An observer says:

      Officials at publishing conferences — or anywhere — should not be commenting on others’ looks or marital status. So inappropriate and demeaning to all.

  164. I support and believe everyone coming forward. You are so brave. It’s disappointing to see the names of authors/illustrators I admire – what a gross abuse of power. It’s a reckoning that needs to happen. Time to slay dragons.

  165. And to those saying he/she isn’t like that, wouldn’t do that –

    Ann Rule worked side by side with Ted Bundy and never suspected a thing.

    • Anon Anon I Come Anon says:

      I was married to a man who was sexually harassing my friends and I never knew until after we divorced.

  166. Theo baker says:

    I have/had no intention to insert myself into this. I am simply defending my mom against unfounded accusation and insinuation. That’s all. I’ll log off here.

    • But you did insert yourself. Please exit stage right.

      • I believe the women who’ve spoken out. It’s taken incredible courage. I applaud them and admire them. But this does not mean that you have the right to try to shut someone else down, and stop them from joining this conversation. Theo Baker is NOT one of the accused. His mother, Lin Oliver, is NOT one of the accused, but her name has come up many times in relation to some of these allegations as her somehow being complicit. There is an element of character assassination going on, if we can’t allow her, or her son, to speak up. Trying to shut them down, trying to have a white-knuckled control over the conversation, is not okay. Especially when you are commenting anonymously. That old saying, “Two wrongs don’t make a right” may be trite, but it’s true. We can’t allow a bully mentality to overtake this conversation.

        • Theo Baker says:

          Thanks again, Andrea.

          But I’m happy to take some heat. If people want to go after me for getting into something where they don’t think I belong, that’s fine. I can take it. I’ll be fine.

          Yet I’ll always defend my mom against insinuation. If there’s anything specific to say about her, about how she messed up something or erred or how she can improve—say it. She can take it, and so can I.

          It’s the insinuation and the casual speculation that bothers me, because it’s indefensible, and because it makes assumptions about a person I know to be one of my personal heroes.

          I’ve been going to these conferences since I was baby. I’m the guy in the back just kind of lurking around. At every one, dozens of people come up to me and say “I love your mom.” Let me reiterate, one more time for those in the bleachers, that my mom is everything she appears to be. The person you love from afar is even better up close.

          So yeah, let’s have the conversation that’s so long overdo. Let’s have it out, and leave it all out. I won’t make a peep. But if anyone starts in on my mom just because they feel like she’s maybe keeping some dark secret because she’s power hungry or secretly hates woman or some other unfounded claim, I will defend her tooth and nail.

          • Theo, you make an excellent point that your mother, Lin Oliver, is not in a role to “police” the behavior of members.As a writer of books for children she probably has the hopeful expectation that all of us under the SCBWI umbrella exercise appropriate behavior. I’m sorry she’s being blamed for a handful of people who behave badly.
            Laura Moe

  167. There is a big difference between someone making pervy/gross banter at a group dinner and someone touching a bare shoulder at a bar and someone offering career advancement for sex. I’m not victim blaming (been in all these circumstances…including dinner with Alexie) but the idea that someone who’s made a crude joke and generalized sexual suggestions is held to the same criticism as someone who has raped or falsified career advances is infuriating.

    • A good rule is to just not do any of the behaviors you mentioned. You don’t get to decide how victims feel. And no, you’re not victim blaming, but you are minimizing their experiences.

    • All abuse, sexual or otherwise, is a power play. With sexual abuse, it’s not even about sexual desire, it’s about a desire to feel powerful. Regardless of the level of invasiveness of each story here, they’re all about a person abusing their power. The point is these men make women feel unwelcome in the industry, and that holds true with many levels of predatory behavior, whether it be a crude joke or touching or assault.

  168. bookseller says:

    What makes someone feel uncomfortable and harassed may not be an issue for someone else. The people in these comments, whatever happened to them, feel violated, and therefore, their concerns are valid. Just because something in a story might not make *you* uncomfortable, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a traumatic experience for that person.
    That all being said, it seems like many people in the publishing industry have been in situations that have made them uncomfortable or unsafe, and that is something that needs to change. Speaking out about what is or isn’t okay (whether that’s just for you personally) is all helpful in changing the culture. My love and support for everyone speaking out in these comments.

  169. Hello everyone. I am listening and learning and open to your comments, and especially to the stories of victims. Please understand that SCBWI can only take action on what has been reported, 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. All the other names are truly new to me. As of tomorrow, we will open a new email called harassment@scbwi.org where anyone who has been victimized can report the offense. A committee of our Board will review and respond. Please note that we have always had a harassment policy and a name and email (mine) to which you can report. But in these times, we are aware that we need to be more specific about that policy, about a code of conduct at conferences, and more detailed about a reporting procedure. That said, it would be great to also acknowledge that the children’s book industry is filled with caring, selfless, progressive people who want to make improvements going forward. There is a zero tolerance policy for harassment, there is a preponderance o powerful and respected women on our board, on our staff, and in our membership; there is absolute parity of payment without regard for gender; there are huge staff benefits for women and their dependents; everyone at the SCBWI at the “Director” level is a woman; and we do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. Within a few days, we will post our new and extended policies. Until then, we are listening. And in case anyone is interested, I have been wearing a pink pussy hat since 1970.

    • Shellie Braeuner says:

      I appreciate the fact that you are listening. I hope that we can work together as an organization and just as caring human beings to stop this behavior and help each other heal.

    • heardtherumors says:

      Lin, are you able to go one step further? How about this: “I apologize that our organization hasn’t always maintained a safe environment for the conference attendees. We haven’t been paying enough attention to this problem, but will try to be better from now on.”

    • Julia Durango says:

      Thank you, Lin, for your measured, sincere response in the face of criticism. I am guilty of being a part of the “whisper network” — not just in our business, but in all arenas since elementary school — and I am proud of those who are coming forward now to make it stop. Progress is always painful, it seems, with some collateral damage along the way. I hope you will take heart that the organization you have devoted your life to has helped me and so many other women achieve their dreams. But there is still work to be done, clearly, and I believe that you are listening. Thank you.

    • Thank you for chiming in, Lin. You have our full support as you stare down this monster of a problem. I know it must weigh heavily on you, both personally and professionally.

      I believe in our organization, and I am relieved to hear that you are coming up with constructive ideas and firm plans for the future. Another concern of mine is for the authors (especially but not ONLY women) of the books David Diaz illustrated. Yes, he has been outed and banned, but for that to translate into a slump in book sales for those writers he was paired with as an illustrator would be a travesty. Such a dilemma, especially for school librarians who may not want to reward his bad behavior by ordering his books.

    • Thanks, Lin. I hope that the policy will be included in all conference and workshop materials going forward so no one is stuck at a loss for what to do if they find themselves at the receiving end of such harassment. May I suggest that the policy also explain that sexual harassment will not be tolerated and that anyone who commits such harassment will immediately be removed from the conference or workshop, no exceptions. This is the policy of the New York Comic Con. It should also be the policy of the SCBWI.

    • Thank you, Lin, for everything you and Steve Mooser have done for the SCBWI and for children’s publishing in general for the last 47 years. The SCBWI has long been a leader in children’s publishing, and there is now doubt that the organization is responsible for launching the careers of hundreds of book creators. I’m so glad to see that the SCBWI is working diligently and swiftly to address issues as they arise and to redouble efforts to make sure that everyone has safe and productive experiences at conferences.

    • Enough is Enough says:

      I know you’re probably already considering this, but does SCBWI’s harassment policy include a maximum number of incidents that can take place before a person’s membership is revoked? If not, it should, and that number probably shouldn’t be higher than 2.

  170. I don’t know how to reply inline with my comment above. I’ll respond by saying that there is no way someone saying inappropriate stuff at dinner is as bad as a rapist. Grouping them together minimizes violent and illegal actions and discredits those victims. I know this is an unpopular stance right now. But, #legalaction is stronger than #offendedme. #metoo

    • No one is saying that. It’s a spectrum, but it all stems from the same basis of rape culture and viewing women (and nonbinary folk and sometimes men) as sexual objects ripe for the plucking and not nipping that stuff in the bud instead of making light of it.

    • No one is equating the two. Women have the right to go to professional dinners and conventions without being objectified. It really should not be that hard for people to refrain from making sexual remarks or overtures at a professional event.

  171. Anon Supporter says:

    In my opinion, no one is trying to make illegal behavior and assault equivalent to poor boundaries, inappropriate (and pathetic) dinner conversation, etc. There is criminal assault, legal harassment, and many shades of in between. Point of fact, however, is that in most structured workplaces, “hostile environment” *would* include unwelcome sexual banter, jokes, leers, and onward. The literature community is a unique work environment, and it is difficult to determine when all that would apply. In the end, though, this moment, with these comments on this article, seems to be more about letting the victims speak, giving them the air the need to open the conversation, about anything that caused them to feel violated or pressured toward giving of themselves in ways they did not choose in order to advance their careers. I hope we can all reign the impulse to define what is “okay” to speak about, and what isn’t. Just let people speak about what’s happened, and breathe, and then all of us will have to begin the process of sorting out how we make things better.

  172. Anonymous Alexie says:

    For the person who commented that gross talk at dinner isn’t the same as some of the other comments: true, but I did acknowledge that. It was creepy though and that’s enough. But we’re we just lucky to be in a group? I still worry about my colleague who went to the bar with him after dinner. And there are many comments about him on this page where women are saying there was harassment.

  173. I’m an unpublished author who’s attended the SCBWI Summer Conference many times. I love SCBWI and Lin and Steve are wonderful, kind and generous people.

    I’d like to share my experience with sexual harassment at the conference. David Diaz’s reputation was well known and my group of friends joked about it privately A LOT. I read a comment here about the “whisper network” and totally agree. That was a thing. The people who behaved badly at conferences were known in the community. When these allegations were first made public my friends and I obviously talked about them. And I had a very profound a-ha moment.

    I realized that every one of us who quietly warned others or joked about this behavior contributed to the problem. Did we report it? Or have a conversation with Lin or Steve? No. We did not.

    The industry is tough and very intimidating and “clique-y” for those trying to break in. And that contributes to this problem. Because no one wants to risk being “labeled” and blacklisted by the gate keepers. And that’s something those in power need to work on. They own that piece of the problem, helping to create an environment where silence in the face of snow or unprofessional behavior is fostered out of fear.

    Is there room for improvement and awareness across the board in this industry ? Yes. But, I agree with Theo’s post in defense of his mom and Steve and the SCBWI organization as a whole. I think they’ve earned our good will.

    There are powerful people in the industry who abused their power. Who knew what and when? I cannot say. All I can do is watch how the organization responds and I believe they will respond appropriately.

    But I can also be reflective and examine my role in this. I heard the rumors, saw the behavior at the lobby bar and never shared my concerns with anyone in the organization.

    I invite everyone here to reflect and examine as well. One of the things that makes SCBWI great is the community building and the support. I think we all have a role to play in this moment. And Lin and Steve deserve our support as they work to figure this stuff out.

    And, of course, or focus should be on supporting anyone who was hurt by someone abusing their power. When I read the account about the illustrator who’s confidence was so badly damaged by David Diaz’s behavior, all I could think was about how awful that must have felt. How heart breaking. And how sorry I was for my role in helping to keep the open secret.

    We can all learn and grow. All of us.

  174. Several people here are pointing out that there is a difference between sexual assault and inappropriate comments. I don’t think this conversation is conflating them, or denying all the gradients of the acts reported. Women spend their lives navigating those nuances so it’s insulting to suggest they can’t tell the difference. The fact that there are gradients is not the point of this conversation. The point is to shine a light on a culture that would rather see women and accusers leave than hold the accused accountable—whether that be a probationary period at work, getting banned from a conference, termination, or criminal charges, depending on the severity of the transgression. We all know there is a difference between a rapist and a sexual harasser. But the outcome for the victim often looks similar: shame, trauma, gaslighting, fleeing their chosen industry, etc. That’s what we’re here to focus on.

  175. I’ve been an SCBWI member for over 3 years, and started to get wind of “the article” several days ago. I thought of posting a comment on this crisis to my social media account, but social media as it is, decided posting to a site like this the better choice, as an unpublished writer who’s writing skills are unknown, and may very well remain that way. But, as a man who endured a childhood of abuse – both physical and emotional – let me say I do understand completely, the statements of all who’ve been abused or made to feel uncomfortable. For some reason, one I will get to in a moment, there has been a sudden awakening of American women to sexual abuse. Is it frustration over the outcome of the Presidential election? Perhaps. P.S. I did NOT vote for Trump or Clinton. But, as someone asked recently, is there another reason? I believe there is. It is likely a spiritual reason – but it may not be a good one. That aside for a moment, there are men and even some women who are abusers, and they do and can at times appear to be decent, but then there are times the darkness in their soul is made very apparent. Often, it requires something to set them off – usually this involves drinking, and explains the complaint about the behavior of the accused at conferences – most in large hotels with very accessible bars. From what I’ve been reading, so far there are no claims (and this is spoken from the standpoint of someone who worked for attorneys) of a intimate or violent crime being committed, unlike the horrible crimes committed against those in gymnastics. But, and saying this as a man of old school manners – if a man puts his hand on a woman’s leg under the table – it better be his wife. However, if a man touches another woman inappropriately, then a crime has been committed, and the woman can file charges on the spot – but as we know for many reasons (fear, embarrassment, ruined career) that will not happen, and likely gives the person responsible the idea he can “get away with it” though strangely enough, as in the Penn State crimes, the accused believes he did nothing wrong. It’s a terrible dilemma for victims, because even in the gymnastics case, the women who gave their brave courtroom testimony will now have to deal with endless “she’s the one I was telling you about” whispering – a case of society punishing the victim. As a man who was a victim of childhood abuse, my childhood is something I normally will not talk about – though after many years, I can write about it, and do, in the hope it will help others. Still, despite everything said and known, there seems to be a dark side to this recent society-wide “house cleaning.” Is it just frustration over the election, or a deeper resentment of men in general? Or even a level of radicalizing of women towards men? I refer to what was mentioned by media at Halloween, regarding the present explosive growth of the Wicca movement in this country – also in the past year. If nothing else, an unusual coincidence, but something to be seriously considered. To be blunt, there are men who are guilty, for lack of a different word – though some are not, and are unfortunate victims of circumstance. Being of the Baby Boomer generation, my Mom told me of the McCarthy era, and how someone’s career or livelihood could be ruined, because they innocently said they liked Russian food. Russian food! I acquaint this to something read yesterday, when a woman said she was “inappropriately touched” – because the man accused of sexual abuse once put his hand on her shoulder. I’m from European descent, and for a man to lightly touch a woman’s shoulder was nothing more than being polite. Yes, incidents of men who are sexual abusers and falsely accusing women of leading them on is as old as the Bible (I’m not a Bible expert, but it’s in the Old Testament and found in Daniel, Verse 13 – I just searched it, to make sure). Then, and as mentioned earlier, there are cultural factors. Though not Hispanic, I live in a part of the country that is, and there have been “what gives” comments made by Hispanic female co-workers of mine – professional and non-professional – about the ongoing sexual scandal in all parts of society at this time. Why? In many but not all Hispanic countries, a weak man is considered one who is NOT forward with women. Due to my own abusive childhood, I was never forward with women when a young adult, and was branded weak more than once, by Hispanic female friends, two who now always find it funny to say, “You had your chance.” As you can tell, this is a complicated matter. What can be done? It’s all about dignity. In today’s world, there is a terrible lack of it, about as bad as the world has ever seen – mostly likely due to technology. In just the past month, a news article appeared about the brothels in Madrid, and how prostitutes were recently replaced with – robots. Of course a brothel is as abusive as it gets – but replacing humans with machines has brought society to a level never seen before. Human life has become cheapened to the point that abuse is considered acceptable – until there are consequences, and there are always consequences, in this life or the next. But, we cannot let it keep us from our joy of writing. The past 3 years have given me joy not seen since my 20s – and that is saying a lot. I hope all involved will quickly do what needs to be done to make sure no one is made to feel threatened or uncomfortable, anywhere in the literary process. In the end, a zero-tolerance policy is often the best rule – but the very best rule is realizng each person’s dignity. In the end, it’s our most important asset.

    • Wow, congratulations in making this all about you. Really well done.

      • Took the words right out of my mouth, Anon

        Dude, seriously. This space isn’t for you. This isn’t the place for novel-length posts that take the emphasis and attention off of the victims and onto yourself for reasons passing understanding

      • Wow, this comment is an adventure, and not a good one.

        I think it’s safe to say that you missed the point, and wrapped back around again on yourself. Like others are saying: this is a space for the victims, and the time and place to hear them and take care of them, not to go all out on a masturbatory mansplaining tangent.

        Listen. Don’t feel the need to explain or interject. Not here, not now. With writing like this, I’m sure some other venue, like the New York Times would be glad for your perspective. But it’s inappropriate here.

      • Very nice way to speak to an abuse victim.

    • Paragraph breaks are good too.

    • “Or even a level of radicalizing of women towards men? I refer to what was mentioned by media at Halloween, regarding the present explosive growth of the Wicca movement in this country – also in the past year. If nothing else, an unusual coincidence, but something to be seriously considered.”

      Well this is refreshing, anyway. So it’s not a witch hunt but witches hunting. Got it.

    • I’m sorry you suffered a childhood of abuse. And I’m sorry that people have left really cruel comments. Is there not room for people to have a voice on this? Is this JUST a women’s problem, or is it a societal one? And why do we feel we can be so rude to each other when we don’t give our names? This is a KIDLIT community, not a fight club. Could we PLEASE treat each other with respect, even if we don’t agree with each other? I am not going to be a part of this comment stream anymore because it’s becoming influxed with a mob-rule mentality. And yes, those who commented snarkily on the grammar of Pete’s post can comment on mine. It’s petty. It shouldn’t be in this conversation. Go elsewhere if you want to be mean and unhelpful. This is about social justice, equity, listening to each other…I’m disappointed and disillusioned…again. First by the sexual abuse of some prominent members of the community, and now by the petty, mob-mentality of anonymous/named commenters. Yuck.

  176. 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.

  177. Anon Anon I Come Anon says:

    It’s not up to the abuser to decide what abuse is. That’s up to the victim. I had a longer post written out, but tl;dr. I just said my piece.

  178. Thanks to the victims and witnesses who’ve spoken out. I hear you. I believe you. If there’s ever trash in your Mentions you’d like Reported to Twitter, contact me anytime. I have a BlockTogether if you need it, too.

  179. Brianna Zamborsky says:

    To all survivors: I believe you. Thank you for speaking up.

  180. Everyone dropping names based Of of hearsay and second/third accounts need to stop. I believe the victims speaking out, but don’t muddy their stories by throwing in “I’ve heard things!”

    • So you believe the victims who posted here, but you don’t want me to believe the victims who have told me about their experiences?

      • Conference Honcho says:

        It’s not your story to tell. As the head of a big conference I’ve been getting lots of, “My friend told me that such and such thing happened to so-and-so by This Guy.” Well. I can’t do anything with that. But if that victim comes to me privately, I can blow the whole conference up for her. And I would. But I can’t go to her and say, “Hey, I heard you said such-and-such” because that undermines the trust of someone who was trying to help her by telling me, possibly revictimizes her by asking her to revisit the incident, and puts a lot of pressure on her that her silence says she doesn’t want to deal with. NOR SHOULD SHE HAVE TO. So when we hear things through the whisper network, all we can do is keep an eye on rumored offenders and encourage friends of victims who don’t want to speak out to let those victimized friends know we’re safe, and we’re here to help. And the second we have actionable information, we do. And have. And will. But when someone is saying, “I heard This Guy is no good,” then no. We can’t do a damn thing about that except keep an eye out if they’re already booked, or avoid booking them in the future if they’re not. But these guys are good at not doing the wrong thing in front of the wrong person. So that only does so much. And “I heard XYZ about This Guy or my unnamed friend said XYZ about this guy” IS NOT ACTIONABLE. And as someone else pointed out, muddies the waters. It can serve MAYBE as an unofficial heads up. Maybe. But generally: Muddies the waters. We need facts. And we can keep those who report facts from direct experience safe, but we understand why they don’t feel safe reporting OR why they wouldn’t want to revisit such a sucky time.

        • Actually, what you need is the kind of policy that New York Comic Con has that they display everywhere so that everyone knows that a) sexual harassment isn’t okay b) who someone can talk to if they’ve been sexually harassed, and c) that those who sexually harass will be thrown out on the spot. There is more that can be done. The question is will you do it?

          • Conference Honcho says:

            ALL of this is done. We take it a step farther: we discuss it in our general assemblies and put a printed copy in every single folder. Only once has someone made a report to us and that offending individual was handled immediately. But we can’t go by “I heard that . . . ” or “My friend said so and so said,” etc. We can’t. I understand why individuals don’t report. But the whisper network . . . unless we’re hearing non-hearsay reports, we’re limited to some extent. We can do a lot about future invitations but not much about existing ones or previous ones on hearsay alone.

  181. Totally agree about the hearsay. I believe victims, too (especially when they say what their experience was rather than just calling out someone’s name #metoo). Hearsay is too low for this level of discussion.

    • You should believe victims regardless of whether or not they share their experience. You are not entitled to their trauma, and that shouldn’t affect your faith in them.

    • Courageous women — I am here to add my name to the list of those who trust you, believe you, and support you. I know how to raise a ruckus when something needs to be said, and I will retweet you like mad: meganglasshoyt .

  182. Please believe victims regardless of if they tell their whole story. It is very scary to speak up, period. These stories almost all involve an imbalance of power in a shared industry. The more details one shares the more they make it clear to their abuser who they are, and that is not required of them.

  183. anotheranon says:

    Legally, “hearsay” is when someone reports what someone else said. It’s not admissible as evidence in a court of law.

    This is not a court of law.

    The Whisper Network has always relied on “hearsay” as protection. “I’ve heard things about him” is a warning passed from one woman to another. And that’s what’s going on here. Of the names I’ve seen here, I’m mostly not surprised. I’ve heard things.

    In a social system where traditionally women are expected to put up with constant microagressions than range from comments on our clothes from total strangers to being grabbed from behind by same, and just grin and bear it… Sorry. We’re not using the same standards of evidence that are required in a court of law. Because we can’t afford to.

    Women are trying to stay safe.

  184. Okay – true enough on the risk of telling too many details as well as our entitlement to anyone’s trauma. Sorry. Hard to tell which books I personally should remove from my shelves based on some of these accounts.

    So many things in this thread feel dangerous – such as the comment that the only way to get a certain mentorship is to sleep your way there. What does that say about every single woman writer in that program?

    • Yeah, Hi. I was honored to be a recipient of the illustration portfolio mentorship years ago. I’ve spent the last two days beating myself up and bawling and going over every thing I can remember about my interaction with David Diaz to know if I could’ve prevented his harassment of other women. We met at a table for 15 minutes and went over my portfolio. He told me to follow him on Facebook. That’s it. I wasn’t victimized, but I believe those who were and now I’m suffering along with many others. An acknowledgment I was so proud is now associated with his sleazy actions. I’m so mad that he used this opportunity to lure and seduce and harass women. It feels like this fantastic honor is now dirty because people assume you had to provide favors to be awarded with this mentorship. That is just sick and I’m SO pissed. I will forever be grateful to my other mentors who gave me meaningful advice and genuine encouragement and an honest pat on the back for working hard to make my portfolio stand out and be unique. I’m sorry for all who’ve been hurt and taken advantage of. I wish I could’ve stopped it.

      • It’s not your fault. It’s not the fault of anyone who didn’t know. The truth is I think I might have convinced David Diaz not to quit the SCBWI many years ago because he felt it didn’t offer illustrators enough. If I had known then what I know now, I would have said good riddance. There’s nothing either one of us could have done! Please don’t beat yourself up for something that is absolutely not your fault.

  185. To those hurt, I am so sorry this happened to you.

    I’m awed by your bravery in speaking up. I will support you anyway I can. For those who can’t speak, I’m so sorry you’re triggered and hope you’re finding the support you need.

    I understand. I’ve experienced this twice. First was when I was 5 and molested by a neighbor. They tried to dismiss me as having an overactive imagination then. Second time was a boss at my first corporate job. I reported him and the HR rep told me to relax. That’s how he treats all the girls. That was a long time ago. It fills me with such hope to see our willingness to put up with this behavior as “part of doing business” is shrinking every day.

  186. I am not usually quiet, but I find it very, very hard to speak on this subject. I am so, so grateful to everyone who is not being quiet.

    I need to name a few things, apologies if I have missed someone else naming them:

    -13 Reasons Why romanticizes suicide. It features sexual assault. It is not an accident that it landed a Netflix series. Jay Asher capitalized on sexual assault and suicide ideation, all while sexually preying upon women if these accusers are to be believed (and I believe them). It takes a high-level predator to recognize the nature of predation, prey nonetheless, paint oneself as an ally, and capitalize on the whole deal.
    Mr. Asher, if you want to make amends, a small start would be to donate every cent you’ve made from 13 Reasons Why to RAINN.

    -It is telling that a real conversation on sexual harassment in children’s lit didn’t launch until people started naming names. Anne Ursu’s excellent piece (https://medium.com/@anneursu_10179/sexual-harassment-in-the-childrens-book-industry-3417048ccde2) encouraged us to focus on systems and culture, and I encourage everyone to read every word she wrote. Yes, naming names is important. So is naming the culture and systems that gave rise to this behavior. By naming names, we can isolate “the problem” in a few individuals. The problem is over there–not over here, where I am. This is how we protect and comfort our egos and our fragility, and prevent ourselves from stepping into the power we all have to change the culture and the system. Read Anne’s piece. Culture, systems, matter. It’s easy to say to yourself “oh, if I ever see Jay Asher harass someone, I’ll step in.” It’s harder–and so much more important–to say to yourself “I’ll learn about the multiple situational and behavioral patterns that give rise to harassment, and make different plans of action for how to counter them actively.”

    -And with that in mind, please go over to Gwenda Bond’s post: http://www.gwendabond.com/bondgirl/2018/02/metoo-ustoo-change-starts-now-stand-harassment-kidlit-community.html#comment-22156
    Read it carefully. Read it again. And again. And only sign your name if, when the time comes, your actions will align with your words.

  187. Wow. I’m so sorry for anyone who has experienced harassment, and appreciate your sharing. You are helping children’s books to move forward. I’ve always thought it strange the way men are revered in this industry. As a woman business traveler, I’ve seen how quickly things can turn from networking and sharing of ideas to unwanted advances. I’ve avoided networking opportunities for this reason. We have lofty ideas in kidlit; I hope that we can live up to them in the future.

  188. Wow. I’m so sorry for those who have been harassed in this industry. Your reporting will make things better in children’s books. I’ve always thought it strange the way men are revered in Kidlit. As a woman business traveler, I’ve seen how quickly things have changed from an exchange of ideas to unwelcome advances. For this reason, I’ve avoided networking opportunities. We have lofty ideas in Kidlit; I hope we can do better.

  189. Kidlit Publishing has turned into the Salem Witch Trials.

    I don’t believe any of you anymore.

  190. By the way: picked Jandy at random. I am not that author, in case some of you then set out to brigade her ffs.

    • So you picked an extremely unusual name that also happens to be the name of a well known children’s author at “random.” If there’s anyone in this thread who shouldn’t be believed, I think we know who that is.

      • Typed it in and remembered a second later. That’s the reason for the follow up post clarifying matters.

      • Want to say it here to as I have below. THESE ARE NOT MY POSTS ABOVE. I was told someone was using the name Jandy here. My unequivocal support is with the brave people speaking out.
        Jandy Nelson

  191. Also for those of you who say victims have no reason to speak up, are you kidding?

    Our kidlit victims get free publicity, a huge amount of free marketing, people who buy their books to feel good about themselves, patreon donations (because there seems to be a huge intersection of patreons + victim narratives despite some patreon people being NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS) and I haven’t even talked about all the sympathy and cooing and kindness and virtual ‘ghost hugs’. Come the eff on. There are huge incentives for being a public and self-proclaimed victim.

    • Anonymous victims get publicity? How does that work, Jandy?

    • Please take a moment to sit down and try feeling some empathy instead of trolling. It would be a much better use of your time, I promise.

    • You’re seriously misinformed if you think naming harassers brings anything but stress and grief and misery to the people calling them out. There is no publicity boost; often the people (usually women or queer people) receive threats of violence, death, and more. They’re declared attention whores, liars, and worse. 9/10 their careers suffer, if they’re not straight up destroyed. ‘Ghost hugs’ don’t do shit when you find out you no longer have a career/income and just lot a whole lot of friends they thought they had.

      Women who come out and say things that people don’t want to hear, especially when those things involve men (or white people, cause I ain’t about to pretend us white women are oh so perfect) are almost always punished for doing so. I said things that men didn’t want to hear, I was called a bitch, told to die, told I was doing it for the attention, that I always start drama, and worse. I find it amazing that you read the article, and all these comments, and think that ANYBODY involved is doing it for a career boost. History will tell you that has never happened.

    • NotJandy, you’re dead wrong about pretty much everything in your comment – publicity, marketing, sales, bestseller lists, and basic human psychology don’t work that way. The kind of anonymous, attacking comment you’re making here is replicated exponentially in the private communications received by women, especially women of color, who speak up about anything that involves gender bias (among many other things). And I’m not the one who first said this, but the Salem Witch Trials were all about powerful men destroying the lives of women, and that’s not what kidlit publishing is turning into – that’s clearly what kidlit publishing already was. And your attempted gotcha of Jandy Nelson is both irrelevant and transparent to the point of absurdity.

      • Carol Brendler says:

        I can confirm that the [Not]Jandy trolling above is not the author Jandy Nelson, whom I know personally.
        Mike is right; publishing and publicity doesn’t work that way. No one would make up such stories in hopes of becoming well known by that means, and it is not going to result in increased sales.
        I believe the victims. I support the victims. I have heard the whisperings about some of these predators as well.
        I think it cannot be stressed enough that even the smallest touch or bawdy joke proferred by a person in power toward an aspiring writer, a fan, a colleague, a student, or anyone vulnerable is violating, invasive, and harmful—especially in a business setting, which is what a writers conference is, even during the after-party. Being in, say, a hotel bar or outside the classroom does not, should not, make the relationship more equal or less professional. Therefore, anything you wouldn’t say or do in a business setting should not be said at all in such situations. The men (usually) who say they don’t know when they can flirt or show interest in a woman anymore need to learn about unequal power and inappropriate environments. It really isn’t that hard.

    • I just want to say here too. This is not me posting above and below: Someone else is using the name Jandy. I have nothing but love and support for those speaking out.
      Jandy Nelson

    • Anon Because of Reasons says:

      NotJandy,

      This is absolutely an abhorrent, disgusting, inappropriate comment. Free publicity? Are you serious? No one wants publicity for victimhood. And I say that as a survivor of some heinous things.

      The trolling attempts then the back-pedalling with using the name Jandy leads me to question whether you are one of the abusers listed here.

      • nunyo biznes says:

        “nobody wants publicity for victimhood?” thats provably false. even a cursory google search will turn up thousands of stories of people lying about everything from rape allegations to cancer diagnosis to get attention and money and for a host of other reasons.

  192. Stories Galore says:

    I have stories to tell, but for now I want to say (ask) that this is not about politics. I’ve read several comments online that blame Trump and his supporters (I’m NOT one) and it has me shaking me head. Inappropriate behavior and abuse of power has been happening for years and years. Period.

    I’ve attended plenty of conferences and events that have political campaigning and that’s not what I pay for. So, seeing it here and elsewhere online … when it has nothing to do with the current conversation makes me a bit sad to be honest.

    I believe you all and thank you!

  193. Emily S. Keyes says:

    I apologize. I brought up the false report statistics because they are so LOW, many people believe false reporting in rape and sexual assault cases is higher than other crimes. Thank you, Anon for the better stats.

    I will show myself out since I obviously can’t think/type clearly.

  194. Thank you to those speaking up and thank you to those offering unqualified support.

  195. Sarah Aronson says:

    I have spent the today reading and thinking about these comments. To the victims: Thank you for your bravery. I believe you. I am sorry you have suffered. I hope we can all work together to create a truly safe space.

    • nunyo biznes says:

      whats brave about anonymously accusing people of harassment on a forum while offering no proof? How do you know all these anonymous accusations are 100% true?

  196. I see someone’s posting comments here using the name Jandy. Just want to say since it’s an unusual name that it’s NOT me: Jandy Nelson. This is my first post and my unequivocal support is with the brave ones speaking out.

    • My apologies. I hit send before I remembered I’d heard the name before. I clarified immediately.

      • Would you change it on the above comments and for any additional comments? It’s a very unusual name and we hold very different beliefs on all this. I don’t want people to read your comments and think I wrote them. I’d very much appreciate it.

        • (Not-actually-Jandy-my-bad) says:

          I don’t believe I am able to delete what’s already there. I am sorry again.

          Regarding our different beliefs:

          I am going to guess you felt nervous seeing your name wrongly attached to an anonymous person’s words. Probably you were uneasy a lot of people on this very thread would assume it was you and then go after you.

          It would be a huge injustice for you.

          It’s also a huge injustice for anyone who is named by an anonymous person with no proof to be condemned in the court of public opinion without any evidence whatsoever.

          Due process exists for a reason.

          • Are you serious with this kind of manipulation? You chose a super unlikely name and then you try to … do this? Get out. Now.

          • Enough is Enough says:

            Due process is about legal proceedings. This is not that. I’m allowed to form an opinion about a person’s character whether they’ve broken laws or not, whether they’re convicted or not. People need to stop conflating the two.

  197. Myrna Foster says:

    I just want to add my support and thank those who’ve come forward and those who will work to make our industry a safer place. I’m angry. If there’s any way I can help, I have your back.

  198. Trisha Shaskan says:

    Thank you to all the women who are speaking out against the perpetrators in our industry. Thank you for your courage and bravery. I support you and believe you. I am so grateful you are pushing this conversation forward so change can occur.

  199. Amy G Koss says:

    Is anyone else getting chest pains from this? Let’s all breathe! And thank you to the brave souls coming forth, chest pains or no.

  200. This whole thread has been deeply distressing – not only to find out these names, but to find I am less alone than I thought I was. My entire career track changed after an incident probably far less serious than most. I might as well have fallen off the kidlit planet. Thank you to my sisters for helping bring these dark places to light.

  201. Laura Ojeda Melchor says:

    Thank you, thank you, everyone who has courageously spoken. As a survivor of sexual harassment (and possibly abuse), though not within this field, I know how hard it was to share. And for those who haven’t shared, I understand, and I am sorry for what you’ve suffered.

  202. After leaving my comment outing my harasser (I had been sitting on terrified to post ALL DAY by the way), I am compelled to say this. Had I not been too scared to do so, I would be using my real name. I hope everyone who has nothing to fear from a specific person is using their real name to show who is behind us.

    “Fake Jandy,” your point does not stand. You do not get to claim someone’s name as your own without permission (slanderous in and of itself), lie about why you did it, then try to pull a fast one equating your cowardice with the courage of women who have been belittled, intimidated and abused and speak out anyway, with the intention of protecting other women.

    Women do not falsely accuse anyone 98%+ of the time. Look it up. Learn how we know this. Why? Because it’s terrifying. Most people on this thread have called out someone more powerful than they are. The more information they venture the more they have to fear being threatened, bullied, and black listed. And when there are multiple accusations listing the same person, the odds that all of these women are conspiring to lie for the sole purpose of tearing down a male colleague (for fun?) are just about nothing. There is no such thing as “due process” when these men are abusing their power to minimize and intimidate women, and there’s no due process when they finally get called out for it. Deal with it. And if you’re one of them, time’s up.

  203. Although not in YA, I’d like to add Myke Cole to the list. He presents a very feminist attitude publicly, but privately he’s an abusive misogynist.

    • Yet Another Anon says:

      This is the first I’ve ever heard regarding Myke Cole… is it possible to elaborate on this?

      • I’m going to slide in and say I suspect there is nothing to elaborate on here. Just my suspicion, of course, but…

        As #metoo has gained traction, it has of course gained its share of pushback from trolls insisting so many of the allegations are false, attention seeking, witch hunts, etc., with demands for “proof” and “due process.” These are probably mostly coming from indignant MRAs and other misogynist men, who are already invested in spreading the narrative that false rape accusations are as common as rain in Seattle.

        But I would be wary of the other kind of #metoo troll (who may be these very same men): the kind who jumps into comment threads such as these deliberately making false accusations — not for the purpose of damaging the writer they’re accusing (though that wouldn’t be an unwelcome side effect, especially if the author is a man known for being feminist or sympathetic to feminism), but to damage the credibility of #metoo, in an attempt to turn it into exactly what they accuse it of being, just a parade of wild unevidenced smears that everyone’s uncritically believing because they’re caught in the heat of the emotional moment.

        Of course I can’t prove that’s what this anon is doing. But when we hear a claim popping up out of the blue lacking any other corroborating accounts (as we have with Alexie and Dashner, for instance), I think it’s at least worth considering the possibility that attempts to hijack and derail #metoo will be more and more of a reality going forward in threads like these.

        • A nonny mouse says:

          Sherman Alexie has been named over 5 times in this thread alone.
          As have James Dashner.
          Let’s not pick and choose which victims to believe just cuz you like those guys better.

    • Seconding Myke Cole. He preys on and belittles younger women in the industry. Someone to be wary of.

      • I posted earlier but want to clarify: MC did NOT harass me. I don’t want to conflate creepiness and sexism with more serious charges.

  204. Patti Buff says:

    Thank you to everyone who has spoken out about their experiences. I am listening and I believe you. With this openness, we can change things. Knowledge is power and all of this knowledge has solidified my resolve to be more observant and call out inappropriateness when I see it.

  205. First off, thank you to every brave person speaking out, support to those who can’t yet speak, and hugs to this while are grieving as they watch the sickness be exposed. Necessary, but painful!

    Secondly, please check your profiles. Several people say “anonymous” but your profile photo has your face on it. I recognize several of you and I don’t know how to reach you (nesting isn’t working on my phone right now but I’ll try fb) to know to change your photo to a blank.

    Again, love and support to all of you.

    • AnonymousEyes says:

      This seems to be attached to the email address that is used for the required field. I don’t know if it’s changeable after being posted. Other than asking SLJ to delete the comment outright or edit the metadata of the commenter. For future commenters, I would use a throw-away email address, something that isn’t connected into Google or WordPress or whatever the site is using.

    • This is funny as says:

      [This comment has been removed because it violates this site’s comment policy.]

  206. Sorry for the typos. “Hugs to those who are grieving”, I meant.

  207. And not 8 hours after I commented, I was confronted by who I named, trying to belittle me and hold my words against me. Bullying and shaming me for telling the truth.
    I have Every. Single. Email. Ever sent to me saved. Every single thing I said was truth and I have his own words to prove it. He will not belittle me any longer.

  208. Laurie Young says:

    Reading all these comments has been heartbreaking. I support all the brave women who have shared their stories as well as those who feel they cannot. We are listening. We believe you. This will change.

  209. Anonymouse says:

    To everyone arguing against second-hand accounts or hearsay, I’d say that it’s still incredibly nerve-racking to speak up. Sometimes we end up knowing things we’d rather not, and then we face the question of whether or not to tell. Will we be believed? Will our words do any good? Would the victim be better off if I don’t say anything? Being the secret keeper is an awkward position.
    As I read this story and all the comments last night, I saw a name of an author I knew would be at an event near me soon. And I had to wonder if the organizers knew. Could I tell them? If I told them, would they take it seriously? Would they protect my identity from the author if necessary? Speaking up on someone else’s behalf was scary. I can only imagine how hard it’s been for the victims. And I thank you all, and I’m so sorry and furious that you’ve had to endure this.
    To the naysayers: Stop looking for excuses to dismiss accusations. Listen up.

  210. Go away, little troll says:

    Just stop it.

  211. Claudia Pearson says:

    I have been involved with SCBWI for almost 20 years, and have found it to be an open and welcoming organization. I have held regional leadership positions for more than half that time, and a significant part of my roles in regional leadership has been to organize and conduct conferences and other smaller events. These positions which would have made me a logical person to contact with comments or complaints, and I have received complaints about how certain things are handled at conferences. We take ALL feedback seriously.

    The thing is, I have never received a complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual conduct from anyone.

    Having read the entire thread and all of the comments, I honor and appreciate all that has been posted here by victims of inappropriate conduct and sexual harassment. It takes courage to come forward. I know this from personal experience because in my prior life I was a plaintiff’s lawyer pursuing complaints of racial and sexual harassment and discrimination in federal court. This is known in our region and is part of my personal profile.

    And yet, no one has felt comfortable coming forward to report any incidents to me.

    Having read the full thread, it seems highly unlikely that our regional members and conference attendees have experienced no problems at all. But I haven’t even heard about problems through the “whisper” channels.

    I would greatly appreciate advice from the brave victims who have come forward: what can we do so people will know they can safely contact us with their complaints? Is anonymity enough?

    There are problems with acting on anonymous complaints, but those problems seem small compared to the failure to receive the information we need to act. If you have suggestions about how organizations like SCBWI and its regions (which are 100% unpaid volunteers) can make the process of reporting incidents more accessible I would be interested in hearing from you.

    • Lisa Papademetriou says:

      Thanks so much for these questions. Gwenda Bond has posted some wonderful thoughts on how to institute and publicize a robust anti-harassment policy. If people know that there is a policy, they will be willing and able to report inappropriate behavior. Here is the link: http://www.gwendabond.com/bondgirl/2018/02/metoo-ustoo-change-starts-now-stand-harassment-kidlit-community.html

    • Enough is Enough says:

      It’s not enough to say “we support people and you can come to us anytime.” There needs to be a written policy about harassment, and it needs to be EVERYWHERE. Your website. The information packets people get when they sign in at conferences. Posted publicly at events. An extra page in a speaker’s contract that must be signed before they can present. Referenced verbally at the opening of every conference. People need to know SCBWI takes this seriously.

      • Claudia Pearson says:

        A more visible policy is a start, but it isn’t always that easy. It is clear that many people here do not trust the process and that is my concern.

        SCBWI takes these things very seriously. See Jane’s comment. As a regional advisor I take them seriously too. Individual victims should feel free to contact me privately and my email is available on my profile page on the SCBWI website. And Lisa, thanks for the link.

        Enough, I agree that saying “we support you and you can come to us anytime” is not enough. We already have signed contracts that require adherence to our anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy. The policy is also on the website, both the main one and our regional one. But it is apparently not enough, just as the anti-discrimination laws are not enough to ensure that women (and men) feel comfortable speaking up.

        I am asking for feedback from the victims who have been the ones who changed their minds and stepped forward now: what more can we do to make people feel more comfortable about coming forward? What led you to decide to do it now? How can we embed that in our process?

        • Can I suggest... says:

          Can you make sure all of the publicity of the policy includes information about consequences? I don’t mean that you should publicize specific disciplinary conversations with individuals, that should remain private. But when a person is considering reporting harassment, it’s comforting to know that there’s a specific procedure that will be followed. If a policy says “We take all reports seriously,” that’s one thing. When a policy lays out the procedure of escalating disciplinary steps, including the revoking of a harassser’s membership, I’m more likely to report.

          I wasn’t involved in the Diaz incidents, but by several accounts it sounds like his behavior was reported and he continued to be a part of the board after the fact. That’s one reason people are reluctant to report now. Their previous reports and those of their friends and colleagues have not noticeably been followed up on. People need to know what will happen after the report is filed.

    • Not having received a report of harassment is a strong indicator that your reporting practices are not well know, well distributed, well promoted, or well managed. Take a look at how ComicCon addresses and monitors harassment. They’ve done a lot of work on their policies. If I was running large cons and not getting any complaints, I would be very concerned, because it is a statistical improbability that nothing occurred at the event. The victims just did not know how to report or did not feel comfortable reporting with the current procedures.

      • Mari Talkin says:

        Thank you, Melanie. Totally agree. When my daughter and I were researching colleges for her, we looked specifically at how many cases of sexual assault/harassment were reported each year and what each college did to address them. Research shows that those institutions that had few to no reported cases had the biggest problem in this area — its stakeholders were actively dissuading victims from reporting and/or covering up those cases that were reported. The institutions that had total transparency about the number of cases reported and robust policies in place to address them were MUCH safer places for young women.

    • Ishta Mercurio says:

      I appreciate you asking this question. I can’t speak for all of us. But I believe that knowing that there will be real consequences for people who harass, and seeing a public statement in conference materials and elsewhere of what those consequences can be, will help more people find the courage to come forward. Transparency is important — it is fine to say “we support you,” but without a sense that there will be concrete and visible action behind those words, the words are meaningless. Additionally, fostering genuine and ongoing connections with your chapter’s membership is vital. I went to Lin Oliver with my harassment complaint, but I also went to my regional adviser, because I know her and I trust her. It was she who told me that Lin was the correct person to speak to about what had happened to me. Her encouragement and unwavering support helped me to continue to move forward.

  212. I’m so sorry for your experiences.

  213. Donna koppelman says:

    Thoughts on ALA Booklist announcement?

    • Could you elaborate? Not sure what you mean.

    • You mean how committees are busy doing their jobs of picking the best books and might not be constantly refreshing a single comment thread. Sure, let’s roast ’em.

  214. Pamela Ross says:

    Is anyone shooing the trolls out of the room? Please. This conversation needs to be had without the silly stabbing and jousting of one who comes to prey on thinking, concerned people. Thank you, SLJ.

  215. Alexia Andoni says:

    Thank you to all the people speaking up. You are strong and courageous.

  216. First I want to say I am horrified at your stories of abuse and yet relieved they have come to light. But in some ways it replicates the history of childrens’ books themselves. From the beginning the main people in the field have been women (“You know about children–you will be our first children’s book editor was approximately how American childrens’ books as a distinct genre began.) l For years children’s books editors were paid less, children’s writers paid less, and the genre itself looked down upon, just as women teachers and women librarians were. We clawed our way upward and into the light.

    This in NO WAY excuses abusers. It in no way gives those who prey on others a free pass to our conventions and mentorships. But it does put things in a historical perspective.

    I would dare say that there are few woman in publishing–myself included–who do not have difficult and sometimes horrific stories to tell. Bravo to the women brave enough to speak out. It is a turning point in our history, though I am ashamed that good people–men and women and those elsewhere on the gender scale–have had to suffer because of it.

    But as the second person to join SCBWI, the first regional director, and on the board from the beginning, I I want to underscore that actions were taken as soon as we knew about the bad stuff, about the few bad actors prowling under our big tent. Was it publicized? No. There are legalities that have to be followed. But at no time did Lin and Steve flinch at taking the prescribed actions. There was counseling, there were outright bans. Yes, there was an earlier list of rules and warnings. But now we see we were not clear enough and are in the process of making those early rules, prohibitions, and penalties stronger. The entire board is united in this undertaking, with Lin and Steve at the fore.

    We are trying to move forward as quickly as possible. We believe your voices. I hope you believe ours.

    Jane

  217. Anonymous SCBWI member says:

    A voice of support for everyone sharing your story. I see you and believe you.

    A note for the tangent about SCBWI: Most professional organizations are governed by a board of directors elected by the membership. The BOD holds the responsibility – fiduciary & ethical – for the organization, hires and fires staff. Board members are elected to limited terms.
    SCBWI does not have elections,

  218. Anonymous SCBWI member says:

    A voice of support for everyone sharing your story. I see you and believe you.

    A note for the tangent about SCBWI, power imbalances, and the structure that allows serial harassers to hang on for years: Most professional organizations are governed by a board of directors elected by the membership. The BOD holds the responsibility – fiduciary & ethical – for the organization, hires and fires staff. Board members are elected to limited terms, and have have written ethics and responsibilities contracts they have to sign when they take on their roles.
    SCBWI does not have elections, and the founders are the presidents. The board of advisors is not the governing body, and is not elected by the membership.
    All of these quirks of the organization are part of its corporate culture. It’s not set up to be a democratic, member-driven, transparent organization. It’s not organized or run the way most professional organizations are organized and run. Other large professional assns have also had harassment problems, that’s not unique to SCBWI. But the culture within SCBWI is unique and perfect for predators, who rely on writers’ fear of being kicked out of the industry for their silence.

    This is not a criticism of any person involved with or working for SCBWI – everyone I’ve met has been a wonderful human being. It’s an observation of the structure of power within the organization.

    • The SCBWI has a Board of Directors as well as a Board of Advisors. The Board of Directors is probably less visible to most people because the members are not book creators. They are people from a wide range professions with all the kinds of expertise needed to run a nonprofit organization effectively.

      But this really shouldn’t be a conversation about how a particular organization is run. It’s an opportunity for victims to speak out and for others to show them support. I believe you and support you. It’s a tragedy that so many people have been mistreated, and I’m glad that they are having an opportunity to be heard. Now that we realize the problem is so pervasive, we can work together to create a safer and more supportive environment for everyone.

      • This is a conversation about predators within an industry, many of the stories shared here are about predators acting over a long period of time within SCBWI. It absolutely matters that the organization is run the way it is run.
        If there is a BOD, it is not on the SCBWI website, and it is not elected by the membership. Who are they? How are they a;pointed to the board?

  219. Anony Mouse says:

    First off, let me preface by saying I believe everyone and my hearts go out to the victims. But there are a lot of people saying things like “I’ve heard things about such-and-such, can anyone confirm/deny?” Because this post is now going viral, the names on it are being posted on Twitter, Facebook, agents and editors and bosses are being notified, not to mention significant others, and the names will doubt will end up on more mainstream media sites. It’s not right that someone’s name gets posted on Twitter as being named as an abuser here if their only mention is “I heard something, can anyone corroborate?” It should be the right of the victims to name their abusers, and this isn’t the right place to drop names unless there’s a very good and concrete reason. The victims should be praised for their bravery, and abusers held accountable.

  220. debbi florence says:

    To the victims – I believe you. Thank you for speaking up. I hear you, I believe you.

  221. Martha Brockenbrough says:

    I love the SCBWI. My career is possible because of the organization. But we must be truthful. David Diaz was put back on the board after his training. He was considered rehabilitated. I questioned this and was told the board was OK with it.

    This is part of what we need to learn at this moment: how we are kind and believe in redemption, and how this sometimes means men get second and third chances. He should not have been given a position of power after this was known. There are other people who can oversee the organization. This was a mistake. Let us acknowledge it and learn from it.

    We all make mistakes. We cannot learn and grow if we are not honest and humble.

    Again. I love the organization and am committed to its success. We cannot claim perfection on this score. I wish it were otherwise.

    • Ishta Mercurio says:

      I agree with all of this. I have learned so much from SCBWI, and we can recognize the value of the organization while also acknowledging that mistakes have been made when it comes to the handling of harassment. Positions of power must be given with great care.

      I also believe that for the continued success of SCBWI, admission of these mistakes is crucial. Mistakes are okay. The point is to learn from them. Let us learn from them. None of us are perfect, and I am dismayed at the lack of humility in some of these responses by members of the organization.

      Thank you for saying this so eloquently, Martha.

  222. Another Anon says:

    I’m sorry this conversation needs to happen, but thankful that it is happening. I’m glad to hear that SCBWI will be examining their policies and making them explicit and readily available. I hope the Board also thinks about the images and photos they use–especially in a community so adept at visual literacy. Right now, there is a lovely picture of the SCBWI board of advisors, and David Diaz is right in the middle despite the fact that he was banned from SCBWI.

    Thank you, SCBWI, for your mission and hard work in helping us all be better writers and illustrators and fostering community. And thank you for taking a hard look at what can be improved.

  223. notplaying says:

    I’ve been around SCBWI a long time and when I look at the board members it’s comprised of what I call The Mean Girls/Guys. Many have treated me in a way that made it clear they felt entitled. Time for fresh energy and voting in the board by your members like most organizations and enough with vague promises of the future. After all these years, this business has still not caught up to real diversity or sexism. All talk, no action. These stories have been around for a long time and yet the people mentioned here were embraced until it became obvious they could no longer be enabled. I saw Jane and daughter thick as thieves with Diaz not very long ago.

  224. Marie Cruz says:

    To all who have spoken up about these horrors, I BELIEVE YOU.

  225. I believe the women. I don’t believe the trolls who have taken over this comments thread.

  226. Sharon Biggs Waller says:

    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.

  227. I’m sorry I invented everything. I didn’t know I could make so much fuss. James Dashner is innocent.

    • Multiple people have quietly told others of his harassing behavior for years. The support of one internet troll is not going to help him.

    • No one here is dumb enough to believe you’re anything more than a troll trying to discredit Dashner’s real victims.

  228. I believe you. The trolls are here to frighten more victims from calling out their abusers. It’s because they are frightened themselves. I appreciate your bravery in the face of these tactics.

  229. First, to those speaking up, I believe you and I appreciate the courage it took to come forward, even anonymously.

    To those who are concerned about the men being accused here: You can go to their social media accounts and see that hardly anyone has even noticed this discussion, and their fans are as adoring as ever. And as for the longlasting damage to their reputations, there won’t be any. Even if people don’t outright forget, as most people will, the industry will be quick to forgive. Forgive the men, that is.

    Meanwhile women are telling us that they’ve seen devastating damage to their careers because of this. EVERYONE in this industry needs to take a long hard look at the difference between how men and women are treated.

  230. Kim Purcell says:

    I believe all survivors. False reporting is very rare. I wanted to add that unchecked power leads to abuse. People who sexually harass or abuse others do it for power. They are often very charming, so it’s not a surprise that you *like* them. This is why they get away with it. Victims sometimes feel complicit or wonder if they misunderstood, and victimizers pick people they don’t think will speak up. What is so upsetting to me is that these are kidlit authors. They have regular exposure to kids and teens. I’m not saying that they are crossing that line but we can’t risk that. We must protect them above all.

  231. I believe all the accusers. It’s clear the industry needs a professional code of conduct that covers not only those who work for publishers and literary agencies, but also the authors, illustrators, and conference organizers/faculty. I’m so sorry that so many of you have had to endure this treatment and salute your courage in speaking up.

  232. James Dashner is innocent

  233. This is all so heartbreaking. Thank you to all of those who have spoken up.

    Whether you’ve been able to tell your story or not, I’m so sorry you were treated this way. And even if speaking out now and/or reading others’ comments eases the pain somewhat and lets you know you’re not alone, I’m sure it’s not a pleasant experience to relive. Remember to take time to take care of yourself. <3

  234. SCBWI member says:

    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.

    • SCBWI Observer says:

      Yes. There are ways that men can demean women and take advantage and condescend that isn’t strictly in the realm of sexual harassment. They (the men – or anyone who behaves this way towards another person) are handicapped in a way. They can’t (have been conditioned not to) see women as equals. They are insecure.

  235. 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.

    Here is Anne’s response for those who haven’t been able to read the article:

    This is one of the effects of this kind of harassment; we live in a society centered around powerful men, and thus when a powerful man sees you for who you are you feel validated — and then they pull the rug out from under you. He sees you as an object, thus you feel like an object. He treats you as fungible, thus you feel fungible. And ashamed for ever thinking you were something else in the first place.

    As Jia Tolentino writes in the New Yorker:

    [T]his is a basic and familiar pattern: a powerful man sees you, a woman who is young and who thinks she might be talented, a person who conveniently exists in a female body, and he understands that he can tie your potential to your female body, and threaten the latter, and you will never be quite as sure of the former again.

    • You are not alone. For 20 months, I have kept silent about what Drew Daywalt did to me. And because of how he handled things at the end, and everything that he told me, I wasn’t even sure what had happened, and how to process it all.
      I wasn’t sure, because he groomed me for months, used me, and in the end, he gaslighted me. In the end, he sent me a cruel text, telling me I’d wrongly accused him, and he couldn’t believe I’d said such things. For 20 months, I doubted and second-guessed myself, and felt like a horrible person for doubting his word. It was all my fault, I figured. After talking to a few writers that I know (and one who knows him), I know that what he did is NOT my fault. I also know that we two are not the only ones; I’ve heard there are more of us.
      If you can find a way to contact me, please do. As of yesterday, there are a few writers who know my story. If you can find them, you can find me. Thank you for posting this. Thank you for opening up. And thank you for making me realize that I am not alone.

  236. Just adding my voice to the many here to say thank you to the brave women telling us these hard truths. I believe you, and I’m sickened by all of this. Although I’ve never been sexually harassed by anyone in the children’s publishing world, I have been made uncomfortable by the worship of so many of the male authors (particularly if they’re young or “cute.”) I hope this is a time of reckoning and change for the better.

  237. Jeremy West says:

    To everyone naming names and speaking out in children’s publishing right now, know that I believe you and support you. Thank you for your bravery and your voice.

  238. too afraid so staying silent says:

    To everyone speaking out, I commend you. You are so courageous. I wish I was as strong as you.

  239. just another librarian says:

    My heart goes out to everyone who has gone through this kind of harassment. I can’t imagine what that must be like because it’s never happened to me. And yet, I believe there are many more victims here than the ones being harassed. Those who witness it but don’t know how to speak up. Those who believe they will never make it in this field because they’re not young and pretty. (Which is not to say that being harassed is desirable, but rather to the outsider it feels like exclusion.) This is problem with our culture, both within the kidlit industry and society as a whole. And it hurts everyone.

  240. #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.

  241. Instead of Lin, her son, and all the other apologists posting their knee jerk defenses, I would strongly suggest that Lin’s time would be better served by examining how her own conduct gave anyone the idea that this kind of behavior at conferences was okay. It was not. It was toxic. It was an open secret. And why was it that no one felt safe enough to report it? And now that you know about Mo Willems, Sherman Alexie, Matt de la Pena and others, what are you prepared to do about it now? Or is simply putting up a hotline your band aid response?

    • What LameGame said. If Ms. Oliver was commenting on featured creators’s marital status or their looks, she was setting up a situation where a lack professionalism was validated. I am a big believer in those at the top setting a tone at such events.

  242. The knots in my stomach have twisted into a tangled mess as I read through these comments, and tears are trailing down my face. I wish I’d known. I wish I hadn’t been as young and eager to succeed and eager to please. I wish I hadn’t been so stupid. Just like there are repeat offenders, there are repeat victims as well. Three of my predators names have been mentioned in this thread. All were incidents at SCBWI events. I was warned about one predator, but only after I’d figured it out for myself. I stopped attending the NYC/LA conferences years ago. Because of a lifetime of similar incidents, I really did believe it was something wrong with me, that those kinds of things happened because of something I was doing wrong. I didn’t imagine it was happening to so many others as well. I now realize that in keeping my shame Secret, I was adding to the problem. It’s okay if you blame me. I blame myself. I’m currently writing the last volume of YA trilogy that deals with the harsh realities of recovering from sexual harassment and abuse. My goal is to normalize victims and show that they can not only survive, they can thrive. I hope to one day accept my own message.

    • None of the incidents were your fault. Blaming yourself gives a reprieve to the men who harmed and scared you. Blame them…and the organizations that allowed this kind of thing to happen because of everyone’s laissez faire attitude about behavior. It’s a hard culture to change, but this shakeup just might make a difference. You’re not alone. Stand tall.

    • I, too, have been sexually harassed by two of the men mentioned in the comments, multiple years, all at SCBWI events. I too have spent a lot of time wondering if it was something, some sort of vulnerability I was projecting. Should I have dressed even more conservatively then I already had? Should I not have smiled or joked and been friendly? Shouldn’t I just have been flattered that it was happening? If I said anything, would people judge me? I believe you and I’m sorry. We shouldn’t blame ourselves, even though it’s an internalized response and perfectly understandable.

      That said, SCBWI dealt with the two men in a way that was more of the norm at the time. In retrospect it all looks bad, but at the time, it was normal. I am so happy that times are changing and we no longer have to be retraumatized seeing those predators back in positions of power after being “rehabilitated.”

  243. I am concerned by the lack of traction this seems to have gotten outside of these comments. For some of us a whisper network wasn’t good enough, I never knew about most of these names (alas that I did know about Dashner). Will SLJ be doing a follow up piece with the information here, including naming names? Will they investigate and get in touch with those people who have paper trails and see if more concrete facts can be added to the mix? (I should add I 100% believe the victims reporting here, I just also know that in journalism the more facts one can present, the better) It seems a shame that the news revealed here in the comments could vanish and that writers would remain as ignorant of these predators as before.

    • The article and the resulting comments thread were mentioned in a prominent post in the Publishers Lunch Deluxe email that comes from Publishers Marketplace. Two names (David Diaz and Jay Asher) were mentioned in it because Lin Oliver’s comment is quoted in the piece. So it is getting traction outside of this page and Twitter (if you were on Twitter at all yesterday, it was INSANE). Link: https://lunch.publishersmarketplace.com/2018/02/metoo-childrens-publishing/
      Note that Publishers Marketplace is a paid subscription service so you need to have an account to read the whole thing.

    • This has been a major topic of discussion in my publishing office this morning

    • I think it won’t receive as much traction until other articles from other sites have been written about it. I’m surprised nothing else has yet. I’m assuming they’re trying to, as you said, get more concrete details.
      I’m pretty sure the authors, publishers, illustrators named have gotten wind of it. Think they’re preparing to release statements.
      Dashner’s fans have been very vocal about their disappointment and pain on Twitter, so I think something will come of that soon.

  244. For all of you speaking up. I believe you. I support you. You are brave. It sucks seeing some of the names being tossed about and realizing how many of them were attached to amazing books. But the reality is, you can be amazing artists but still be a horrible person.

  245. I am in awe of those of you who are courageous enough to speak out. I believe you, and I thank you.

  246. Angela M. Isaacs says:

    To all the brave people who are sharing their stories, I see you. I believe you.

    To all the people who can’t share their stories right now, I believe you, too. You don’t owe anyone your story.

    And to all those reading, this stops now. If you see something, say something. Don’t perpetuate a culture that has allowed this to happen. Kidlit folks truly are some of the best people I have ever met, but in every crowd, there are bad eggs. If we really are the kind of warm, caring folk we want to believe we are, then we need to make sure those bad eggs know they are not welcome and they will be held accountable.

  247. Laura Jimenez, PhD says:

    I don’t think I have seen this piece by Roxane Gay posted yet in this forum but I think it well worth reading and thinking about.
    http://www.marieclaire.com/culture/a16105931/roxane-gay-on-predator-legacies/

    • Thank you for sharing this. It is helping me figure out how to deal with the news that two of my favorite authors are on this list.

  248. Stephanie's Friend says:

    NotJandy I am sure that Charlene Yi appreciated all the free publicity she got in Publishers Weekly when she reported Giuseppe Castellano’s unprofessional and predatory behavior to his employer. The Old Boys are going to circle the wagons around their own and gaslight the outsider. Not the first time, and it won’t be the last. http://bookmarked.bleatingheartpress.com/2017/12/15/publishers-weeklys-decided-post/

    • Please don’t use “circle the wagons.” It stems from America’s racist history against Native people and is unnecessary.

  249. SLJ: Have some comments been deleted? (Or did this very large discussion break the commenting system?) There are a few I don’t see anymore and I am curious if and how that is being decided.

  250. Michael Karg says:

    To echo the silliness of “rock star” status, I hope we can begin to disentangle the currency of celebrity from the true value of trust. Famous actor/producer/publisher/author has too often gotten a pass because enablers have mistaken their great work as a ticket to personal trust. Trust is earned slowly, over years, and is rightfully lost in a second of inappropriate behavior. To quote my mother, “they’re just people”. Let’s stop placing the famous and powerful on pedestals. Thanks to everyone for demanding basic decency from all. The legacy of the #metoo movement is empowering people to say “no” and naming people who don’t accept “no”. Bit by bit, your courage is making the world a safer place.

  251. I’ve wanted to name my harasser for years and posted his name here. The thing is, I’m not sure what to do now. Who am I supposed to tell? Is it too late? Can I do anything to prevent him from doing this to someone else?

  252. I have encountered this kind of behavior on two different occasions–not at SCBWI. Both times the men were very prominent authors. It was vile. And in one case the author threw in a racial slur.

  253. Cathren Page says:

    In addressing all the concerns and arguments raised here, we might be mindful of the multiple purposes and motivations we have in this thread. Several of those could be: 1) to call for an examination of behavior and standards so that we might all embrace more healthy and egalitarian standards moving forward; 2) to ignite change in those who might deserve a chance to reform their behavior; 3) to seek empathy and support in the face of trauma and discrimination; 4) to bring evidence to light for further investigation; 5) to warn others and to protect them from the same harm; and 6) in some instances, to begin the process of ousting those against whom there is sufficient evidence of sufficiently egregious actions.

    Legal Disclaimer—No Legal Advice Intended

    My disclaimer on all of these things. I am a law professor and was a child protection lawyer, but none of what I am saying is meant to constitute legal advice. Anyone seeking legal advice should consult a lawyer who represents their interest, who specializes in that area of law, and who is licensed and experienced in the jurisdiction where the claim is being filed.

    Legal Terms Inapplicable at This Stage

    Since our purpose is not always to achieve ouster, the arguments raised do not all apply. I’ve seen legal terms bandied about here that are not necessarily relevant yet—“due process,” “libel,” “slander,” and “hearsay.” “Due process” only applies when someone is being deprived of life, liberty, and property. While that could be the ultimate consequence of some of these things, we’re not at that stage. We’re having a discussion and that discussion has a variety of goals.

    Hearsay also is an evidence rule that applies in court and in other tribunals. It refers to an out-of-court statement made by a non-party and presented in court for the truth of the matter asserted. Note, by definition, it is doesn’t cover all out-of-court statements, and it also has numerous exceptions.

    Libel and slander typically require that the statement be false in most jurisdictions, and it is typically the person suing who has to prove falseness. In some jurisdictions, they also require malice. If someone had the goals listed above as opposed to mere harm or revenge, it’s unlikely that malice would apply.

    Learning, Setting New Standards, and Creating a Healthier Environment for All

    The #metoo movement has rocked so many of us to the core and caused us to examine our own lives. That examination can help us to grow despite how painful it may be and despite the reasons for the push-back. We need to be aware of some of the pushback factors to overcome the pushback. Some of the push-back is likely due to several of the following factors: 1) we have long lived according to a different cultural standard, under which much of the alleged behavior was considered acceptable, despite the toxicity of that behavior; 2) our culture and authority figures have taught many of us the cultural standard by abusing us, which often causes a symptom of abuse, known as “acting out sexually;” 3) due to this prevalence and this standard, some may be examining either our own behavior or that of our parents, siblings, children, spouses, partners, and loved ones and wondering whether we will be next; 4) one of the most challenging aspects of abuse is that the abuser may also be someone whom we love or who has helped us in many ways; and 5) anyone who has ever been gaslit by an abuser may worry that abusers will now weaponize #metoo to make false allegations against us or make false allegations to discredit the movement.

    Despite these concerns, we can take this opportunity to set new standards moving forward. As a survivor of various abuses and as a former a child protection lawyer, I welcome that change. As someone who learned boundaries from an abusive culture and who was a community scapegoat, of course, I also find myself picking over my own life to see what the consequences will be. Despite the pain and difficulty of that, I see it as an opportunity to grow.

    We all have the opportunity to examine where and how we learned boundaries. For instance, in one of my cases, a child whose mother prostituted her “acted out sexually.” Later, she was caught touching other kids’ privates at a facility. Her abusers taught her lack of boundaries and taught her that she was sexual property in the most visceral possible way. She herself was investigated by the police, and I had to get them to drop the case in favor of a more therapeutic approach.

    When it comes to those boundaries, I myself could label sexual abuse cases, but it’s only in about the past decade that I have fully understood every other type of boundaries. #Metoo has me not only scraping over all of the times I’ve been abused or discriminated against, it also has me scraping over my past and examining my boundaries. For instance, did I dance too close to someone? Yes, I did dance inappropriately close to someone once. Retrospectively, I see now that I failed to read the situation and see that this interactions we was unwanted.

    I know now that doing so was wrong. In the past eight years, I have become a much more boundaried person, and #metoo is helping me to see not just the ways that people have violated my boundaries but how I can best respect others’ boundaries. Whatever the contact, if someone’s body language or words indicate lack of consent, we need to listen. To do otherwise is to reinforce the message that women, or others who have power imbalances, are property.

    Again, anyone facing their own transgressions who wants to know legal consequences should consult with a lawyer who represents them and their interests and specializes in the area. What I am about to say is my opinion morally and not my opinion on legal matters.

    When faced with boundary violations we or our loved ones may have committed, the right thing to do is to own them, to make a amends, and to embrace a new code of conduct moving forward. To deny facts is to further injure not just the survivor but all survivors—many of us survivors feel gaslit by every denial. Many of us may be constantly questioning and doubting ourselves and wondering what is real and what is not. To do deny that those facts constitute an inappropriate boundary violation is to set a standard treating people as property. This standard most harms those who lack power—women, children, disabled people, people of color, people from minority religion, and so on. People who lack power are less able to assert boundaries and find less recourse.

    Seeking and Giving Empathy and Support

    The push-back also ignores a primary reason for posting these allegations—healing through empathy—and providing support to the injured.

    Sexual abuse and sexual harassment injures our sense of reality. In forcing unwanted remarks or contact on us, the offender denies our point of view—our wishes—our perspective. We become invisible to them. Our voice grows silent for them. That’s the wound–that and shame. The wound causes us to question ourselves, our sense of reality, others’ perceptions of us, our inner definition of ourselves. We may question whether anyone will ever see us, hear us, or understand the world through our lens.

    When we speak out, we are frequently further gaslit. Even here on this thread, anonymous trolls have called all of the accusers liars. How can anyone even know that they are all liars? The only person who would know that would be the survivor and the accused. Since there is more than one accused, then one person cannot know that all are liars.

    This further gaslighting can reinforce that invisibility wound—that self-doubt—those questions about self-worth.

    And, again, this next part is not meant as legal advice. Anyone seeking legal advice should consult an attorney who represents them.

    From there, the legal system further injures the survivor. Typically, proof of rape requires intent. The legal system examines the accused’s state of mind. The survivor’s state of mind is only relevant insofar as it sheds light on the accused’s state of mind. So once again, society diminishes the survivor’s perspective.

    Plus, once blamed, accusers fight back and shift blame onto the survivor. The survivor, already struggling with shame, now has to overcome more blame. We see that already happening in this thread here. These anonymous trolls question why the survivors won’t out themselves on the one hand and blame them on the other. Why won’t they out themselves? Because they fear that blame and shame. Because they fear further negation of their experience.

    Part of healing that wound, part of growing a strong voice and strong presence—part of that can mean being finally seen and heard. It can mean that someone finally sees it from our perspective, someone is finally listening to us.

    I can think of few greater reasons for sharing than seeking healing. I applaud anyone who seeks to heal their wounds in this way.

    I see you! I hear you!

    Bringing Evidence to Light for Further Investigation

    While hearsay may not be admissible in court and due process is required for deprivations of life, liberty, and property, these concerns don’t apply to investigations. Hearsay frequently triggers investigations, and due process does not kick in until the government is actually depriving of life, liberty, or property.

    Here, the various institutions can conduct investigation and determine what action to take. In some instances, they have already collected sufficient information. In some instance, they have even made determinations.

    In terms of our individual judgments, we can do the same. Yes, I share the concerns of the poster who said that the trolls in this thread could also try to discredit this movement by propounding false allegations. As someone who was frequently scapegoated both by a narcissistic parent and by the community as an agnostic child in a 100% Christian community, I fear scapegoating for various things all the time. Seeing that someone spoofed Jandy’s name also reinforces that concern.

    At the same time, the stats provided about false allegations being so rare match the stats I’m familiar with as well. As someone who worked with investigators, I can say that true stories share certain features as do false ones. False stories tend to be accompanied by a whole slew of other types of false accusations, law suits, etc. I trust most people here to evaluate the credibility of the stories, compare with their own corroborating experiences, and seek out other information.

    I see plenty of some credible and corroborated stories here.

    Nonetheless, people sometimes want to reject such stories because they value or even love something about the accused—perhaps on many levels.

    Unfortunately, our love and survival often depends in some way on abusers. With abused kids, often they are abused by the one person on whom all their health, nurturance, and needs for love depends.

    Making an outcry can mean risking health, life, love, career, and so on. We hesitate to outcry, and sometimes we hesitate to believe because we love, depend on, or admire our abusers.

    Decrying abuse does not mean decrying all that someone is to us. We can still value what we’ve learned from an abusive parent, mentor, or artist. We can still admire their past work. We can still love an abusive parent.

    It’s just that whether it’s political representation, healthcare, parental love, art, or writing skills—none of those things should come at a sexual price. We cannot be Diane Keatons. We cannot refuse to weigh allegations on their merit or investigate them because we love the accused or depend on the accused in some way.

    Warning Others

    Due to the same dynamics regarding our legal system, regarding victim-blaming, and regarding perception negation, survivors do not often come forward or go to authorities. They have already suffered a traumatic injury to their own self-perspective. Nothing could be more healthy, sane, or rational than protecting themselves from further injury—protecting their voice, their point of view, their presence—from being negated and denied again. Shame is a part of the wound. Nothing could make more sense than protecting themselves from further blame having already been shamed.

    So the only recourse for warning others often winds up being discussions like this one. Perhaps if we keep having more discussions like this one, we’ll create a space where there is other recourse. Perhaps, if keep having more discussions like this one, one day no one will need recourse again.

    • Thank you, Cathren, for such a well written and well rounded explanation. Have you shared this somewhere else so I could share a link with people? I think your comment is worth reading.

  254. Bella Kraft says:

    My stomach is absolutely churning reading all of this. I am so sorry any of you have ever experienced wrong doing and harassment by anyone. I wish my words could change things or there was something I could do to take your pain away. I believe you. I’m with you. I’m here if you need me. Let’s end harassment and have those offenders called out loud and punished.

  255. why is no one saying it says:

    John Green.

    He reacted extremely violently to teens expressing discomfort with him forcing attention on them, and the YA community came to his aid. Why exactly should anyone trust a community of adult women who turned on teenage girls for calling “creepy” an adult man who compulsively followed, messaged, and tried to ingratiate himself with them when they did not want it?

    He’s also friends with, or had a professional relationship with, way more sexual predators than one would think is the average amount. Like calls to like. Why does he end up surrounding himself with rapists and pedophiles if something about their dynamic as people doesn’t resonate with him? (Sam Pepper, Alex Day, Tom Milsom, Mike Lombardo, Austin Jones, Ed Blann, Josh Macedo). The percentage of sexual predators who have been, or are, in Green’s “inner circle” is really worrisome, and I wonder just how many people his illusion of Ultimate Rockstar Status is silencing.

    • The reason John Green has not been mentioned is because no one who’s posted here has a personal story to share about how they were in any way harassed or abused by Green. (Will that happen? Who knows? But it hasn’t yet.) This is supposed to be the point of this thread (more or less). People are sharing their experiences. Yes, some people have tried to interject hearsay into the thread by reporting rumors they’ve heard or things they’ve been told by friends of friends of friends and others have stepped in to shut it down because it’s just conjecture and NOT first hand accounts.

      This discussion works best when it’s about survivors bravely coming forward to share their experiences, not aggregating every bad thing you’ve heard about someone, forming an opinion based on this, and then spewing it out here. If Green hasn’t done anything to you personally, then you don’t get to add fuel to the fire with wild speculation. If someone has a story of personal abuse to share, I’ll gladly listen to it. But we’re helping no one if we’re supporting imagined victims that you’ve dreamed up because of hearsay. THIS is exactly how a search for justice becomes a witch hunt: when people stop sharing their stories of abuse and the discussion becomes dominated with suspicions and allegations that are based on how we “feel” about someone.

  256. trying this again because the comment seems to keep disappearing; this is in response to the john green comment above: https://johngreenisagoodperson.tumblr.com/post/170839010794/re-the-slj-comment

  257. I implore anyone reading this thread with a bit of intellectual capability to pay attention to one thing in the future, an argument technique:

    1) Person lays out argument

    2) Person immediately also derides any possibility of counter argument by mocking either “due process” or “muh free speech”.

    Watch this. It is used over and over again. It’s a propaganda technique: you give your argument and then mock the very valid counter argument to try to get casual onlookers to disregard it before it is even spoken.

    I don’t think many on this thread or in the kidlit community do it consciously. Honestly I’ve come to the conclusion many of you are not very bright.

    Many of you are also true believers every bit so fanatical as religious extremists.

    I don’t know what is so wrong with children’s publishing that so many of these brainwashed fundamentalists are raging through it without pushback like there’s been in most every other community.

    It’s like we have no immune system for this virus and that is tragic.

    If I could level a curse on most of you who are on this thread and stroking each other on twitter, it is this: reap the fruits of your own labor. Live the future you are creating. I really think most of you are well intentioned but much less intelligent than you think, so I know you will be very slow to notice when it happens but I pray you do: may you look around with horror one day to find yourself trapped in the world you have created.

    I hate that you are forcing the rest of us to live in it too but at least I have the satisfaction of watching you inevitably eat each other.

  258. Mari Talkin says:

    My support goes out to all those who have suffered abuse and harassment. Thank you for speaking up. I love the kidlit community, and wrapped up in this love is the recognition that it is not perfect and must strive to be better. We have so much to be proud of AND we have to be better at creating a fair and equitable playing field and at holding abusers accountable.

  259. SCBWI member too says:

    Thank you to all who have told their stories, I hear you and believe you.

    Mari Talkin–thank you for a thoughtful statement that sums it up so well.

    I appreciate SCBWI very much and I hope they will make all the members and conference attendees their top priority. So far the statements people involved in SCBWI leadership roles feel more protective of the organization and not about making us feel it is safe to attend SCBWI conferences. SCBWI needs to rebuild trust that it is fully committed to a safe and professional community for all.

    I hope SCBWI and all the chapters will rewrite their harassment policy with the main goal of it being to help people feel safe. WisCon has an excellent and detailed policy (as others have noted).

    Being very specific and detailed in the harassment policy is important. Vague statements about Board members being the ones who will review concerns is not adequate (especially when a Board member is one that people are concerned about).

    Transparency is very important. They can tell us the timeline when they first heard the allegations–and how and when SCBWI took action–without making the people who bring them up feel unsafe (please, please always think of how you can protect those who come forward from further harassment or fear of the abuser). And if mistakes were made, acknowledge that and tell us how you will change.

    We are all rooting for an improved and more fair and equitable SCBWI–and kidlit community. And thank you SLJ for your articles and forum and creating space for this important dialogue.

  260. +1 for Myke Cole.

  261. Sadly anonymous for my safety says:

    In regards to the acquisitions editor for Fille Verte publishing, Tiffany Rosenthal Hoffman aka Courtney Lynn Rose. She is a woman in a power position (editor, who is also trying to get on as a pitchwars mentor, even though she’s banned from the contest under her real name). She ran ‘ficfest’ mentoring writing contest, cocreated with Kara Leigh Miller. Tiffany and her board of directors (Jadah McCoy, C.M. McCoy aka Colleen Oefelein also a literary agent, E.G. Moore, and Laura Noakes) fired a disabled WoC, Julie Lonewolf, after a couple men and their friends complained to get Julie fired.

    One of the men (Christopher T. Nugent) not only made racist and discriminatory remarks to Julie, he also sexually harassed her, (he also sexually harassed numerous other women and young girl writers in the community. And then he threatened them to stay quiet when they spoke out against his abuses/backlighting, misogynist remarks, or else he’d sue.

    • Sadly anonymous for my safety says:

      To follow up on my post above, the only reason I mentioned a victim’s name is because she passed away year.

      Also, to add, many of the board members I listed above are current members of SCWBI, write children’s literature, and are also member’s of romance writer’s of america.

      Christopher T. Nugent is an editor, children’s author and mentor for many writing contests. He deleted his accounts, resurfaced as elcnubrac in twitter, then disappeared again.

  262. Anonymous Please says:

    Lauren DeStefano. Her treatment of the young female YA book community is disgusting and has been for years. She’s gone way too far at times and harassment is an understatement, especially on Twitter. Friends of mine have suffered at her cruel words in the past and I believe she’s used disabilities against them.

  263. Tori Rigby says:

    To all the victims: I believe you, and I am so sorry this has happened to you. You are so brave for speaking up. Much love to each of you. <3

  264. So now what?

    • I mean–is anyone going to be brave enough to dis-invite these named creepy authors above to all their festivals and schools? Because I know a lot of non-creepy authors who could really use that $$$ and are guaranteed not to harass women. Just look at the events schedule for any of the authors above and they are slated for big $$ and big invites all through summer. Just sayin’…

      so sorry for all the creeps’ wives and kids back home who are most likely just finding out about their husbands…and so sorry of course to all the victims most of all.

      • Answer: no, it does not appear that anything will happen, sadly. It seems as though everyone has chosen Jay Asher among the people named to shoulder the burden of a larger problem. While all the other stories and accusations are being largely ignored by the broader public. Many of the names mentioned above will go on selling books, winning awards, and booking tons of speaking gigs. While everyone enabling them either chooses to ignore the victims who have come forward, or simply disregards their claims out of disbelief (or perhaps something else?) It’s honestly the whole “rockstar” thing taking hold again – with *most* fans of these authors and their work refusing to believe their golden boys could do anything wrong.

        So, it’s sad, it’s unfortunate, but in reality I think the answer to your above question “So now what?” is: well, nothing. Jay Asher’s story has gained some traction with the broader public and his literary agents, and his career is largely over (though those of us in the industry could argue it already was before this, so even he will not suffer great consequences) , but none of the other cases seem to be gaining any traction or attention. Which I think is a sign that despite the initial shock and furor over this, it’s largely going to pass with very few changes or consequences for the men (and women) who are using their status and power and fame and art to manipulate and take advantage of (and/or worse) younger writers and other colleagues.

        Not to be so cynical – since this issue saddens me greatly – but it’s because it’s such an important, terrible thing that I think we need to sit back and really ask ourselves if we’re okay letting all the accusations above fade away? And letting the offenders “get away with it.” Because as of right now, it certainly appears that’s the case. There’s even a good chance that many people named above have even successfully lied to their spouses and have them believing it’s all a lie. Because that’s what people like that are good at: manipulating those around them. It certainly only helps when they’re talented and produce art that is largely admired and adored by everyone. It basically gives them a free pass to be a creep – and we’re seeing evidence of that right now as we speak. Aside from this thread and a short-lived outcry on Twitter, what has come of this? What consequences have any of these people (aside from Jay Asher) really faced in light of this?

        Answer: none.

  265. Kelsey Cole-Burns says:

    To all the victims: Thank you for having the courage to speak out. I’m listening. I believe you. I stand beside you.

  266. Lauren Destefano??? So now the names are people you just don’t like not sexual harassers?

    Great. Then I name the center figure of all toxicity in YA who is the source of all of this cancer: Justina Ireland.

    And her henchmen LL McKinney and Heidi Heilig.

    To use the same language of anon above, their treatment of literally everyone else including young members of this community is disgusting. They have also “gone way too far at times” and “harassment is an understatement”. In their cases it truly is.

    How many people know this and dare not speak it aloud? This has continued on for two years now.

    • I don’t know much about Lauren DeStefano so I can’t comment on any interactions she’s had with young women in the YA sphere, but it doesn’t sound like you’re accusing her of sexual harassment. Are you? And the only things Justina Ireland, LL McKinney, and Heidi Heilig are guilty of are being completely blunt, completely honest, and completely unwilling to prioritize culturally and societally dominant voices over historically marginalized voices.

    • I hope this won’t derail the initial purpose of all these comments – to deal with sexual harassment – but thank you for bringing up something that probably needs a long, hard conversation within this community. There are powerful writers and bloggers who have gained popularity and who wield their power in an abusive way. It creates a hostile environment where a simple difference of opinion, or an honest error that could be corrected by thoughtful reflection to do better, is turned into an event in which the person is harassed, brigaded, driven away – and these abusers do so with relish as they direct their followers to jump in on the destruction. To add insult to injury, whenever these abusers make mistakes themselves, they’re rarely held to account for it. They sometimes leave social media, delete their posts, then hop back on as if nothing happened, and their followers seem not to care. It is frustrating that these abusers do the very behavior they claim others use to harass them – retweeting mentions so followers will see and swarm, deleting posts to gaslight, deliberately misconstruing statements, sharing screenshots of private accounts and communication, and hopping into people’s mentions when that person has asked to be left alone. I’ve seen these abusers start a fight with a victim, then pull back and claim to their followers that they’re the one being attacked.

      If we’re trying to empower women with #MeToo, if we’re trying to change the culture so not only that sexual harassment doesn’t happen but so that we feel able to tell a sexual harasser, “Hey, that type of speech is not okay” without fear of retaliation, then we must broaden our horizons and seek to halt all types of abuse. We need to be able to tell our powerful friends and idols that their behavior is not okay without fear of being brigaded and blacklisted.

      And as a community, and as individuals, we need to strive to understand each other, to not devolve into knee-jerk reactions when someone says something we don’t like or makes a mistake. We are all imperfect creatures, and stepping back for a few moments to listen and think before instantly responding in outrage would go a long way to making this a better, more welcoming community.

      • Valkyrie, your comment DOES derail the conversation. And I assume its vagueness is intentional – are you suggesting that bloggers/influencers/etc encouraging their followings to believe victims and work towards pushing harassers out of the industry is a bad thing?

        “Differences of opinion” are things like whether pineapple is an appropriate topping for pizza or whether Bud Light counts as beer. “Johnny Big-Deal has been accused of harassment by a dozen people and is a dangerous creep” is not really an opinion, at this point. It’s a fact.

        If you’re trying to bring up the familiar conversation about the drama surrounding YA Twitter, yeah, now is not the time. We’re talking about sexual harassment. It’s an important conversation and deserves our full attention right now. Rest assured, someone who hasn’t read a YA novel since Twilight will publish a thinkpiece about YA Twitter in a couple of weeks. We can all rehash the old arguments then.

      • Mike Jung, to say “the only thing” someone “is guilty of” means you are privy to information that resides inside another person’s body. How do you know? Knee-jerk defenses like this make it harder to speak out about harassment that is visible to anyone with a twitter feed, and a thousand times harder to speak out about harassment of a more demeaning and sexual nature. It stops the conversation and scares people into silence. Your post, while I’m sure well-intentioned, is a good example of shutting someone up.

        In the interest of education, since you, a man, decided to call to our attention the “rules” of this comment thread’s subject matter with this challenge, “it doesn’t sound like you’re accusing her of sexual harassment. Are you?” let us visit the definition of sexual harassment for reference. Here is the EEO definition.

        “It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
        Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.
        Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.
        Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).
        The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.”

        Regarding the offshoot conversation here, attention to this phrase. “harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).”

        I understand it’s hard not to feed trolls, but please, if you do, take a step back and try not to be an intimidating male when you do it. In the interest of this conversation going forward, let’s revisit the idea of “Just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean they are perfect.”

        • I was, in fact, asking an honest question. The topic at hand is sexual harassment in the world of children’s publishing; it seemed like you were objecting to Lauren DeStefano being named, but not specifically accused of sexual harassment. But then you did that very same thing by naming Justina Ireland, LL McKinney, and Heidi Heilig, but not specifically accusing them of sexual harassment. (As others have noted, you exclusively named women of color, and it IS worth noting.) But you know what, I did ask the wrong question, and I apologize for that. Upon further thought, here’s my real question: are you accusing Justina Ireland, LL McKinney, and Heidi Heilig of sexual harassment?

          • Mike, I know you are trying to help, but your voice is very loud in this conversation. Also, some of the women you’ve mentioned and are (very kindly) defending are friends with one of the people named earlier in this conversation and yet have not spoken out about it. It is best not to hold up anyone as keeper of the absolute light in this situation; it’s how we end up with the ‘______ is our rockstar’ mentality which means we believe they can do no wrong.

          • Mike Jung, I am not the person you responded to originally. I thought that would be clear by me referring to the person as a “troll” at the end of my message and by the different name. Trolls tend to distract the conversation, as you were probably trying to point out, however aggressively you did it. I was commenting on the commanding tone of your reply, which could turn away victims, and suggesting that you might want to leave your controlling, toxic-male attitude (“in fact” often screams mansplaining, for example) aside in this particular conversation. This means I cannot answer your ‘question’ nor did I accuse anyone. Someone named Stegosaur did that. In the interest of staying on topic, which I believe was your intent, try perhaps ignoring trolls and listening to what women are saying here in order to understand the link between harassment and sexual harassment and the effects of both on victims.

          • I’m disappointed that someone is choosing to come for L.L., Justina, and Heidi on a thread that should be focused on sexual harassment. This derails the conversation and takes the focus off of the victims.

            However. I am also disappointed that not all of the alleged abusers are being condemned by the vocal advocates of this movement. Two witnesses have come out against Tessa Gratton, yet she’s merrily taking part in joking about the absurdity of the accusations against L.L., Justina, and Heidi. Why has she not apologized for her inappropriate behavior? I thought we were standing by the victims even when the accused is a friend.

    • Allie Jane Bruce says:

      “When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” – I cannot find the original source on this quote. Help?

      What you see above is the backlash women of color get for speaking things that are true and fighting against the norm.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/10/colin-kaepernick/541845/

      • I searched too, couldn’t find it, but read some great articles along the way. What a great quote Allie Jane Bruce, it really resonated. Thanks to the many contributions above, especially those who add to the conversation in an honest and gracious way, and share their stories. That must be hard. Thank you.

    • Sounds like you’ve got a vendetta against WOC. Good job derailing this important discussion about sexual harassment by falling back on tried and true racism.

  267. This is incredibly hard to read. One, it’s triggering to read stories of other’s trauma, but two, there are several names here, on social media, on the petition, etc. who’ve been vicious and cruel trying to take down victims of abuse.

    I don’t want to name names. I don’t wish harm or pain on you. I only want to understand. Why do you care now? Why are you comfortable destroying a person if they’re not someone you know or like, but in the same breath, you can scream advocacy to the rafters?

    Trauma is lifelong damage. It’s not a hashtag. I am relieved victims are being heard. I only ask you to truly listen and not make this nothing more than the latest twitterstorm that holds your interest until something else comes along. Not every victim is a bestselling author with a huge social media platform. Few actually are. When the loudest voices in YA are drowning out the stories of the people who were hurt for more focus on them, it serves no one.

  268. First, thank you to all of the victims speaking out here.

    In response to some of the most recent comments: this is why the conversation about harassment in children’s and YA publishing cannot truly move forward without also addressing racism (and other forms of power and oppression.) Black women and other women of color are now being named in a thread about sexual harassment, because of the ways they *resist their own harassment?* No. Let’s talk about how this community is unsafe for Black women, Native women, women of color— including what’s happening right here. If people aren’t willing to confront that, and will only speak out about harm to White women, we aren’t having the conversation at all.

  269. “So what now?”

    Well, nothing. It seems as though everyone has chosen Jay Asher among the people named to shoulder the burden of a larger problem. While all the other stories and accusations are being largely ignored by the broader public. Many of the names mentioned above will go on selling books, winning awards, and booking tons of speaking gigs. While everyone enabling them either chooses to ignore the victims who have come forward, or simply disregards their claims out of disbelief (or perhaps something else?) It’s honestly the whole “rockstar” thing taking hold again – with *most* fans of these authors and their work refusing to believe their golden boys could do anything wrong.

    So, it’s sad, it’s unfortunate, but in reality I think the answer to your above question “So now what?” is: well, nothing. Jay Asher’s story has gained some traction with the broader public and his literary agents, and his career is largely over (though those of us in the industry could argue it already was before this, so even he will not suffer great consequences) , but none of the other cases seem to be gaining any traction or attention. Which I think is a sign that despite the initial shock and furor over this, it’s largely going to pass with very few changes or consequences for the men (and women) who are using their status and power and fame and art to manipulate and take advantage of (and/or worse) younger writers and other colleagues.

    Not to be so cynical – since this issue saddens me greatly – but it’s because it’s such an important, terrible thing that I think we need to sit back and really ask ourselves if we’re okay letting all the accusations above fade away? And letting the offenders “get away with it.” Because as of right now, it certainly appears that’s the case. There’s even a good chance that many people named above have even successfully lied to their spouses and have them believing it’s all a lie. Because that’s what people like that are good at: manipulating those around them. It certainly only helps when they’re talented and produce art that is largely admired and adored by everyone. It basically gives them a free pass to be a creep – and we’re seeing evidence of that right now as we speak. Aside from this thread and a short-lived outcry on Twitter, what has come of this? What consequences have any of these people (aside from Jay Asher) really faced in light of this?

    Answer: none.

  270. Genetta Adair says:

    David Diaz. #MeToo. Harassment, inappropriate lewd comments, predatory behavior, and seemingly innocuous but unwanted touching.
    I never reported my experiences. I thought a predator was a creep and a jerk who had to be tolerated and repeatedly refused. I never thought SCBWI should have had to handle that situation for me. I wish now I had stepped out of my comfort zone to alert SCBWI to the situation in order to protect others. I’m sorry I didn’t.
    However, I am confident that Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser will do everything in their power to prevent this from happening in the future. I fully believe they will create a way for victims to feel safe to tell their experiences so that disciplinary action and healing can both take place.
    As a previous SCBWI regional advisor who knew the inner workings of SCBWI, I can say I never saw favoritism or discrimination at any SCBWI conference, either regional or international. SCBWI has always worked to promote a safe, unbigoted family atmosphere for kidlit creators. I love SCBWI and those who lead it.

  271. Sorry for my poor English. I was reading these commenters, I saw Lauren destefano I felt heart beat fast. She was absusive to my online, to my face at signing I wish her to be sorry for using my language against me

  272. An admin can verify that my email matches the one in my original post. On Monday, I accused James Dashner, Dan Well and Charlie Pulsipher of sexual harassment. I made it up. I was angry, not thinking clearly and chose 2 random names from a conference. I was wrong to do this. Charlie and Dan has never taken sexual advantage of me. I’m sorry, the #metoo movement is too important for my lies to hurt it. I apologise for any harm I’ve done. I hope this clears Dan and Charlie’s names.

  273. SCBWI member too says:

    The day after I posted above asking SCBWI to be more transparent and give a timeline of what happened and when/how they handled it, SLJ published an update from Lin Oliver giving the timeline of how they handled the Diaz case. Thank you SCBWI and Lin Oliver for reading and listening and taking some action. Keep it up! This is encouraging.

  274. Justine Larbalestier says:

    No, Stegosaur, Justine and Heidi and LL are speaking out against racism and bigotry. They are three of the most important voices in our field working for change. I’m eternally grateful to them.

    That you would hijack a thread on sexual harassment full of brave women speaking out says a lot about you. None of it good.

    • [Comment removed because it violates this site’s comment policy.]

    • Heidi Heilig publicly accused a young, gay, black writer on twitter of being equivalent to the Nazi Richard Spencer simply because he wrote an article mildly disagreeing about the effectiveness of call out culture in elevating the voices of marginalized writers. And you, Justine, a white woman, viciously attacked the same person publicly. You and Heidi Heilig, together with Justina Ireland, attacked, harassed, and dragged him simply for having a difference of opinion.

  275. Justine Larbalestier says:

    Argh. That was supposed to be Justina. Annoying Autocorrect!

  276. FYI Jay asher has been dropped by his literary agency: https://mobile.twitter.com/realsaramerica/status/963594795636658176/photo/1

  277. Well this explains how a picture book that has a man taking off his pants in front of woman even though she protests gets starred reviews. Not one influencer or Rock Star librarian reviewer called this out. This book was put in Barnes and Noble! Come on kidlit, do better. I don’t care who wrote it. It the book is offensive you need to call it out.
    * “Snicket fans will love this book.”―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

    * “Expressive action-filled illustrations [will] make the reader giggle and frown.”―School Library Connection, starred review

    “Snicket’s quirky narrative voice and observations of events both great and lowly make this a fine readaloud–and a sure cure for a bad mood.”―Publishers Weekly

    “A cheerfully wacky read-aloud sure to brighten listeners’ moods.”―School Library Journal

    “This light take on a negative feeling may be useful to adults working with children.”―Horn Book

    “[The Bad Mood and the Stick] offers a playful way to talk about feelings we’ve all experienced.”― Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

  278. Now that the anonymous accuser of Charlie Pulsipher and Dan Wells posted here at 12:45, admitting that she made up her allegations against them, I ask the SLJ to interview these men and give them an opportunity to be publicly vindicated and reach out to their readers to minimize the damage to their careers and reputations. I’ve pasted her post below. Please make the vindication as equally public as the accusation.

    MeToo says:
    February 14, 2018 at 12:45 pm
    An admin can verify that my email matches the one in my original post. On Monday, I accused James Dashner, Dan Well and Charlie Pulsipher of sexual harassment. I made it up. I was angry, not thinking clearly and chose 2 random names from a conference. I was wrong to do this. Charlie and Dan has never taken sexual advantage of me. I’m sorry, the #metoo movement is too important for my lies to hurt it. I apologise for any harm I’ve done. I hope this clears Dan and Charlie’s names.

  279. Quote from Ms. Ursu’s article:
    “This is not about exposing or accusing people; speculating on the identities of the alleged harassers would be damaging to everyone involved, and will only feed derailing narratives.”

    Well, that article’s intent certainly went out the window! And I think her prediction has played out here.

    One feels deeply saddened for sexual harassment victims who have been chased from their jobs, demoted, made to feel ‘less than’ or to doubt their talent. The lines of ‘acceptable’ need to shift.

    One also cringes at posts where women say, “I was taken aback, so I didn’t say anything.” (to the man or work/conference place.) And then, seem surprised that the man in question repeated or escalated his behavior. I worry that at least some of these stories are incidents of awkward flirting and should fall into the category of a social misunderstanding vs. predatory harassment. There IS a difference. There are a huge variety and vast differences in levels of sexually-charged indiscretion. Some offenders do deserve for careers to be ruined, names besmirched, families and fortunes devastated. And others? Not so much. A sensitivity lecture would be more appropriate. The anonymous PILING ON here is worrisome. We do want women to speak out and be believed. We don’t want every shoulder or hair-touching incident to be equated with a capital offense in which the social-media crowd demands “Off with his head!”

    There are also odd claims that seem internally contradictory: For instance, “I reported it and nothing happened.” then a sentence or two later: “After my complaint he was suspended for a year, had to take a sexual harassment course, was put on probation, and then, did resign.” Excuse me, but what do you mean ‘nothing happened’? It sounds like appropriate remedies were taken.

    I also have heard rumors of some ladies here using different e-mails/computers to up the victim complaint count. (Please let this not be true!) Whether it is or not, that many, too many, women have been sexually harassed is certainly true. I believe most accounts are heartfelt and genuine. I also realize that Anne Urdu is not a trained journalist, she did not vet any the of stories or sources. She does not know what organizations did or said behind closed doors. And neither do we. What’s here is undeniably speculative. So take care.

    I’m a ‘me too’ victim of multiple serious assaults from time spent in another industry. Believe me, I get it. I know the damage. But I, and most women, clearly know and feel the difference between bad taste, clumsy expressions of interest, and true predatory or power-hostage behavior. I’m not seeing that clearly differentiated or reflected in some accounts here.

    It’s true that no inappropriate behavior should be tolerated. But there should be room and cool mindset for discussion and education allowed. For men. For women. It’s not victim-shaming to suggest we should arm and encourage our young women to learn to clearly express their dismay aloud and in the moment. Or to suggest to men that they learn to look for cues that their conduct is being perceived as aggression, attack or power-blackmail.

    And for commenters. Consider that mob mentality is counter-productive. Because overkill will certainly result in it’s own backlash. We want progress not heads.

  280. ——-To the School Library Journal———

    Your handling of this article has been reckless and cavalier. Due to the baseless series of assumptions and insinuations in this article, you have smeared the SCBWI and Lin Oliver, a woman with a spotless, dedicated, and exemplary career in children’s books, and a number of awards and widespread recognition for her advocacy for women and women’s rights. You have done her, and the organization she represents, great harm. Most importantly, however, you have misinformed your readers.

    Is there any wonder Oliver declined to comment for the original article, given how recklessly you shepherded its publication, and its subsequent update? Do you not know that people representing large groups like the SCBWI cannot simply comment about sexual harassment allegations without exposing themselves, their companies, their employees, their tireless and amazing volunteers, and their members to the immense burdens and downstream consequences of legal suits? A decline to comment is nothing more than decline to comment, not an admission of guilt, wrongdoing, or complicity in protecting alleged sexual harassers, or something as nebulous as a company’s reputation. As is clear from the begrudging “update,” you got the reporting wrong. You got the reporting wrong because you simply did not do enough original reporting or gather enough sources and confirmations to publish, but you did it anyway. That was reckless, harmful, and misleading. Your flippant update is nearly as irresponsible as the original article.

    So here are some questions for the School Library Journal editorial department:

    — Was this article fact checked? If not, why not? Did this fact checker, if there was one, have access to Himmelstein’s notes or any source documents she used in her reporting?
    — Did Himmelstein ever reach out to anyone mentioned by name in the article to confirm or deny her reporting, or ask for additional comment once her reporting was in final form and her conclusions had been drawn?
    — Do you understand that a “no comment” is not necessarily an attempt to conceal, but a necessary protection against lawsuits? Which, by the way, the SCBWI will now most likely be facing. What journalistic standards or policies do you typically follow in “no comment” situations? Do you recognize that people may have a variety of reasons for not commenting which have nothing remotely sinister about them?
    — Did you consult anyone with professional expertise in reporting sexual harassment or children’s literature while preparing this story, or any such experts to review it once it was done? If not, why not?
    — Was Himmelstein able to gather any sources or source documents in addition to the writer who came forward, in the sections that focused on David Diaz and the SCBWI?
    — Did a lawyer review the article before going to print?
    — On what basis was Himmelstein assigned this story, given that she has scant or perhaps zero professional experience reporting on sexual harassment or children’s literature?
    — How many other editors reviewed this article before going to print? Was it discussed in editorial meetings? What level of editor would need to approve an article such as this for publication?
    — Why did this article bring up Mark Halperin and the irredeemable Harvey Weinstein, making the insinuation that this industry was surely harboring such self-same monsters?
    — Did you have any editorial discussions concerning the journalistic standards in this piece? By which I mean that in the sections detailing Diaz and SCBWI, the piece is presented as straight objective journalism, yet these sections appear to be entirely from the point of view of the writer who came forward. Did you have discussions about how to set off or demarcate what was Himmelstein’s independent reporting, from the writer’s subjective experiences and feelings and questions about those experiences?
    — Did you ever consider publishing this article as an “as told to” personal essay, and not to present it as a work of fact-checked and professionally edited journalism?
    — Given the mistakes in this article, are you going to reevaluate your editorial standards and processes, especially for sensitive and gravely important topics such as sexual harassment, which demand great care and expertise?

    School Library Journal—as a children’s book writer, I have gone through far more invasive, comprehensive and probing editorial and fact-checking processes for books about construction trucks and ponies than this article appears to have undergone. A rigorous fact-check is not fun, but it’s necessary. I urge you to answer the questions here or in subsequent articles, and to take responsibility where it’s due. I’m certain Lin Oliver and many, many other women in positions of power in children’s publishing would love NOTHING MORE than to participate in serious, searching, and no-holds-barred articles about sexual harassment in children’s literature, and all relevant discussions stemming from this topic. But you have muddied the waters, and crapped in the bed, and caused a great deal of chaos and confusion for literally everyone the slightest bit connected to this article.

    I believe owe Lin Oliver, the SCBWI, its members, and everyone who was misinformed by this sloppily rendered article, an apology, and as well, a basic accounting of how the mistakes made in this article came to be.

  281. Wow. This thread is completely out of control. Firstly, I’m a published author of over a dozen books. I have NEVER worked with a man on any of my books (publishing is almost exclusively female) and certainly never been harassed. BUT if you read through all of these comments then you’d think there was an epidemic! This cannot statistically be true.

    It is clear that certain men took advantage of their privilege at SCBWI. This is disgusting. It’s a worthy and important thing to discuss. HOWEVER naming so-and-so because his (or even her) name was heard through the grape-vine or tossing a name out because you thought he/she was mean is NOT sexual harassment. For those of you who haven’t read about the Salem Witch Trials then you should. History, sadly, repeats itself. As someone who has experienced real sexual harassment and even worse, assault, please, please, please STOP naming people when they haven’t actually done either of the two listed things TO YOU. A bad joke, an honest and maybe hurtful critique, a nasty comment, etc., is not sexual harassment or assault. Also, rumors are often not true so no one should be spreading them. PERIOD.

    This is how the MeToo movement will die–by people casually listing names without proof or actual first-hand experience. Shame on each and every one of you who has done so. And shame on every person who has attempted to shut down constructive conversation or dissent. Again, the Witch Trials come to mind.

    To those who were actually harassed or assaulted, I’m sorry. Stay strong.

    • I do not understand how any of these people can think this is okay.

      Due process is just for court proceedings? No!

      Due process exists because otherwise, I can go to a bathroom, write on the wall (for example) “Justine sells guns to kids!” and get Justine run out of town by angry parents who don’t want their kids to be sold guns.

      Due process means I have to prove this accusation before it has an impact on Justine’s life, or else she can sue me. This is something none of the people here are doing.

      HAVE YOU NEVER MET SOMEONE WHO LIES???

      Anyone, anyone can make up nonsense about another person and post anonymously without consequences!

      And those of you about to scream it’s not remotely comparable? You are idiots. You are fools. Your teachers and parents should hang their heads they produced such idiots. I am sickened you have a vote or any say in the future of this society.

      It boggles my mind people who are shaping the minds of children are so absolutely stupid themselves. Maybe their publishers need to be held responsible for what they’re saying to discourage such people being published in the future.

      I just don’t understand how anyone can be so brainwashed they think anything is okay about this.

      • Cathren Page says:

        Due process is a legal term that applies to the government depriving someone of life, liberty, and property–and we would never have court proceedings in the first place if we did not first have an investigation and discovery phase. During that phase, yes, you gather and vet accusations.

        • Cathren Page says:

          Also, in some instances, I think it may be trolls who are doing things like naming and recanting or claiming to recant. They are trying to discredit the survivors of actual abuse.

  282. Mike Jung, many of us were troubled to see you defend one of the people named here on Twitter. You can’t know who is guilty. We’re supposed to believe victims, and we have to do that even when they name people we like. Seeing some of these names has crushed a lot of us, but if we cherry pick who to believe, there’s no point to any of this.

    • Anon, you know what, you’re 100% right. I’ve deleted the tweet about that person, and I sincerely apologize to those who’ve named that person here. That was a failure of allyship, a prioritization of my own feelings, which are unimportant here, over the feelings of the victims, whose feelings are of all-encompassing importance, and a direct violation of my own oft-stated commitment to believe victims and support victims. It’s not the first time I’ve failed the people I should be supporting, and I often talk about how “we’re all complicit,” but here’s yet another situation in which it’s important for me to say it more accurately; I’m complicit, and I just publicly demonstrated that I am. Thank you for being direct and honest with me, anon. It was an act of kindness and generosity for you to do so. I’m sorry to have put you or anyone in the position of having to make that effort.

  283. Time to close the comments, I think.

  284. Full transparency is important because of the slim chance that some accusations are false. Just because the numbers are extremely low doesn’t mean it’s something that doesn’t happen. Anyone, like I’m doing at the moment, can post anonymous messages with various identity concealing pseudonyms. It’s not that I don’t want to believe every single accusation, but when the common thread is the lack of putting a real name to back a statement makes it seem less believable. One author in particular who’s been named in the comment section (James Dashner) of this article has been let go from their literary agent. If this accusation is proven to be untrue, he was then slandered and dropped because lies told by anonymous sources. These accusations effect people’s lives and should be treated as such. I’ll gladly stand by the people who have faced these disgusting acts, but frankly anonymous postings prove nothing.

  285. Cheryl Current says:

    If a man/ woman says something inappropriate, I think I will HANDLE IT AT THAT MOMENT, instead of years later. People need to set THEIR OWN boundaries for what THEY WILL ACCEPT. If you can’t stand up for yourself, please don’t expect the media to do it for you…..#FEDUP

    • Cathren Page says:

      That doesn’t take into account the PTS, dissociation, and confusing cultural narratives that often cause people to freeze in these moments.

  286. Sherman Alexie once grabbed me and kissed me without warning. After I pushed him away, he apologized. I accepted the apology, believing he’d misread my admiration for him. This was around 20 years ago. I didn’t feel harassed exactly, but very shocked, and I’m sharing this to support the other women who have posted about him here. I naively assumed it was an isolated incident. Guess not.

  287. Cheryl,

    That’s a little harsh. I’ve been sexually assaulted but it wasn’t until years later that I fully understood what had happened to me. There’s stuff an old boss said/did that was extremely inappropriate but, again, I didn’t realize it until later. If you’re fed-up, imagine how those of us who have been harassed and abused feel.

    So sorry for only coping with it so late after the fact. Next time I’ll be sure to not freeze.

    • Cathren Page says:

      Anon, that’s so common to have difficulty piecing it together. We have societal narratives that tell us that it isn’t what it is–for instances, for many of us, raping one’s wife wasn’t a crime in our lifetimes. When we’ve been gaslit and presented with these kinds of cultural standards–and not given support–it’s hard to label it even for ourselves.

  288. Hi SLJ,

    Since there is no way to Flag individual comments, I emailed you (at the address provided on this page) a list of comment URLs that I think you should moderate. Today, I came online to find all of those comments still here.

    The longer the defensive comments remain, the less safe place this place is for those who want to come forward with their experiences. They deserve a place to speak without being gaslighted or accused of lying. This thread is devolving into less support and more hostility. Let’s turn that around.

    Thank you for reading.

  289. Bringing up Ireland, McKinney and Heilig does derail the sexual harassment conversation, but it is true that they are harassers who gladly use their platforms to publicly abuse anyone they don’t like. Calling out three people who happen to be women of color on their nasty behavior is not the same as attacking women of color as a group. There are plenty in the industry who use their platforms to speak up against racism and misogyny without also directing hate at people and starting petty drama for no reason. It’s not sexual, but it is harassment. They use their victimization to victimize others while falsely accusing anyone who disagrees with them of being “problematic”, “racist”, and “trash.” That, in addition to the sexual harassment, is no big secret anymore.

    • I agree 100%. LL McKinney has attacked me horribly in the past after I stuck up for Jodi Meadows after she wrote a book with a black heroine despite being herself white. She made me feel completely worthless. Ireland and Heilig also have a deep love of ad hominem attacks and are remarkably petty.

    • I agree 100%. LL McKinney has attacked me horribly in the past after I stuck up for Jodi Meadows after she wrote a book with a black heroine despite being herself white. She made me feel completely worthless. Ireland and Heilig also have a deep love of ad hominem attacks and thrive in divisiveness.

      • Dangling modifier patrol- Jodi Meadows wrote a book with a black heroine despite being herself white, Justina Ireland attacked her, I stuck up for Jodi on Goodreads and LL said some truly horrible things about me and every time I tried to explain my position she’d just repeatedly shout ad hominem attacks at me until I began questioning my self-worth and actually couldn’t go on Goodreads for months.

  290. Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and James Frey keeps on paddling. I’ve heard stories about Frey and having met him I believe every one.

  291. Dashner is the first person whom I know well enough to call my friend who has been accused. There have been lots of people whom I admire who have turned out to be sexual predators (most notably Jesse Lacey), but this is the first time I’ve found out that someone whom I actually know and like as a person may have actually been a monster the whole time. Obviously I believe the women, although I’ll wait for harder evidence before I sever my ties with Dashner.

  292. On behalf of Steven Salpeter:

    Hi Anona and anon and supportive,

    A friend called me today to let me know my name had popped up in this thread, which I had stopped following after a few weeks as other commentary elsewhere seemed to be carrying the torch of dialogue. I was shocked to find my name on this list, but was not as horrified as I have been to hear about some of the offenses people in our industry have committed.

    If you’re reading this comment, you’re probably already aware that the reckoning we’re having in our culture for sexual misconduct is extremely important and unfortunately long overdue. If you feel this way too, I want to you know I agree and support you.

    I really want to know if I’ve ever made someone uncomfortable if they are willing to share.

    For Anona’s question: If anyone is aware of something I have done or said that hurt someone in any way connected with issues of gender identity or perceived roles, sexuality, race, or something otherwise hurtful about who they are I would fully support you in your taking the opportunity heal in whatever way will help you, including if you choose to tell your story as many have done.

    I wouldn’t do anything like the acts of harassment or misconduct people have been accused of in the press in many industries, but while I can’t think of anything I have done that could fall into the categories people have named in this thread, the nature of other issues like microaggressions and power imbalances are that they can be deeply ingrained and it’s scary to me to think I could have really hurt someone some time and don’t know about it. If I have done something I hope to be able to help the victim in any way I can and keep learning about gender disparity and the other important diversity issues in our industry.

    Even those of us that care can mess up. If someone is out there and I can apologize to you personally if you would be helped by an apology, I would love the opportunity to learn about whatever mistake I could have made. If you want to, you can reach out however makes you feel comfortable, like through the agency’s website or through a third party. Or, if it’s helpful for you to hear, I want you to know I would be in full support of you telling your story anonymously and would support its publication if I was asked.

    By answering for myself I don’t mean to imply that others named on this page are not guilty of sexual harassment, misconduct, or inappropriate behavior. I believe women and other brave people who have stories to tell, and will leave commentary to those experts who are leading the charge. I hope this remains a safe space for the kidlit community and those hoping to join it. People in power in the business are listening and hopefully starting to do more to enact change.

    Regards,
    Steven Salpeter