Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Note to My Readers, Friends, and Colleagues

One of the greatest benefits of writing Thirteen Reasons Why is the platform it gave me to speak out against bullying and stand up for victims of harassment. This is why recent allegations against me have hurt so much, and I want you to know the truth.

While I was married, I had consensual affairs with a number of women that did not end positively and I apologized for my part in the distress. The affairs were selfish, hurtful, and deeply damaged my family. I confessed this to my wife years ago, have been in counseling, and can never apologize enough to my family for the pain I caused.

But no part of this was harassment. I did not touch anyone without their permission, never offered or hinted at professional quid pro quo, and did not retaliate in any way after the affairs ended.

Last year, in an anonymous email to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, some of the women disclosed my affairs. They acknowledged their responsibility, saying: “We do realize that we played a role in our relationships with him and that we are responsible as well.”

To avoid uncomfortable situations with those behind the email, I suggested to SCBWI that I not attend their conferences—even though all extramarital relationships that began at their events began before I was published. The executive director responded via email that this should be “just a break for some breathing room.” Months later, she noticed I let my membership lapse and advised me to renew it, so I did.

I will continue to work on improving myself as a person so that my message against harassment will not be hindered, and for my family most of all.

Thank you for reading this.

— Jay Asher

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