More Harassment Accusations

Locus Magazine, Science Fiction FantasyTwo more prominent authors with genre connections have been accused of inappropriate behavior: Sherman Alexie of sexual misconduct, and Daniel Handler of crude and offensive remarks.

After rumors began to circulate online in Febru­ary 2018, Alexie issued a statement apologizing to “the people I have hurt” and acknowledging he’d made “poor decisions.” He however rejected “the accusations, insinuations and outright falsehoods made by Litsa Dremousis, who has led the charges against me,” explaining that the two of them “had previously been consenting sexual partners,” which ended in 2015. He claims Dremousis contacted his wife in late 2017 and “since then, has continually tweeted and spoken in public about my behavior, making accusations based on rumors and hearsay.” While he said there were women “telling the truth” about his behavior, he said “I have no recollection of physically or verbally threatening anybody or their careers. That would be completely out of character.” He pledged “to become a healthier man who makes healthier decisions.” Dremousis objected to Alexie’s characterization, posting a statement saying, “I knew he’d use a consensual affair which ended w/us staying good friends as a way to discredit dozens of women who consented to nothing,” going on to say that “I put a huge chunk of my private life out there of my own volition b/c I wanted him to stop harming women.”

Dremousis referred several women allegedly harassed by Alexie to a National Public Radio re­porter, for a piece that gathered accusations from ten other women against Alexie, including three from women who spoke on the record and agreed to be named. The women described “behavior ranging from inappropriate comments both in private and in public, to flirting that veered suddenly into sexual territory, unwanted sexual advances, and consen­sual sexual relations that ended abruptly.” They accused Alexie of “trading on his literary celebrity to lure them into uncomfortable sexual situations.” The article can be read online here.

In the wake of these accusations, Alexie declined a Carnegie Medal for You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir, and asked that paperback publication be delayed.

After author Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket) posted in support of Gwenda Bond’s peti­tion asking conferences and publishers to enact stricter anti-harassment policies, numerous people came forward to accuse Handler of making unwel­come crude and sexual comments to his female col­leagues. He responded in the comments by saying, “It’s come to my attention, far too late due to my own flaky logistics and lack of an internet life, that a number of women are coming forward to address remarks of mine, at various points in time, that have caused them hurt.” He said it was never his intention to insult anyone: “I sincerely, if tardily, apologize.” He blames his sense of humor, which “has not been for everyone,” and says, “As a survivor of sexual vio­lence, I also know very well how words or behaviors that are harmless or even liberating to some people can be upsetting to others.” He concludes that, “I do not find comments sections the ideal place to discuss incidents in which my memories, and the memories of others who were with me, sometimes differ. And I believe the people who are talking. I am listening and willing to listen; I am learning and willing to learn.” Handler’s response, in full, is here. (The accusations against Handler are in the same comment thread.)

Locus Magazine, Science Fiction Fantasy

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