Letter from the Editor: We retracted the column “Don’t pull every author accused of sexual assault from the shelf”

Erin Douglas

Dear readers,

We want to be fully transparent in our decision today to retract the column “Don’t pull every author accused of sexual assault from the shelf” that was published on Thursday, February 22 at 7 a.m. on collegian.com and which ran the same day in our print product due to factual errors. 

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The column asserted that Jay Asher, the author of “13 Reasons Why” was accused of sexual assault, that he was dropped by his publishing company, and that he had been accused of conduct of sexual assault and rape. Each of these claims are false. Asher was accused of having “anonymous claims,” against him, the nature of which have not been specified. He was not dropped by his publishing company, and he was not accused of sexual assault or rape.

For this reason, The Collegian has retracted the article in full to emphasize to you, our readers, that we do not allow false allegations to create narratives. 

Claims tying Asher to allegations of sexual harassment began after Lin Oliver, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, told the Associated Press Feb. 12 that Asher was banned from the nonprofit organization last year for violation of the organization’s harassment policy. Oliver told the AP that the S.C.B.W.I. investigated anonymous claims against Asher, but did not name the nature of the accusations. 

Asher’s representatives dispute the claim that Asher was banned and that there was an investigation. 

Tamara Taylor, a spokesperson for Jay Asher, released the following statement:

“The SCBWI’s recent statement about author Jay Asher is completely false. There was no allegation, investigation or finding of sexual harassment. In April 2017, Mr. Asher voluntarily agreed that he would no longer attend SCBWI conferences. This was in response to hurt feelings of a group of authors with whom he had consensual relationships that ended poorly.”

Erin Douglas can be reached at editor@collegian.com.