I Tried to Warn You About Junot Diaz

JunotDiaz

An old colleague from the Boston Globe sent me a link to today’s article about the flurry of women coming forward about (alleged, I guess) sexual misconduct towards them by Pulitzer-winning novelist Junot Diaz. My friend sent the article out of kindness, the way an old pal might place a comforting hand on your shoulder by way of saying, “I believe you. I always did.”

Author Zinzi Clemmons sparked today’s uproar across social media when she tweeted about Diaz cornering her and forcibly kissing her when she was a graduate student of just 26. After she tweeted this, two other female writers, Carmen Maria Machado and Monica Byrne, both came forward with similar tales of misogynistic abuse at the hands of Diaz. I wasn’t surprised. But anyone who has followed my own literary career knows that.

I publicly said Diaz was a misogynist opportunistic liar more than ten years ago, after he mistreated me, and I was severely punished for it – by Diaz, and by the publishing and Latino communities.

More than a decade ago, after I had become a NY Times and USA Today bestselling novelist and Diaz won the Pulitzer, I wrote on my own blog about the painful experience I had with him when I was in my 20s. He reacted badly to that post, calling me a bitch, denying my account, and badmouthing me to many people in NY publishing. The Latino power establishment was quick to slap me down. Who did I think I was? How dare I say anything bad about saintly Diaz, our Latino literary hero! Clearly I was just trying to drum up press for myself, right?

He blocked me and to this day never returns a single email from me – even the ones where I tried to make peace with him for the sake of the Latino writing world, which is woefully small and very chatty. He refused. And if this had been a divorce, he got all the friends – including most of NY publishing, many of my readers, and much of the Latino power establishment.

My experience with Diaz was this.

I was a young reporter at the Boston Globe when his short story collection DROWN came out. I read it and was floored. I interviewed him in Boston on his book tour. I was starstruck and excited to meet him, took him to a Dominican restaurant in the barrio, because I loved that place and thought he’d appreciate it. He wrinkled his nose at it, and said he thought the Globe could afford to take him somewhere nicer. “I’m staying at the Park Plaza,” he said, as though to say “Don’t you know who I am?”

This reaction was in direct contrast to the man-of-the-people I thought he’d be from his writing, and told me he was actually more of a social striver who pretended to be about the ‘hood, for the street cred he’d need to become a Latino lapdog for the New Yorker. It is an assessment I stand by to this day.

Still, I thought he was a great writer.

I apologized for taking him to the mom and pop restaurant in Jamaica Plain. He said it was okay, and then leaned towards me and asked me to tell him about me. I told him I wanted to be a novelist and short story writer. I told him I wanted to move from journalism to books. He suggested he finish the interview at my apartment after his reading and signing, so he could look at my manuscript and give me feedback. I said okay.

Junot came over that night. I had the book out – it was the first 100 or so pages of what would later become THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB, called MERENGUE back then. Diaz sat too close to me on my couch. I remember being super uncomfortable, crossing my arms defensively, and him moving them, opening them, and his staring at my chest.

“Why are you doing that, you’re so lovely,” he said.

We were more or less the same age, and he wasn’t my teacher, but there was still a strange power dynamic. He was the NY literary writer, the darling of the New Yorker. I was a rising star in literary nonfiction, longing to enter his world. He told me, sincerely I thought, that he loved my writing, that no one was writing with my voice and it was much needed. He said he’d do what he could to help me get it to the right people when it was finished.

And then, he said I should have sex with him.

And I did.

Because I thought we were soul mates. Two bright rising star Latino writers. Similar politics. Similar styles. I told him this. He said he agreed. It was a lie.

I visited Diaz a couple of times after that, taking the train down to New York, thinking I had found a kindred spirit. But he quickly became misogynistic, demeaning and cruel. He also had a girlfriend he had never told me about and, once he did tell me, said wasn’t a big deal because he cheated on her all the time and she put up with it.

Side note, added May 6, 2018: The Washington Post and several other folks have grossly (intentionally?) misinterpreted what you just read, so I answered with a new post here: Clarification: I Did Not Fuck Junot to “Get Ahead” You Fucking Idiots. You’re welcome.

Once, Diaz even asked me to clean his disgusting kitchen before I left back to Boston, telling me his severe depression made it hard for him to pick up after himself.

There were literally hundreds of empty iced tea bottles on the counters and the floors. He had just told me about the girlfriend, and thought I would still want to clean his kitchen. When I asked him about this, he laughed and called out from his futon on the floor in his bedroom: “Sweetie, you can take the man out of the D.R., but you can’t take the Dominican out of the man.”

I left without touching his filthy kitchen, and never returned.

It was painful and upsetting. I had admired him, and thought he cared about me, but he was just using me for … I don’t know what for, honestly. Just using me. He had no intention of ever introducing me to anyone in publishing, and he never did.

I managed to write that novel on my own, and get it sold, after a five-publisher bidding war. It debuted on the NY Times bestseller list, and many people reached out to congratulate me. Diaz was never one of them.

When Diaz won the Pulitzer a few years later, I wrote to congratulate him.

He emailed back, saying I seemed to be doing well in my own right, that “lots of girls in my classes like your books.”

Girls.

Girls like my books. Girls in his classes like my books. Not the guys, of course, because he’d never, you know, tell anyone about my books. Just girls read me.

But the world – the WORLD – likes his books.

Of course.

I was pissed.

I was pissed that the New York literary establishment coddled this vindictive, woman-hating machista writer, allowed him a high profile, sanctimonious podium from which to present himself to the world as some sort of grand liberal with a bleeding heart for injustice, a profound voice we should all listen to.

I was also pissed off that the Pulitzer committee rewarded Diaz with a prize for a book that, in many ways, wasn’t that different from my own debut novel.

I was pissed because I knew the same committee would never even consider a “chica lit” book for the prize, no matter how well written, because my writing did not adhere enough to the “downtrodden immigrant” paradigm so beloved by white liberals. I wondered whether Diaz, with his ponderous headshots and highbrow writeups, had ever been told by another literary writer, as I was, that I, Alisa, was “everything that’s wrong with publishing today,” even though that writer had never read a single word I’d written. “How do you know I’m what’s wrong with publishing if you haven’t read me?” I asked. He scoffed. “I don’t have to. Look at the titles and the covers. Garbage.”

So that’s what I was. Though I had been nominated for the Pulitzer in features as a newspaper writer, as a novelist, in Diaz’s world, I had now somehow been downgraded to someone who clearly wrote garbage, for girls.

I was pissed, because I had known I wanted to be a writer when I was nine years old, and I did not pick my book covers.

I was named the nation’s top magazine essayist at age 28. My former agent, who had also been the head of the Collins division of HarperCollins, once told me I was the fastest writer he’d ever met; I could write an entire book in six days, and it was good. My first essay ever published was in an anthology that included Curtis Sittenfeld and Rebecca Walker; several reviews had said mine was the best of the bunch – but that was before candy colored stripes on my book jackets, and racy, albeit ironic, titles. I wasn’t a hack. I was a real writer. Period.

I was pissed, because none of my literary talent or accomplishments mattered to a literary community that shrugged off women, mocked commercial writers and ignored POC who did not write only about oppression – all of this, without ever reading them, yet celebrated sexist, lying creeps like Diaz.

Yes, I was angry.

Angry that Diaz had seen my talent but been threatened by it and used my hunger for kindred spirits to coerce me into fucking him; angry that the male-dominated, “literary” publishing world had no problem embracing his street-wise Latina characters, who sounded a lot like mine, but dismissed me without ever even reading a fucking word I wrote, because vagina, because pretty covers, because racy sexy titles, because Latinas who did NOT live in the fucking barrio.

My Latinas were ballsy, funny, sarcastic, independent, professionals – the kinds of women Diaz likes to take down, the kinds of women guilty white liberals think are “selling out” because they’re just enjoying their lives (“like white people,” apparently, tsk tsk) and not constantly being downtrodden; you know, PEOPLE, regular-ass people. Diaz’s Latinos were smart, but their smarts were always in bas-relief against the acceptable (even laudable) stereotypical miseries of immigration and the ghetto (where we belong, don’t ya know) with a sort of “golly gee, honey, who knew a barrio kid could be a well-read nerd – fascinating!” In my world, everyone knows that already; none of us are amused or surprised.

I wrote a blog post back then, saying the only difference between me and Diaz, as writers, was that he fit the (comforting?) white liberal stereotype of Latino other-ness and misery, and I didn’t.

I dared to say I was every bit as good a writer as he was (because I fucking am) but that because he was a guy and his ironic-barrio-brilliance books were “literary,” and I was a woman and my comedic friendship books were “commercial,” that he was welcome to dine (‘sup?) at the NY literary elite table and I…wasn’t wasn’t even invited to bus the tables.

Diaz didn’t like that post. He was deeply offended and angered, and needed to put me in my place.

Finally, Diaz wrote back. And it wasn’t nice. He said I was arrogant. He wasn’t the only one. Many Latinos who loved him, his readers, wrote to me to tell me I was a horrible person for bringing down “one of our own.” They wanted me to sit down and shut up, to stop making waves, to leave him alone, to stop being tan “envidiosa,” to not bring a brother down. So what that he treated me like shit. That was irrelevant. I was irrelevant.

Diaz promised to ruin me. And maybe he did.

Things got hard, then. The feedback was so terrible that I deleted my Twitter account and blog. I had 11,000 twitter followers then. It would be years before I had the guts to get back on Twitter at all.

Things were hard. Harder than they should have been. People posted about how “crazy” I was. Truly vile and abusive shit. I had become a writer in part because I am an introvert. I never wanted the attention to be on me as a person, only on my writing. But there I was, being dragged through the mud. I was named one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America by Time magazine because of my books, but still could never get a call back from the New Yorker, or the NY Times, when I pitched poems or stories or op-eds. Maybe it was Diaz. Or maybe it was something else. My vagina. My book covers. My lack of an MFA. My honesty. My unwillingness to write in a way that made white liberals feel sorry for me while admiring me.

Maybe it was me. I used to think it was me, because that’s what happens. I blamed myself. I took down that post. I apologized to Diaz. I begged him to be my friend again.

He ignored me, punishing.

Thank you, Zinzi, Carmen, Monica, for giving me the courage to know it wasn’t just me. Or me at all. It was him.

Me too, chicas.

Goddamn.

Me too.

(Note: here’s a followup post I wrote about this: ON CLOSED SKIN AND BROKEN GLASS.)

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126 thoughts on “I Tried to Warn You About Junot Diaz

  1. Hi Alisa.
    Love your take-down of Junot, he soundly deserves it.
    Junot plays to the cultural colonialist mindset of the predominant Anglo culture in publishing, which doesn’t take a Latinx writer seriously unless she or he lives and writes in and about the ghetto, and flashes the badge of oppressed minority, woe is me! I had the same experience as you when writing the follow up to my first novel, The Killing of the Saints, when several publishers turned it down, telling my agent that I wasn’t ghetto enough–just because my main character happened to be a Brown university graduate, Cuban-American attorney turned private investigator. If we don’t fit into preconceived ideas of what a minority should be, that is, if we’re fucking real, then we have a hard time getting published, heard–and believed. It’s as though the publishing world only wants us on our knees crying, Please, mister, have pity on me!
    Thanks for speaking out, I thought I was the only one!!
    Alex Abella

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    • Right? This is a topic I blogged about a lot in the past, around that same time, and MAN was I crucified for it. I will never forget the Chicanx studies professor, a woman, who yelled at me in front of her class, for not writing about “la causa” and oppression. She thought that by writing about Latinas who were dealing with careers and romance and family and universal themes that I “want to be white.” HUH?!? When you yourself come to believe that only “white” people get to be the default universal human, they’ve won. When you come to wear your own oppression as your only badge of identity, you cease to truly want that oppression overthrown, because if it were, you’d disappear. The struggle is real. Yes. But those of us who write about the spaces of life that happen in between the lines of struggle are not ignoring the struggle; we are celebrating the humanity of ourselves the celebration and liberation of which is ostensibly is the reason to have struggled in the first place.

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      • Well said.
        I’m a Latinx and I resent the expectation that I should have to write about my abuelita, frijoes, and the alleged ghetto I live in as opposed to to the same existential ideas that the white male intellectuals can write about. I’m as much of an intellectual as any of those guys and I want to write about the same issues they address. Please. Why can’t we write about the same universal struggles of the human condition? This is not about being “white,” it’s about being a true writer and artist.
        Jewish writers are a good example. Most of the writers that are Jewish don’t write specifically about “being Jewish.” You wouldn’t even know they are Jewish writers; they are writing about universal themes that are not specifically tied to being Jewish. Yes, some Jewish writers do write about Jewish life, religion, the holocaust, Israel etc, but not necessarily. And we shouldn’t have to either. We should have the freedom to write whatever we want, and not pander to racist stereotypes in order to get published.

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      • Absolutely. But the system has brilliantly been constructed so that a Latinx person who wants to write about anything other than dominant culture stereotypes of our perceived ethnicity gets smacked down not just by the dominant class establishment but also by Latinx leadership who have banked their entire existence on a negative (non-white, maginalized) identity that requires its own oppression. If you step away from identity politics and just write about human beings, you are seen by the dominant class as being “unrealistic” (even if it is a damn diary) and by the Latinx elite as “wanting to be white,” as if whiteness, one, existed and two, were a marker of universality.

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  2. Thank you.
    Your honestly, talent, guts, and intelligence are seen— and appreciated.
    I am *done* with men like this, who try to pull down every woman in their path. Especially men who think that they can get away with this behavior, and that the fantasy version of themselves that they present to the world will stand.
    It will not. They need to collectively and individually get it together.

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  3. Pingback: On Junot Diaz, Carmen Machado, and Monica Byrne – Eugene Fischer

    • Agreed. He has a diagnosed mental illness. So do I. I manage it. I do wonder, after reading some of these anecdotes others have had with him, whether he has BPD in addition to depression. Many men do, but are not diagnosed with it because some of the symptoms – such as extreme rage and impulsivity and an inability to handle criticism or rejection – are seen as stereotypically masculine traits.

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  4. I’m sorry you had to experience this. I was molested as a toddler. I wasn’t molested as a woman, partly because men never wanted to do anything with me. However, even as a sheltered, naive adult woman, I know better than to go back to a man’s house unless I wanted sex with him. How many times have I been molested or sexually assaulted as an adult woman? Zero.
    Also, by going the traditional publishing route, you have allowed yourself to be at the whim of publishers recommendations when it comes to book covers. Try self-publishing your stuff sometime. Check out Gloria Diaz and Janell Elizabeth Meyer. The last is the pen name I use for my erotic fiction. Sure, you’ve never heard of me, but I have had more than 135000 views of my work on a now-defunxt short fiction website. I designed my covers, and they turned out the way I wanted, because I didn’t have HarperCollins telling me otherwise. Yet, no one knows my name. Good luck to you in the future. Be smart. Don’t go to a guy’s house because he wants to look at your work. Oldest trick in the book. And you fell for it. If the guy is legit, he’ll be okay looking at your work in public, then maybe taking it home by himself for further evaluation. Men know they have the power to further a woman’s career by the old “hey, come back to my place so I can look over your work.” Don’t fall for it

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    • Thanks, Nick. Appreciate your kind words. I still think Diaz is a good writer. One needn’t be a good person to write well. Charles Dickens was kind of a pedophile, and he’s still one of the best writers of all time.

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  5. What Junot Diaz subjected the writer to is horrific, and it’s important she speak out. Less important: letting us know about the bidding war, the book deal, her need to let us know how great everybody thinks her writing is. Jesus Christ. Are there ANY writers in the world who won’t take an opportunity to brag? This was a chance to address the problem that Junot Diaz has always been, and yet that chance is used to yammer on about her accomplishments. I believe Junot Diaz is a misogynist and victimized this woman; I also believe her ego is as big as his. Obnoxious.

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  6. Ms. Valdes, I whole heartedly agree with you. Diaz can write for sure, but he is a phony and a misogynist. He pretends to be “of the people,” and the hood, but it’s all pretend in order to get the street creds for the New Yorker and his fan base. All those lectures and talks on Youtube, acting like he is Mr. Feminist, being all self rightneous about injustice and sexism when he is the such a misogynist, and a plain ol’ A-hole. And now his pre-emptive strike, acting like “he too” is a “METoo”, when he is the abuser. I hope his manipulation and attempt to turn himself into a victim doesn’t work. Let’s see. Thanks for the courage to speak out. (For years I had heard the rumors about Diaz).

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    • Thanks for your comment. People are complicated. I’m not sure it’s a situation where he can’t be both a victim and a victimizer. That happens a lot. I don’t know what his deal is.

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  7. Ego is ego is ego. One thing it is to live your life enjoying your creative process and sharing it to the World, and one thing it is to have an art career. We must stop measuring ourselves with patriarcal symbols: like winning a Pulitzer, accolades, fame, an article about you, a biography about you, being interviewed by the media, etc. I think it is time we, women, stop longing to be valued by patriarchal inventions. I am a woman artist, and when I was in my 30’s I became increasingly empty and depressed. My success in the art world was not making me happy. I decided to stop my art career, and became very seclusive. I was very criticized by my peers. They said I was boycotting my success just right when I was in the middle of a major breakthrough. At that time I was just following my inner voice without knowing if I was right or wrong. I just wanted to be happy again. I didn’t want competition, aggression, gossip, attacks, bullying, cynicism, and all the drama you find when you are in the middle of an art career. I was very disappointed with the ugliness art world, with my art career, with the intellectual circle. I concluded that was not the life I wanted. Two decades after, I don’t regret my decision. I finally realized that having an art career is less satisfying than doing your art without any expectation. I became free. I became happier. I do my art just because. I enjoy it more. I love to be alone. I love to be detached from the narcissism cultural and intellectual world. And surprisingly I am still active in the arts, and without any effort I influence many people and students. . I think being famous or distinguished or having access to elitist circles are all narcissist patriarcal inventions. You cannot be free within the same patriarcal narrative. You have to move away from that narrative and stop giving importance to it. It is not important. My favorite women artists now, are the least famous. They are the most powerful beings I have known. This power is different. It is not a narcissist type of power. It is anxiety free, and pain free. Now, whenever I read news about a man or woman who won this or that prize, I just laugh inside. I clearly see none of that is necessary. It is only a script. Your either believe it or not. What is important is the creative process itself and how you become a powerful awakened being throughout the years – and how you help people around you to grow with you. This planet doesn’t need more narcissists.

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    • Thank you for this beautiful comment. I couldn’t agree more. I had more or less done the same thing until this Diaz issue resurfaced. I am a practicing Buddhist. I am far more interested in baking and gardening and loving my pets and family and friends than in winning awards. I became exhausted for the same reasons you did. It is a patriarchal system. And an ego-driven one. I have written 3 novels, 2 screenplays and one TV pilot in the past year alone. I haven’t pushed to sell any of them. The process is the joy. I would love to still make a living at writing, but that ship seems perhaps to have sailed. And that’s okay. Buddhism taught me to value the moment. To not live in the past or the future, both being the realm of thought. I try, whenever possible, to not think at all. To BE. There is a higher level of existence, which is BEING. Creativity taps that place, that flow, when we are all part of the collective energy some call God. When creativity becomes stratified, commodified, when we begin to separate creative works out into marketing categories such as “commercial” or “literary” or “male” or “female” (yes, the US publishing industry segregates books by sex!) we lose the most beautiful thing about it. Ego has no place in creativity. I know I sound boastful in some of these posts, but truly I don’t have any attachment to these accomplishments anymore. I mention them only to contrast the way the establishments treated Diaz and the way they treated me. Double standards and zero-sum game mentality are the opposite of creativity. The ability to think in symbols, to create symbolic art, that is what makes us human. Diaz was nicer before the prizes, but still damaged and cruel. The accolades made him the worst version of himself. The struggles I’ve endured the past decade, while painful at times, I think have had the opposite effect, and softened me, made me kinder towards myself and others. Anyway. Thank you. I love what you had to say.

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  8. This piece certainly seems like you have an axe to grind. I don’t deny anything you wrote, as you were there and we were not- but just going on your writing- here are a couple of observations.
    1) You slept with him because you want a leg up in the writing community, right? Or you were star struck. The latter is not his fault, and the former sounds like you were using him for a stepping stone as much as he was using you for sex. Do you take no responsibility here?
    2) Your target demographic for your book was clearly women and girls, yes? So wouldn’t it make sense that the girls in his class loved your book while the boys might have never read it as it wasn’t targeted to them?
    The guy may be a misogynist, jerk, etc.
    But it certainly sounds like you were significantly impacted after he discarded you as just a side-piece. And you then adjusted your viewpoint and took everything he did and said as a slant towards you. Where he likely didn’t give you any thought at all… that Is until you wrote a scathing piece about him because you couldn’t let it go.
    Not saying you’re wrong in any of this- but I think your mindset and his were night and day and – according to your accounts in this peice (i.e.- one side of the story) – I don’t see anything he did that was wrong- outside of being an asshole guy. And if anything, you wanted to sleep with him just as much as he wanted to sleep with you. You just had aspirations of running away together on a white horse and he didn’t. I don’t see where you were wronged here…

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  9. I am FLOORED by this and not in the way you think. How in hell did he coerce you to have sex with him?? Per your words that you describe he told you to have sex & you did. And then you say there was a power dynamic even though you were the same age. Man, I am a survivor of brutal atrocities beginning from the age of 3 and while I am comforted that a lot of women’s stories of pain are being shared but a few of y’all are doing the most and that’s a real damn shame. You should have walked away and re-read this before printing.

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  10. This article only proves that Junot Diaz dislikes YOU and you happened to be a woman. No where have you proved that he is a misogynist. You were attracted to him for his writing talent and went to his room after that. He had sex entirely with your consent and did not rape you. How does that become coercion? Would you have gone to an ugly, immature, untalented writer to his hotel room and sleep with him? I think not. People sleeping without any emotional connection, cheating on their partners, ghosting and gas lighting is more common than you make it sound. And you don’t have to be a great writer to do that. Is that too hard to understand?

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  11. Pingback: The One Fun Thing about the Junot Diaz Sexual Harassment Allegations? Watching the Women Writers Network Come AliveThe Ladies Finger

  12. “He had no intention of ever introducing me to anyone in publishing, and he never did.” That’s shocking! You traded sex for contacts and didn’t get any! A gentlemen would have left a few names on the dresser. I mean, what are transactional relationships about anyway.

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  13. You say that you write serious novels, and complain about Diaz saying your books are only read by girls, yet you allow the thumbnail at the end to describe you as a “best selling author of commercial women’s fiction”.

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    • That is the publishing category for my books. Makes me sick. But That is how they categorize me. My novels are also used to teach identity politics in sociology courses at Brown University. 😀

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  14. Wow!! I just can say” don’t give up! you are a warrior. You are an empowered woman. I admire you so much!!! Thanks for sharing your story and bad time with this stupid and miserable guy Diaz. I’m a latin also. !What a shame!

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  15. Wait… let me make sure I understand. You got to met him in a professional capacity working as a journalist, and you decided to go home with him and have sex with him…your interview subject? Then went back to his place multiple times afterwards, admittedly hoping that a relationship with him would advance your career? Then became angry that he wasn’t a great guy or your soulmate, and now blame him for your troubles without any evidence (and in spite of your success as a writer)?
    Aren’t you guilty of trying to use him? I mean, you got to meet him as an opportunity you had because of your job, and you say you expected him to help you? And now you’re suggesting he “coerced” you – after things didn’t work out? And you’re shaming him 10 years later by sharing intimate details of your fling in hopes of further vilifying him?
    I respect you as a writer, and I’m sorry he was a jerk. But this is not a metoo story, and it’s a disservice to real victims when women claim that poor relationship decisions are equivalent to sexual assault or harassment.

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  16. Thank you for writing this, and I am so sorry you were punished for making an accurate assessment of a misogynist.
    The part of your essay that really hit me was the instance where you blamed yourself and assumed it was something you did that brought the onslaught of hate. We women are so quick to blame ourselves when our intuition points us the right direction. It’s this fear of…if we are right, then what? Will we believed?
    I remember reading Drown in my Caribbean Lit class and feeling so uncomfortable with this repugnant character, but trusted that my professor assigned to us a collection of stories that critiqued masculinity instead of just a confessional. But what was I going to do? Challenge the one Junot Diaz novel on the syllabus? Tell my Dominican professor my thoughts?
    I really wish I had challenged the inclusion of the book, especially now that I feel my professor was giving Junot wayyyy too much credit.
    Thank you for your bravery. I hope I can have the confidence to speak my mind and take on the literary world like you did.

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    • Thanks for your comments. I do think Junot is a talented writer. A great writer. But there are many great, talented writers. And being a great artist doesn’t give anyone license to mistreat people.

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  17. I believe you. You are powerful because you spoke in the silence. You weathered the storm of critique to be found justified and that is brave. Thank you for your voice. I have had too many not boyfriends like your experience.

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  18. so many straight men feel an unjustified sense of sexual entitlement. A woman’s body belongs only to herself, never to any man. Sex is not an entitlement or a right to be demanded, it is a gift, a privilege. No woman ever owes sex to any man she does not choose to give it to of her own free will. If Diaz’s behavior was tolerated all this time and covered up, then so many in the media are hypocrites for calling out the hatred of the “incels” who hate women and call for violence against them–extremists like them are easy to recognize and call out, but the real evil is always the socially acceptable, hidden one

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  19. #Metoo Sis! You’re not alone, those predators need someone gets them a good reminder that they’re a POS. In addition, the best revenge is to be successful. GO ON, SIS!!!

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  20. Go sis. My friend sent this to me immediately b/c we BEEN thinking this. I went to Junot for a listening mentorly shoulder in my racist MFA program. He was on his phone the whole time, was curt and dismissive and basically encouraged me to adapt. On my way out I mentioned that he was friends with my ex (another one in the elite brown brothers club) and his ENTIRE demeanor changed. I imagined he would be EXACTLY as you described him based on his “great writing” alone. I’m so sick of craft being used as an excuse for filthy men who can’t clean up their own shit and trample so many women in the process.

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    • Wow. I’m sorry that happened to you. Yes, he’s a sexist. Deeply and conflictedly so. Things need to change, but until we are allowed into the positions of power in academia, publishing and, more than either of those, the news media, none of it will budge. Hang in there.

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  21. Pingback: On Closed Skin and Broken Glass – tremenda manguita & other magnetisms

  22. I believe this, however, it does not make the power of his statement less real, or the f’ed-upness it produced in both him and you, i,e., I’ve been exploited and so have you. It’s not necessarily a reason to unite. You thought you could use sex to further your own career. That has never worked particularly well for women, in my personal opinion, and for it to work it is a good idea to have a contract before the sex, of whatever kind you wish, and a witness to that contract whom you can trust.

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    • Let me make one thing clear. I did not think I was exchanging sex for career help. I thought I had found a soulmate and was in love with someone who led me to believe he SAW me. It was DIAZ who saw it as the type of exchange you describe. He was offering “career help” and then seducing me…a thing he did to many women. I was very young and too naive to see that HE saw me and all women as THINGS to manipulate, use and lie to. I was a woman in love with a disgusting man who lied to me. When I dared stand up to this, he punished me severely. You misunderstood the whole thing.

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  23. Pingback: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz accused of sexual misconduct, misogynistic behavior | Olionews

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  26. I am glad to meet you, and disgusted this happened. It feels so familiar and it’s so believable.
    I would love to read your books. I’m a white liberal but I like funny stories about friends too. I don’t just want to hear sad immigrant stories so I can feel sorry/superior indulge in guilt. I read novels to empathize, and to recognize myself in others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice to meet you as well, and thank you for reading my work.

      I don’t actually believe in distinct human “races.” This has gotten me into a ton of trouble too. Race is a fabrication, a social construct unprovable in science. Racism is real, race is not.

      I apologize if my blanket “white liberal” statements were insensitive. I should have been clearer. There is a certain element in power in the publishing and media industries, “white” folks, some liberal, some not, who think the only “real” Latino is a downtrodden immigrant. If your work doesn’t adhere to that stereotype, you are accused of “wanting to be white” or “not representing your people.” The problem with this, of course, is that no one is telling white writers that unless they are writing about a trailer park existence in Appalachia they aren’t really writing a genuine white experience. I write what I know, and that’s why my books have found success. Most Latinos in the U.S. don’t speak Spanish, aren’t immigrants, aren’t exotic. But there is a powerful force at work in our culture that does not want people with names like mine to ever be granted status as “the default person,” because … well, people don’t like to share what they’ve got, especially power.

      I will never forget the Lifetime TV executive who told me my work wasn’t Latin enough, “because it reads like it’s about me and my friends.” Yup. Exactly. Because we are. We’re exactly like you and your friends. Shame on you for thinking we would somehow be different. That assumption of difference where none exists is the very root of prejudice, the very poison of colonialism.

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  28. Pingback: Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz facing allegations of sexual misconduct, misogyny | SmellGists

  29. Diaz treated a friend of mine pretty much the same way at Syracuse University… before he was a big shot. Could never bring myself to read his books. He was too much of a self centered asshold. I AM going to buy and read your books. Thanks.

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  31. All I can say is I’m so sorry for everything you went through and have been waiting for more books to come out. The Dirty Girls Social Club is so me and my friends and we ate it up. We need more writers like you Alisa! We need more women like you!

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    • Thank you. My publisher doesn’t even return my calls now. I doubt the industry will ever buy a book from me again. You’re only as good as the sales of your last book, and my last couple of novels tanked. I accept it. Nothing I can do about it. I’m moving on to another career that I also love, as owner of a small bakery. I still write constantly, but I don’t think any publisher will touch me.

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  32. Pingback: Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz facing allegations of sexual misconduct, misogyny – Esmond Station Community Radio

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  38. You are tough! And you have it all together- who needs him! You are bad assed and can really and have really surpassed him! You go now! Just an honest article that was so heartfelt! Thanks so much- that guy is a jerk!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Pingback: Junot Diaz withdraws from writers’ festival amid allegations of sexual misconduct, misogyny – 12312312312312

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