Brow Beat

Junot Díaz Steps Down as Pulitzer Chairman Following Abuse Allegations

Junot Diaz receives a Literature Award during the 29th Hispanic Heritage Awards at the Warner Theatre on September 22, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Junot Díaz receives a Literature Award during the 29th Hispanic Heritage Awards in 2016.
Leigh Vogel / Getty Images

Author Junot Díaz is the latest high-profile man accused of sexual misconduct, after fellow author Zinzi Clemmons alleged he cornered and “forcibly kiss[ed]” her when she was his graduate student at Columbia University. Clemmons also claims to be “far from” Díaz’s only victim. The author is now stepping down from his chairman role with the Pulitzer board while the board conducts an investigation. “Mr. Díaz said he welcomed the review and would cooperate fully with it,” the Pulitzer board said in a statement.

Clemmons confronted Díaz at a writers’ festival in Sydney last week, and then went public with her accusations against him on Twitter on May 4. These allegations prompted the Pulitzer board’s investigation. Díaz has been a part of the board since 2010, and will remain on although he has been asked to step down as chairman.

These accusations also prompted Díaz’s current employer, M.I.T., to open an investigation into his professorial conduct. They come on the heels of Díaz’s acclaimed New Yorker essay on childhood sexual abuse.