Women's Literary Group Criticizes 'Boston Review' for Junot Diaz Decision

June 8, 2018

VIDA: Women in Literary Arts on Thursday criticized the editors of Boston Review for their decision to maintain a relationship with Junot Diaz despite the recent harassment allegations against him. “The statement from the Boston Review reads like a template for rationalizing inaction, laying out point by point the logic our culture uses in its continued failure to prioritize the safety of women and non-binary people,” reads a statement from VIDA. “We fear Boston Review’s statement will silence women and non-binary writers, especially those of color, who may no longer feel safe submitting their writing, especially their fiction, to the Boston Review. What’s worse, if survivors want to be in the pages of the Boston Review, they will have to submit their fiction to a known abuser.” 

In recent weeks, and since Diaz revealed that he was the victim of child rape, a small group of female writers and scholars have publicly accused him of unwanted physical contact, sexual harassment and bullying behavior throughout his career. This week, Deborah Chasman and Joshua Cohen, Boston Review’s editors-in-chief, in an open letter said they’d reviewed the harassment allegations against Diaz and determined that they do "not have the kind of severity that animated” the Me Too movement. Diaz will remain the publication’s fiction editor.

“We know that some people will disagree with our decision,” Chasman and Cohen wrote. “Not everyone associated with Boston Review agrees with everything we say in this letter. That is how it should be. These are complex issues. Reasonable people -- who share our commitment to gender equality and are also fighting against biases in the publishing industry that marginalize women of color in particular -- will come to different conclusions.”

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