In early May, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz was accused of sexual assault and misconduct. Author Zinzi Clemmons wrote a tweet where she said Díaz tried to corner and forcibly kiss her while she was a graduate student.
As a grad student, I invited Junot Diaz to speak to a workshop on issues of representation in literature. I was an unknown wide-eyed 26 yo, and he used it as an opportunity to corner and forcibly kiss me. I’m far from the only one he’s done this 2, I refuse to be silent anymore.
— zinziclemmons (@zinziclemmons) May 4, 2018
Since Clemmons’ allegation, several other women have come forward with stories of Díaz mistreating them. Over the past month, a wide array of articles and blog posts have also been written in reaction to these allegations, some in support of the women, others in defense of Junot Díaz.
To many young Dominican-Americans and Latinos in the literary world, Díaz was a hero—someone that represented them and their stories. Latino USA’s Digital Media Editor Amanda Alcantara is one of those Dominican-Americans who saw herself impacted by Díaz work.
So, after the allegations came out, she set off on a journey of introspection to figure out how she should feel about Díaz and his work: a journey that included heartfelt conversations, deleted tweets and even a mysterious anonymous email.
In this episode of Latino USA, Amanda spoke to three people about the allegations against Díaz: Marianella Belliard, who shared her own story of an experience with Díaz; Aya de Leon, a writer and professor whose blog post “Reconciling Rage and Compassion: the Unfolding #MeToo Moment for Junot Diaz” on Díaz got a lot of traction online; and writer and poet Alejandro Heredia, who has been deeply touched by Díaz’s work as a young writer.
Featured Illustration by Charles Michelet.