The #MeToo movement continues to spread into the world of young adult and children’s fiction — fast.
Most recently it’s led to The Maze Runner author James Dashner being dropped by his literary agent, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Dashner was one of multiple authors accused of inappropriate behavior and harassment by various anonymous sources on an online comment thread.
“I couldn’t in good conscience continue working with James, and I let him go yesterday,” said the agent, Michael W. Bourret.
This comes almost simultaneously with the fall of Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why, who was also part of the writers room for the first season of the hit Netflix series based on his book. The allegations for both authors originated from a comment thread on an article titled “Children’s Publishing Reckons with Sexual Harassment in Its Ranks” in School Library Journal, a magazine that also publishes online.
James Dashner is only one of the many authors in children’s literature accused
Image: Fred Hayes/Getty Images for Allied
“One of the stories [in the article] sounded almost identical to mine. My harasser was James Dashner. He preys on female debut authors. Beware. Beware. Beware,” said one commenter.
None of the anonymous accusations on the thread have been verified or confirmed.
Another alleged a pattern of manipulation:
It entailed months of manipulation, grooming and gaslighting. He offered to be my “mentor” using praise and flattery of my writing, and promises to use his connections to help elevate my career to the level of his. But it was all a bait and switch. When I made it clear that I was not going to give him what he wanted in return, our “mentorship” relationship ended. It took me a long time to realize that every move he made was carefully calculated. He has his manipulation down to a science. I realize now that I was not the first to fall for his tricks, and I was not the last. I feel deeply sorry for everyone who fell for his manipulations after me. I’ve tried to nudge others and warn on the so-called “whisper network” but I have always worried that talking about it publicly would harm my career or family. Even typing this is making me sweat buckets. Thanks for listening.
And several were on the same lines as this concise comment: “I have been harassed by James Dashner as well.”
The Associated Press wrote that Dashner’s publishing company, Random House, “did not immediately respond to requests for comment.” But, as they note, they are still currently scheduled to publish another Dashner book, The Waking.