’13 Reasons Why’ Author Jay Asher Responds to Sexual Harassment Claims

Beth Dubber/Netflix
Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford in 13 Reasons Why

UPDATE: As of February 14, 2018, Jay Asher’s spokesperson Tamera Taylor has since released a statement on his behalf:

“The SCBWI’s recent statement about author Jay Asher is completely false. There was no allegation, investigation or finding of sexual harassment.

In April 2017, Mr. Asher voluntarily agreed that he would no longer attend SCBWI conferences. This was in response to hurt feelings of a group of authors with whom he had consensual relationships that ended poorly.

Mr. Asher was not banned by the SCBWI. In fact, when he let his membership in the group lapse last summer, Lin Oliver, the group’s executive director, suggested that he keep his membership going. He did as requested, and Mr. Asher’s membership is active today.

These women were not subordinates of Mr. Asher; they were his peers and they each entered into romantic relationships with him voluntarily, with some initially pursuing him.

Mr. Asher was married at the time of these relationships, as were many of the women. He is deeply sorry for the pain these consensual decisions caused his family, and others.

The false statements to the news media have resulted in inaccurate and hurtful news coverage, which is threatening Mr. Asher’s livelihood.   Mr. Asher has retained legal counsel and is demanding SCBWI and Lin Oliver promptly retract the false and defamatory statements they made.”

ORIGINAL STORY: Last March, 13 Reasons Why made waves when it premiered on Netflix. The series—focusing on a teenage girl named Hannah (Katherine Langford) and the tapes she made before her suicide—became a national phenomenon, causing both controversy and conversation.

Now, the show is making headlines again, but this time, it’s for the sexual harassment claims being made against author Jay Asher. The public is now learning that the writer, who penned he show’s primary source material, Thirteen Reasons Why, was kicked out of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators late last year for breaking their code of conduct.

Asher and another author were banned from the group based on these allegations, though no specific details have been released. On Mandy, Asher released a statement to Buzzfeed addressing the accusations, stating that he’s been “thrown under the bus.”

“It’s very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth,” he continued. “I feel very conflicted about it just because of what’s going on in the culture and who’s supposed to be believed and who’s not.”

Though he was banned from the organization last year, this is all coming to light now in part due to the #MeToo movement. It also doesn’t help that some of the subjects Asher tackles in his novel are bullying, harassment, and even rape.

Jay Asher with 13 Reasons Why stars Katherine Langford and Dylan Minnette

Of course, these claims have yet to effect the popular Netflix show: 13 Reasons Why is expected to return sometime in 2018, with Katherine Langford returning as Hannah.

Time will tell if the claims against Asher will have any impact on the second season.

13 Reasons Why, streaming now, Netflix