In the time that we live, where we have technology and information available at our fingertips, I think it is of the upmost importance to check things out before purchasing them. See a car for sell from Alex Jones for $400 on Craigslist? Check him out and find out he’s done bad sales before. See a boombox on Amazon for $40? Check the seller and see that he’s stolen credit card info and is wanted by the law. But when we go to a bookstore do we have to check the authors out before purchasing their books? Unfortunately, yes that reality now exists. It’s not on the fault of our part as the reader, but on the fault of the authors. There are some authors, no matter how terrific and wonderful and life changing their work is, that have done some terrible things.
At the height of the #metoo movement a lot of people came forward with a lot of allegations against authors. There were some articles published by Anne Ursu titled Medium Article and by the School Library Journal titled Children’s Publishing Reckons with Sexual Harassment in Its Ranks. The allegations (and comments listed and detailed in both articles) paint a terrifying picture of some well known and well liked authors. Authors listed in the articles were Jay Asher (author of 13 Reasons Why), James Dashner (author of the Maze Runner series), Sherman Alexie (author of Diary of a Part Time Indian), Stephen Pastis (creator of Pearls Before Swine), Richard Paul Evans (author of Michael Vey series), Tristina Wright (author of 27 Hours), Chris Howard (author of Rootless), Tim Wayne Jones (author of Blink & Caution), and more. All of the allegations are detailed in this blog post.
The allegations surrounding the subject of my post, Matt de la Pena if you’ve forgotten, are that:
“Accusation 1: “I wonder if any of Matt de la Pena’s students have weighed in. A friend took a writing class with him and recounted several tales of transactional sexual relationships with his students and creepy behavior.”
Accusation 2: “I didn’t respond to Anne’s survey but Matt de la Pena is someone to steer clear of.”
Accusation 3: “Matt de la Peña. You are powerful and respected in this industry, you should be ashamed of the way you speak to and treat female students. Your business is how we write, not how we look. Among several inappropriate comments, you minimized me down to my appearance in a moment of my education that I worked hard for, that should have been one of my proudest. You made me feel small and objectified. I resent it. I am not shocked to see that I am not the only student you abused your power over.””
The most striking to me at the time of this blog post is the inclusion of Matt de la Pena. When I read the article about a year ago I remembered his name from somewhere, but I couldn’t be sure where. It was only when I did a quick Google search and I found that this was the author set to publish the superman book for the DC Icons series. I was devastated and decided right then and there that I couldn’t buy the book and support this author.
While I want to read the book, I can’t in good conscience do that. I can’t give money, no matter how little, to a man who allegedly sexually harassed people. I don’t stand for that, I wouldn’t want my husband, my parents, my kids, or my family and friends to say or do those things he’s accused of and I don’t want to support someone who thinks language like that is okay. So this is my reason for not buying his book. I might check it out at the local library later, but honestly my opinion of the book is clouded by this event. I stand with the victims through and through.