jay asher 13 reasons allegations
Jay Asher, pictured on the set of “13 Reasons Why” Season 1, has been banned from a writing organization after sexual harassment claims. Beth Dubber/Netflix

Before “13 Reasons Why” was a hit Netflix series, it was the debut novel written by Jay Asher, and now the author is under fire for sexual harassment, the same issue his book is based around.

It was revealed on Monday that Asher was kicked out of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators last year when claims were made against him via an email to the group’s director.

Lin Oliver, the executive director of the organization, confirmed the news to BuzzFeed, explaining that Asher violated their harassment code. He was forced out of the society after claims against him came to light.

“After we investigated, we felt that terminating his membership was the proper course of action,” she told the outlet. “We have always been really sensitive to sexual harassment issues and have a zero tolerance policy, but clearly our policies haven’t prevented violations, so we’re taking this opportunity to take another look at our guidelines.”

Though Asher has been gone from the group for a while now, the revelation of his absence only comes after anonymous comments were posted on a School Library Journal article in the midst of the #MeToo movement.

Despite the director confirming that Asher was booted from the society, he told BuzzFeed that he left on his own.

“It’s very scary when you know people are just not going to believe you once you open your mouth,” Asher said. “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.”

The author, who’s been married to wife Joan Marie since 2002, explained that he understands the situation the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is in because of their guidelines and the current state of the industry. That said, he maintains that he left on his own accord, even though Oliver said the email she was sent of allegations against him “contained nothing that their organization should have anything to do with.”

He continued: “The truth is that I had been harassed by these people [who wrote the email] for close to 10 years and I just could not deal with it anymore.”

On Wednesday, Tamara Taylor, a spokesperson for Asher, released the following statement regarding the allegations.

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.