Maze Runner author says he'll 'seek counseling' following misconduct claims
Maze Runner author James Dashner issued a lengthy response on social media Thursday in response to recent accusations made against him. Admitting he’s “part of the problem” that sparked the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, Dashner said he’ll “seek counseling and guidance” to address the accusations.
“I have spent the recent days reexamining my actions and searching my soul,” Dashner said in a statement posted to his official Twitter account. “Some of the things said about me have been shocking and my initial instinct was to be defensive. But I also have thought about how numerous women nowhere come forward as part of a vital movement to lead a discussion about sexual harassment and discrimination in the publishing industry. And I have talked with friends deeply immersed in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement.
“I believe all victims must be heard, and I’m committed to listening to them,” he continued. “I’ve taken these past few days for introspection, to see if I’ve been part of the problem. I think that I have. I didn’t honor or fully understand boundaries and power dynamics. I can sincerely say that I have never intentionally hurt another person. But to those affected, I am so deeply sorry. I am taking any and all criticism and accusations very seriously, and I will seek counseling and guidance to address them. Thank you for listening.”
Michael W. Bourret, Dashner’s now-former literary agent, dropped the writer as a client earlier in the week following these misconduct claims. In a statement provided to the Associated Press, Bourret said he could no longer represent Dashner “under the circumstances.”
“I couldn’t in good conscience continue working with James, and I let him go yesterday,” he added.
The allegations stem from an article published on Jan. 3 by The School Library Journal about sexual harassment in children’s book publishing. Among the comments section, four anonymous posters said they had been harassed by Dashner and two others said they named Dashner in a piece on Medium by Anne Ursu, who had launched a survey about harassment among members of the children’s publishing world. Two additional anonymous posters defended Dashner, saying the claims are “fake,” and one other anonymous commenter said she had previously claimed she was harassed by Dashner, but retracted the claim, writing, “I made it up.”
Neither Dashner, Bourret, nor Dasher’s publisher, Random House, have responded to EW’s request for further comment and clarification.
13 Reasons Why author Jay Asher was also named in the same comments thread on SLJ, and which led to Lin Oliver, the executive director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, to comment herself, claiming Asher and another author had been “expelled” from the organization following an investigation. A spokesperson for Asher released a statement on Wednesday calling Oliver’s statement “completely false,” saying “there was no allegation, investigation or finding of sexual harassment,” and noting that the author’s membership in the SCBWI was still active. The spokesperson also confirmed to the AP on Wednesday that Asher was “no longer working with the Andrea Brown agency,” adding that “he respects and understands their position, given the current climate.”
Twentieth Century Fox had already released Maze Runner: The Death Cure — the final film based on Dashner’s YA novels — in January as the allegations were coming to the forefront. Random House announced in September plans to release Dashner’s first adult novel, The Waking.