Author Sherman Alexie has issued a statement in response to the misconduct allegations which have been made against him by author Litsa Dremousis.
“Over the years, I have done things that have harmed other people, including those I love most deeply,” Alexie wrote. “To those whom I have hurt, I genuinely apologize. I am so sorry.”
On Feb. 23, Dremousis tweeted that “over 20 women” had anonymously come forward alleging harassment against Alexie. She encouraged people to speak with reporters about their alleged experiences, saying that what people told her about Alexie’s behavior amounted to “truly awful s–t.” The claims have remained vague, though Dremousis has insinuated that Alexie allegedly threatened women’s careers and intimidated them. “He was good to so many of us & absolutely monstrous to others,” she later tweeted. “And as someone told me, he knew exactly whom to target.” (She later clarified, alleging Alexie targeted Native American writers.)
The allegations made by Dremousis came in the wake of anonymous claims against Alexie appearing in the comments section of a School Library Journal article about harassment in children’s publishing; Thirteen Reasons Why author Jay Asher was among those mentioned, and he’s gone on the record denying any harassment.
Alexie strongly denied Dremousis’ allegations in the statement. “I reject the accusations, insinuations, and outright falsehoods made by Litsa Dremousis, who has led the charges against me,” he wrote, before claiming that the two had a prior sexual relationship which Dremousis has declined to disclose. He also claimed that after they ended their affair, Dremousis sent “food” to his house last year despite Alexie’s public struggles with “emotional trauma” at the time, and that in October, she sent an email to his wife informing her of their relationship, and two weeks later posted a “frightening” follow-up Facebook message.
In a statement provided to EW, Dremousis said she told friends and family at the time of her affair with Alexie, but that she kept it from others out of fear he’d use it to “discredit” her. She said she never wrote on Alexie’s wife’s Facebook, adding, “I don’t even know if she has a Facebook page.” “When I confronted him four months ago, he didn’t reply,” Dremousis’ statement continues. “Instead, he immediately took down contact information for all of his agents and his assistant from his web site. Shortly thereafter, he took down his Facebook fan page.”
Her statement concluded, “A man I confronted four months ago about his sexual harassment of women finally issued a statement wherein he doesn’t deny it.”
Alexie has admitted that there is some truth to the allegations being made against him. “There are women telling the truth about my behavior and I have no recollection of physically or verbally threatening anybody or their careers,” he also said in his statement. “That would be completely out of character. I have made poor decisions and I am working hard to become a healthier man who makes healthier decisions.”
A groundbreaking Native American writer, Alexie is best known for his 1993 book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven as well as his 2017 memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. He canceled the tour for the memoir, attributing the reason to the “emotional toll” that promoting the book was taking on him. (In the book, he explores his relationship with his late mother, whom he’s described as “cruel” and “cold.”)
Alexie concluded his statement, “I am genuinely sorry.” You can read it in full, first published by The Seattle Times, here.