Utah author James Dashner has issued an apology “to those affected” after being accused of sexual harassment.
“I’ve taken these past few days for introspection, to see if I’ve been part of the problem. I think that I have,” Dashner said in a statement Thursday posted to his Twitter account. “I didn’t honor or fully understand boundaries and power dynamics. I can sincerely say that I have never intentionally hurt another person. To those affected, I am so deeply sorry.”
Dashner’s statement came after he was dropped by his literary agent Tuesday, after Dashner was named in the comments of a School Library Journal article about sexual harassment in the children’s literature industry.
Anonymous commenters said Dashner attempted to form inappropriate relationships with debut authors, initially in the guise of offering mentorship.
Provo’s annual Storymakers Conference — a three-day event of writing workshops, classes and networking — announced Thursday that Dashner has stepped down as emcee of its awards ceremony “in light of the allegations.”
The LDStorymakers Guild, the group that puts on the conference, also pointed out that it has a new non-discrimination and non-harassment policy.
The policy provides a list of behaviors considered harassment, and says that people who feel at risk “should immediately locate the nearest mentor or committee member” and report the behavior.
“We are dedicated to creating a safe environment for all attendees,” 2018 conference chairwoman Jolene Perry wrote on Facebook.
Perry declined to comment further to the Tribune.
Dashner had been attending the Storymakers event since it began in 2005, four years before his best-selling dystopian novel “The Maze Runner” was published.
The site contains a prior quote from Dashner: “It’s been one of the highlights of my career to have been involved with this conference from the very beginning. Without the slightest doubt, it’s the single biggest factor that led to my success, because of the things I learned, and the people I met.”
Dashner’s “Maze Runner” books became best-sellers and the basis for a movie series — with the third and final movie, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” being released last month.
The statement reads in full:
“I have spent the recent days reexamining my actions and searching my soul. 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 now have 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. 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 criticisms and accusations very seriously, and I will seek counseling and guidance to address them. Thank you for listening.”