Dominican American writer Junot Diaz has stepped down as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize board after multiple women made allegations of sexual misconduct against him. The board said on Thursday it had authorised an independent review of the allegations against Diaz.
The 49-year-old will remain on the board, though not as chairman. He has “welcomed the review” and said he would “cooperate fully” with it, the board said.
Diaz was elected chairman in April on the basis of seniority. Eugene Robinson, his predecessor, will take over the role on an interim basis.
Author Zinzi Clemmons had alleged on Twitter last week that Diaz had forcibly kissed her several years ago. “I’m far from the only one he’s done this to,” she had written. “I refuse to be silent any more.”
Other female writers also shared their encounters with Diaz on social media, AP reported.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Diaz is a professor, is also investigating the allegations. The Cambridge Public Library on Wednesday cancelled its annual Summer Reading Kick-Off on May 16, as it was to feature Diaz.
Diaz was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. In April, he wrote an article in The New Yorker, saying he had been raped when he was eight years old.