Entertainment

Junot Díaz Steps Down as Pulitzer Chairman Amid Review of Misconduct Allegations

Posted May 10, 2018 9:51 p.m. EDT

The Pulitzer Prize board has opened an independent review of sexual misconduct allegations against award-winning novelist Junot Díaz, who is stepping down as chairman, the board said Thursday.

“Mr. Díaz said he welcomed the review and would cooperate fully with it,” the Pulitzer board said in a statement.

Díaz, who joined the board in 2010, was elevated to chairman last month, according to the organization. It said that Díaz asked to relinquish his role and that he would remain a part of the body.

Last week writer Zinzi Clemmons confronted Díaz at a writers festival in Sydney, Australia, asking him why he had treated her the way he had six years earlier, when she was a graduate student at Columbia University. Hours later, Clemmons accused Díaz on Twitter of having forcibly kissed her when she was 26.

Since Clemmons’ accusation, MIT, where Díaz is a writing professor, has begun looking into allegations of sexual misconduct, according to The Associated Press.

The board’s most recent previous chairman, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, has resumed the role on an interim basis. Like Díaz, who is himself a Pulitzer Prize winner for his best-selling first novel, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” Robinson was elected to the board in 2010.

Others on the board include Stephen Engelberg, editor-in-chief of ProPublica; Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University; and Nancy Barnes, editor of The Houston Chronicle.

The body’s most high-profile duty is presiding over the judging process by which Pulitzer Prizes are awarded to the year’s best works of reporting, photography, fiction, history, poetry, music and drama.

Neither Díaz nor his agent immediately responded to emailed requests for comment.