I am pausing my normal activity of looking through literary news of the previous month to focus on a topic that has multiple Facebook threads buzzing. Several male writers have been accused of being creeps and criminals. Each topic below has saddened and sickened me, but I think these stories are worth reading and that the literary community show discuss how we may be empowering horrific behavior.
College Writing Professor Accused of Downloading Child Porn
Kirk Nesset, author of multiple books and a writing professor at Allegheny College, was accused by the FBI of downloading child pornography. In response, Nesset has resigned over the charges and you can check out some of the social media responses captured in an article by Michelle Dean on Gawker.
Alt Lit Icon Accused of Abuse and Statutory Rape
Novelist Tao Lin, has been accused of statutory rape and emotional abuse by his ex-partner E.R. Kennedy on Twitter. These tweets were collected on Tumblr and went viral. Lin responded to the allegations as having a “troubled relationship” on Facebook and in Emails to BuzzFeed News.
Alt Lit Editor Quits Public Writing Career After Rape Allegation
Writer Sophia Katz published an essay on Medium about alt-lit magazine editor she claims sexually abused her. Other women came forward to name the editor as Stephen Tully Dierks and give additional evidence that this wasn’t the first time he’d done something similar. Dierks responded by quitting his writing and editing career. The response on social media has been intense, including an open letter to the internet by Elizabeth Ellen where she defends Dierks. Other women writers have tried to put this incident in a broader perspective of how we turn a blind eye to physical assault by writers.