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Junot Díaz will stay on Pulitzer Board after review of misconduct allegations

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Author Junot Díaz reads his book, “Islandborn,” at the Reading by 9 Children’s stage during the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 21, 2018.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Junot Díaz will keep his spot on the Pulitzer Board after a review of public misconduct allegations made against the author by a Washington, D.C., law firm “did not find evidence warranting removal,” the board said in a news release Friday.

Zinzi Clemmons, a Los Angeles-based author and writer in residence at Occidental College, accused the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist earlier this year of forcibly kissing her when she was a 26-year old graduate student.

Two other writers, Monica Byrne and Carmen Maria Machado, also wrote about separate encounters they had with Díaz in which they said they had been on the receiving end of his angry outbursts.

The Pulitzer Board announced a review of the allegations made against Díaz six days after Clemmons’ first tweet. Díaz gave up his role as chairman but remained on the board.

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The board Friday said the law firm Williams & Connolly conducted the review over five months, interviewed “dozens of witnesses” and looked at hundreds of pages of documents as well as audiotapes.

The review did not find evidence “warranting removal” of Díaz, the board said in a news release, and Díaz will resume his full duties as a board member. His term expires in April 2019.

Díaz’s publicist did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night, but in a statement to the New York Times, Díaz said he “welcomed the Pulitzer’s independent investigation and was heartened by its thoroughness and determination to run down every detail.”

“I am grateful the investigation found the truth,” the statement said. “I look forward to returning to the Pulitzer’s important work.”

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Clemmons did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night.

Díaz had previously been cleared to continue teaching courses at MIT after an investigation in June.


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