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.”
Also Thursday, the Storymakers Conference, an annual writing conference in Provo scheduled for May, announced that Dashner has stepped down as emcee of its awards ceremony. Dashner had been attending the event since it began in 2005, four years before his best-selling dystopian novel “The Maze Runner” was published.
The LDStorymakers Guild, the group that puts on the conference, also posted on the event’s website a new non-discrimination and non-harassment policy. It provides a list of behaviors considered harassment, and urges people who feel at risk “should immediately locate the nearest mentor or committee member” to report the behavior.
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.
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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.”
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