Sherman Alexie, a prominent Pacific Northwest Native American novelist who grew up on the Spokane reservation, appears to be the next powerful man to face a wave of sexual harassment accusations.
And the Native literary community is speaking out against Alexie before they hit.
Debbie Reese, editor of the American Indians in Children's Literature, wrote an open letter on her blog explaining her decision to remove Alexie's photo from the AICL's gallery of Native writers and illustrators.
She cited "private conversations" about allegations "including abuse, threats, and humiliation," and could no longer feature his work on AICL. Twitter conversations also show NPR and other large news outlets are working on the next #MeToo story, featuring Alexie:
If Sherman Alexie sexually harassed you, made unwanted advances, threatened you, or harmed you in any way, as noted in my previous tweets, you're one of dozens of women. The number continues to rise hourly.— Litsa Dremousis (@LitsaDremousis) February 24, 2018
Many ethical, smart, compassionate reporters are working on this story.
Hello, all.— Litsa Dremousis (@LitsaDremousis) February 25, 2018
I'm recapping some info re the #ShermanAlexie sexual harassment story, both b/c I'll be offline a few hrs b/c I'm still in the middle of moving &, more importantly, b/c 11 media outlets have now contacted me.
It seems useful to all to recap:
Litsa Dremousis said she's not writing this story (she was good friends with Alexie for 15 years) but is directing women to her colleagues at NPR. She said based on the credible allegations of dozens of women who have now contacted her, Alexie appears to have targeted Native women.
Alexie rose to prominence in the 1990s as a short story writer, poet, novelist, and filmmaker and won the 2007 National Book Award for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Thunder Boy Jr.
In her open letter, Reese points out another aspect of Alexie's writing she found problematic, that it catered to the mainstream audience rather than provide a deep understanding to Native culture and history.
For decades, Native writers and leaders have been frustrated with their lack of visibility. Now, it seems, Alexie hurt chances for other Native writers to succeed in the literary world rather than help them grow, Reese wrote.
"In the first few years of AICL, I promoted Alexie's work, but that tapered off as I saw how little he did to help other Native writers," she wrote. "To all of you who he has hurt, I apologize. I have no doubt that every time you saw his name mentioned here, it added to the weight you already carry. I'm sorry."