After days of circulating discussions, Sherman Alexie, a prominent Pacific Northwest novelist from the Spokane reservation, has responded to rumors that he would soon face sexual harassment allegations from dozens of women.
Alexie issued a statement Wednesday with a mixed message—an apology to "women telling the truth about my behavior" and the people he's hurt, and another accusing the reporter who first tweeted about allegations, Litsa Dremousis, of leading "accusations, insinuations, and outright falsehoods" against him.
"Over the years, I have done things that have harmed other people, including those I love most deeply," Alexie wrote. "To those whom I have hurt, I genuinely apologize. I am so sorry."
"There are women telling the truth about my behavior and I have no recollection of physically or verbally threatening anybody or their careers. That would be completely out of character. I have made poor decisions and I am working hard to become a healthier man who makes healthier decisions.
Again, I apologize to the people I have hurt. I am genuinely sorry."
Rumors about sexual harassment allegations began on social media days earlier when Dremousis tweeted that she was referring dozens of women to her NPR colleagues for a story.
Days later, Native lit leader Debbie Reese also referred to "private conversations" she's had in an open letter and said she would no longer promote Alexie's work.
No story has been published yet, but the rumors were enough to prompt a university scholarship named after Sherman Alexie to be renamed. The Institute of American Indian Arts distanced themselves and told Santa Fe New Mexican that officials didn't want women to be deterred from the aid.
Alexie said he had a consensual sexual relationship with Dremousis that ended in 2015—one Dremousis confirmed—and accused Dremousis of telling his wife of the affair and posting on his wife's Facebook. (Read the full statement published by The Seattle Times here.)
Dremousis denied having ever contacted his wife through Facebook.
"A man I confronted four months ago about his sexual harassment of women finally issued a statement wherein he doesn't deny it," Dremousis wrote on social media. "That's all I'll say for now."
Her full statement here: