Academics protest 'media harassment' against Junot Diaz

FILE - This Oct. 17, 2008, file photo shows novelist Junot Diaz during a book presentation in New York. Diaz is facing allegations of sexual misconduct from a fellow author. Zinzi Clemmons, author of "What We Lose," tweeted Friday, May 4, 2018, that the Pulitzer Prize winner forcibly kissed her while she was a graduate student. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, file)

NEW YORK — Author Rebecca Walker and some two dozen educators from Harvard, Stanford and other schools are protesting what they call a "media-harassment campaign" against Junot Diaz.

In a letter to the editor published on Monday on the website of The Chronicle of Higher Education, the signatories cited "at times uncritical" coverage of sexual misconduct against the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. Diaz has said he accepts responsibility for his behavior.

In Monday's letter, Walker and others say they don't dismiss the allegations, but worry about a "sensationalist" portrait of the author, one that reinforces stereotypes of blacks and Latinos as sexual predators. They also contend that the discussion rules out such external factors as racism and colonialism and how they affect "the most intimate spaces."

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