Lynn Neary at NPR published a report this afternoon accusing Seattle author Sherman Alexie of sexually harassing female authors. This report is especially noteworthy because it's the first in recent days to actually include the named testimonies of three women.
In the report, Seattle author Jeanine Walker, Erika Wurth, and former Seattle author Elissa Washuta each recalled personal experiences with Alexie. The particulars vary from story to story, but taken in aggregate they paint a portrait of Alexie as someone who abuses his high standing in the literary community to make aggressive sexual advances on emerging women writers.
In all, ten women spoke to NPR about Alexie — who is a married man. Most of the women wanted to remain anonymous, but a clear pattern emerged: The women reported behavior ranging from inappropriate comments both in private and in public, to flirting that veered suddenly into sexual territory, unwanted sexual advances and consensual sexual relations that ended abruptly. The women said Alexie had traded on his literary celebrity to lure them into uncomfortable sexual situations.
We're continuing to watch as other reporters publish their findings on this situation. We'll have more to say soon.