Famous children’s author Daniel Handler, who writes under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket, has been publicly accused by several women of making lewd and inappropriate comments at their expense.
The Pacific Standard published a long and in-depth piece Thursday featuring interviews with several of the women who have made these claims. One woman, a children’s author, said that after making Handler’s acquaintance at a children’s book festival in Rhode Island, he shouted “Are you a virgin too?” at her in a crowded lobby.
Allie Jane Bruce, a children’s librarian, accused Handler of making a joke about how he only had one testicle in front of second, third, and fourth graders.
The article repeatedly mentions an instance at the 2014 National Book Awards in which Handler made a racist comment while presenting the award for Young Children’s Literature to Jacqueline Woodson, a black author. Handler publicly apologized and donated a significant amount of money to a nonprofit advocating for diverse representation in children’s books in Woodson’s name. But according to those quoted in the article, Handler frequently makes sexist and racist comments toward female authors and authors of color.
Handler recently penned a New York Times op-ed in July in which he advocates for getting teenage boys to read more by giving them books about sex.
Handler is scheduled to give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree this spring at Wesleyan University. Among those slated to receive an honorary degree alongside him? Anita Hill, the woman who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual misconduct in the early 90s.
Handler has responded to the claims in a comment posted to the blog of Gwenda Bond, a children’s author.
“It’s come to my attention, far too late due to my own flaky logistics and lack of an internet life, that a number of women are coming forward to address remarks of mine, at various points in time, that have caused them hurt. It has never been my wish to insult any of my professional colleagues. I sincerely, if tardily, apologize.”
You can find the full statement here.
Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott