America has a long tradition of bestselling American Indian authors, some of whom even turn out to be somewhat American Indian by ancestry on closer inspection.
March 5, 2018 3:44 PM ET
Heard on All Things Considered
Writer Sherman Alexie last week issued a statement admitting he “has harmed” others, after rumors and allegations began to circulate about sexual harassment. Without providing details, Alexie said “there are women telling the truth,” and he apologized to the people he has hurt. Now, some of those women have come forward to speak to NPR about their experiences with him.
Granted, if you told me Sherman Alexie was Jay Leno’s long-lost brother, I’d probably believe you too. But that’s not the point …
Alexie may not be a household name, but he is one of the country’s best known Native American poets and writers, with a charismatic personality and a large following. He won the National Book Award in 2007 for his young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, and he wrote the screenplay for the film Smoke Signals, based on one of his stories. So the news about him has rocked the worlds of both Native American and children’s literature.
In those circles, “well, he’s a rock star,” says children’s book author Anne Ursu. …
Granted, being a rock star in affirmative action children’s lit is not quite the same as being a rock star in music, but some of the rewards are evidently the same:
Ursu says some of the most popular kids book writers used the power of their celebrity to seduce women. …
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.
In other words, Mr. Alexie really wasn’t going to divorce Mrs. Alexie like little Miss Homewrecker had gotten her hopes up about.
How come when they keep coming for the next one, he usually turns out to be some member of the Coalition of the Fringes? We were promised Haven Monahan and the Stanford swimmer dude that everybody hates, but we keep getting Harvey Weinstein and some guy who is at least more American Indian than Senator Warren.
Here’s the trailer for the 1998 movie Smoke Signals that Alexie adapated from his book of that name. Several commenters have said it’s pretty good: