Hachette Book Group confirmed to The Associated Press yesterday (March 11) that it will not publish the paperback edition of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” in April as planned. The AP reports that the publisher decided to delay the release indefinitely on the suggestion of its author, Sherman Alexie, who stands accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. The hardcover edition was released last June.
“We were surprised and troubled to hear the allegations that have recently emerged, and are concerned about the distress this situation has caused so many,” Hachette officials said in a statement to The AP. “We’re encouraged that Sherman Alexie has apologized to those he has hurt and has dedicated himself, as he’s said, to becoming ‘a healthier man who makes healthier decisions.’”
The statement from Hachette quotes part of another statement that Alexie, one of the best known Indigenous authors in the United States, made to address a growing number of then-anonymous allegations against him in late February.
“There are women telling the truth about my behavior and I have no recollection of physically or verbally threatening anyone or their careers,” Alexie wrote. “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.”
Alexie released his response to the allegations when they included few details about the extent of his behavior. That changed on March 5, when NPR published accounts from several women who say Alexie abused his prominence in the Native American and children’s literature communities by making unsolicited sexual advances in professional settings. Accusers include Indigenous authors like Erika Wurth and Elissa Washuta, who both said that they feared career retaliation for speaking out.
Alexie has not publicly addressed the specific allegations from the NPR story. Meanwhile, the American Library Association told The Associated Press on March 9 that Alexie declined to accept its Carnegie Medal for “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” The association did not confirm if he declined the award in anticipation of backlash.