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The first time, a former Globe reporter's warning about Junot Diaz was dismissed

Now a novelist, in 1996, Alisa Valdes was a writer for the Living section of the Globe when Junot Diaz's "Drown" collection of short stories came out. When he came up to Boston, she interviewed him and they began a relationship even though he expressed disgust when she took him to a Dominican restaurant in JP rather than a fancy place downtown.

It was a very one-sided relationship that that showed just what a misogynist he is, and which ended after she visited him in New York, Valdes wrote yesterday.

Once, Diaz even asked me to clean his disgusting kitchen before I left back to Boston, telling me his severe depression made it hard for him to pick up after himself.

There were literally hundreds of empty iced tea bottles on the counters and the floors. He had just told me about the girlfriend, and thought I would still want to clean his kitchen. When I asked him about this, he laughed and called out from his futon on the floor in his bedroom: “Sweetie, you can take the man out of the D.R., but you can’t take the Dominican out of the man.”

The thing is, Valdes wrote about all this before, after she had left the Globe and become a best-selling author on her own:

I publicly said Diaz was a misogynist opportunistic liar more than ten years ago, after he mistreated me, and I was severely punished for it - by Diaz, and by the publishing and Latino communities.

This time, things are different:

Thank you, Zinzi, Carmen, Monica, for giving me the courage to know it wasn’t just me. Or me at all. It was him.

Me too, chicas.

Goddamn.

Me too.

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loses me.

I can’t deny he is a brilliant writer. I’ve read some of his stuff more than once. I had hoped the uneasy feeling I got from reading some his work was just that, something I was supposed to feel but not indicative of his character.

Ugh!

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Being shitty boyfriend doesn’t = predator, serial sexual harrasser unless there are examples which this story definitely doesn't provide.
A boyfriend asking his gal to clean his kitchen because he is a lazy dirty bugger is not a criminal offense. Maybe just offensive and a reason to not date him.

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The "I Tried To Warn You" mentions that he was snooty about restaurants, cheated on his actual girlfriend with the writer and others, and asked the writer to clean his kitchen in sexist way when he was seriously depressed.

Then she wrote a public article about what a jerk she thought he was.

Unless there was some other offense of his, before she wrote an article trashing him, I'm not surprised that people objected, and didn't want to do business with her.

If what she says is true, which I could easily believe, I wouldn't want to do business with either of them.

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These were women assigned to work with him and writers in their own right.

Not girlfriends, at least not initially.

Your "but she called him out on what he did so she's bad too" reeks of "snitches get stitches". Is that how you were raised?

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  1. Reporter interviews famous writer.
  2. Reporter notices writer was a jerk about the restaurant, but is still charmed, and writer is asking about her, and saying he could help her, and somehow a reporter doesn't see what everyone else would, or perhaps she does, and also wants to have sex with this charming famous writer.
  3. Reporter promptly takes interviewee writer home with her, and has sex with him.
  4. Reporter has some kind of sexual relationship with the writer, though unclear when she learned she was the other woman, and whether she continued after.
  5. One time, writer asked reporter to clean his kitchen.
  6. Eventually, they break up.
  7. Reporter writes an article about how writer is a jerk who has sex with reporters who are charmed by him.
  8. People disagree with reporter's decision to publicly attack the writer, even if he was a bad boyfriend.
  9. Publishers may have looked at this and decided that reporter is not very smart or professional, even if they also think the writer is a womanizing jerk.
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She was a journalist, not fresh off the boat from Iowa, in the big city for the first time, never heard of a jerk guy telling a girl whatever she wanted to hear to get her into bed.

Where I'm from, journalists don't usually write articles about how their ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends were jerks.

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Isn't great art, terrific literature more important that how much a writer uses people? Isn't it more important to project an image of a solid, good guy so that the masses will love you (and buy your books)? Imagine if a person, let's say a political candidate, actually truthfully stated who he hated, who he would use and who he would dump in the ocean?

Creepy thing is that knowing a man is a misogynistic snob or that the presidential candidate is just a few steps and some government balance from being one of the more horrible wretches on the Earth is no impediment to seeing either as wonderful people. All comes down to what they do for the people who like them. If their fans want them to talk about treating women as servants or a president who believes that black skinned human beings are sub-human then that's what is given.

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When do women get to grow up and speak for themselves, then?

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I think some people are missing the point here. He treated women with whom he had a professional relationship like they were his objects or servants. That he went on to have personal relationships with some of them is beside the point.

He is misusing his power as an influential and ground-breaking writer to misuse women. This can often make or break whether a woman is able to advance in her given profession.

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Using other people helps you get the high positions, at universities, in corporations, and in government.

Why would people who got there with the boost of using others, suddenly stop using others.

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Would be a great start.

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If you think he is a great author and you enjoyed his work, then he is a great author. What he did in his spare time is irrelevant, much the same way that I could care less about the background of the guy (or gal) who picked my strawberries as long as they are sweet and ripe.

The ability of someone to recount some mildly shitty behavior that someone may or may not have done many years ago, that is probably impossible to prove whether it is true or not - and for that information to be able to ruin lives is the real scandal here. This metoo shit has turned into a modern day salem witch trial.

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I loved Mein Kampf!

So what if the author slaughtered millions? He really knew how to write a page turner, amirite?

And your dismissal of the MeToo movement? I'll let that speak for itself.

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Mein Kampf was a lousy book.

Now, Richard Wagner's operas, OTOH ... my father loved them, which for a Brooklyn-born Jew was just Not Right.

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I have to disagree! It was barn burner of a book from a real firebrand!!

Look at it's influence on today's Republican Party!

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Am I the only person disgusted that this so-called journalist had sex with the man whose book she was about the review -- on the night she met him? And she's' calling him out on bad behavior.
Come on!!!

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Yes. You are, in fact, the only person.

Why don't you just speak for yourself and not try to enlist others? Are you afraid to say what you think unless you have a mass of people marching in step with you?

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Being swiped left constantly seems to have had an effect on your judgment of other people’s morals. Good luck with that.

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It's not a good idea to have sex with journalists interviewing you, or sex with people you're interviewing, and maybe the Globe had guidelines about fraternization and objectivity, but it happens.

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The Globe has very strict guidelines about what reporters can and cannot do on interviews. Alisa Valdes grossly violated those guidelines when she chose to have sex with her subject. That is a massive violation of journalistic ethics.
You all can blast me all you want -- but what she did is very, very wrong.

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And I'm impressed that so many people are concerned that reporters Do the Right Thing - even to the point of ignoring the entire rest of her essay.

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I am an Old White Guy. I have a Ph.D. In English. I have taught the canon. I went to Rutgers. I was proud that my university was admitting talented, first generation college students like Diaz. "Oscar Rao" was and is a brilliant book, a ground breaker like "Catcher in the Rye" and "A Portrait of the the Artist as a Young Man."

But I don't buy the idea that we have to cut a lot of moral slack to talented people. Morally, Junot Diaz is no different from Donald Trump.

Praise the writing. Don't excuse the lwriter.

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