Following a sexual harassment scandal that has embroiled the children's sector of the publishing industry for the past week, James Dashner has been dropped by his publisher. Dashner, author of the bestselling Maze Runner series, was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior.
"Random House Children’s Books, Random House Publishing Group, and Penguin Random House Audio will not be publishing any future books by James Dashner," Penguin Random House said in a statement.
The move follows Dashner's release by literary agent Michael W. Bourret, of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. "I couldn't in good conscience continue working with James, and I let him go yesterday," Bourret said in a statement to the Associated Press on Wednesday.
Dashner, for his part, apologized in a statement on Twitter on Thursday.
"Some of the things said about me have been shocking and my initial instinct was to be defensive," Dashner wrote. "But I also have thought about how numerous women now have come forward as part of a vital movement to lead a discussion about sexual harassment and discrimination in the publishing industry. And I have talked with friends deeply immersed in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement. I believe all victims must be heard, and I'm committed to listening to them. I've taken these past few days for introspection, to see if I've been part of the problem. I think that I have. I didn't fully understand boundaries and power dynamics."
Myke Cole, a science fiction author who was named in the comments section of a January 3 School Library Journal article—where a number of primarily children's authors, including Dashner and Jay Asher, were accused of sexual misconduct—responded to allegations in a lengthy post on his blog on Wednesday. Cole apologized for making "unwelcome advances in professional settings" and pledged a $500 donation to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.
"I do not want to make excuses or give explanations," Cole wrote. "All I want to do is offer an apology. To anyone I have ever made uncomfortable, or question their safety, I am so sorry. The thought that anyone wouldn’t feel safe around me is a kick in the teeth, but it’s one that I’ve earned."
This story has been updated with further information.