Massey Abuse Update

In November 2017 an anonymous letter was sent to Joseph Massey’s publishers detailing his alleged harassment of several women. In January 2018, the letter was published and widely circulated, in response to which numerous women came forward on social media and privately to his publishers and employers to say that they had also been harassed and, in several cases, sexually and emotionally abused by him. By one victim’s count, 30 women and a few men have now detailed various forms of abuse, slander, manipulation, blackmail, sexual harassment, revenge porn and bullying.

Since the letter was published, Massey has admitted on his public Facebook page to a sexual assault on a woman, to a physical assault on a man, and to being “wildly inappropriate” in the past. He repeatedly suggests that former alcohol abuse is to blame for his predation and mistreatment of women, a claim that has been refuted by a number of his victims, who affirm that alcohol had little or nothing to do with his behavior. He also suggests that all of his transgressions are well in the past, which, according to several accounts by recent victims, does not appear to be the case.

Since January, Massey has been dismissed by his academic and poetry employers and several of his presses have indicated that they will never work with him again. Wesleyan University Press, which is slated to publish his next book of poetry, has been quiet on the situation. In the meantime, he continues to “friend” and to try to engage new women on the internet daily, and a wider knowledge of his abuses is now necessary.

To view the anonymous letter, click here: The Poet Joseph Massey Is an Abuser