Eight of 11 board members of International Thriller Writers resigned their positions yesterday after what many members of the organization felt was a mishandling of allegations of sexual harassment between members. The paid executive director also resigned.
After complaints were made to the ITW executive as well as police, ITW released a statement naming the victim without mentioning the name of the accused. Response from the membership was rapid, with many members of the 5000-strong organization demanding the resignation of the board.
From USA Today:
Because only two members remain, co-presidents Heather Graham and John Lescroart, the board lacks a quorum as required in its bylaws to name any successors, beyond interim executive director Kimberley Howe, who replaces the departing Liz Perry. An 11th board member, author E.A. Aymar, stepped down earlier this month.
The ITW has more than 4,000 members worldwide.
“Over the coming weeks, Ms. Howe will be managing the process of establishing a Nominating Committee to recruit and fill the vacant seats on the Board of Directors,” the board announced.
This has not been an easy year for Writers Organizations in the US. Again from USA Today:
The implosion of the ITW board mirrors upheavals this year at the Romance Writers of America, the Poetry Foundation and the National Book Critics Circle, all of which have had predominantly white leadership and have promised to diversify their organizations.
At time of writing, it is not clear what the future might hold for ITW, especially in a year when the global pandemic has forced the organization’s annual conference, Thrillerfest, to adopt a virtual format.
In an official release, ITW outlined a loose plan:
… the Board approved the appointment of Kimberley Howe to serve as Interim Executive Director, pending the vote of the newly elected Board of Directors. Over the coming weeks, Ms. Howe will be managing the process of establishing a Nominating Committee to recruit and fill the vacant seats on the Board of Directors. Ms. Howe strongly encourages any and all members with suggestions for that process to contact her at email@example.com. ◊