Oí hablar de esta historia años atrás, en boca de una persona relacionada con Walcott a través de un familiar. Comentaba que la situación era confusa. Yo lo dejo ahí. En aquellos años, otro amigo, discípulo de Walcott en EEUU, se quejaba de que en España no querían pagar el millón de pesetas por conferencia que era el caché de Walcott. “¡Nadie cobra esas cantidades aquí!”, respondí yo, escandalizada. “¡Es un Nobel”, protestaba él. Para mis adentros, yo pensaba, “Chico, pues tráelo con tu dinero, que eres millonario”. El contrapunto al divismo de los escritores consagrados hoy es, compruebo, degradarlos, siempre en la imagen sexual. Donde más duele.
Oxford University’s new professor of poetry was told to resign last night after it emerged she had told journalists about sexual allegations against her main rival prior to her election.
Ruth Padel previously claimed she had never mentioned Nobel laureate Derek Walcott’s harassment record and denied being part of “any closed-doors operation” to smear him.
Walcott withdrew after a dossier detailing sexual harassment claims made against him by a Harvard student in 1982 was sent anonymously to 200 Oxford academics in the wake of press reports on the allegations. Last night Padel was forced to admit she did alert two journalists on where to find the sexual harassment claims.
In the emails, which were sent in April, Padel wrote: “Some [of my] supporters add that what he does for students can be found in a book called The Lecherous Professor, reporting one of his two recorded cases of sexual harassment and that [Barack] Obama is rumoured to have turned him down for his inauguration poem because of the sexual record. But I don’t think that’s fair.”
An article appeared in the Independent referring to the allegations. Padel told the Sunday Times she knew nothing of any anonymous mailings and would not have wished for the Independent article to be published.
“I was contacted by an Oxford student, who believed Mr Walcott’s relations with female students at universities was relevant to her university’s election of a professor,” she said. “Because her concern seemed to be a part of the whole picture, I communicated it to two journalists.”
A university spokeswoman said: “There can be no official investigation as there is no official complaint. If there is, it would need to be discussed with the vice-chancellor.”