Hachette Book Group employees staged a walkout of its New York City offices on Thursday in protest against the company’s decision to publish Woody Allen’s memoir, The Hill reports.
Grand Central, a Hachette imprint, announced this week it would publish the Hollywood director’s Apropos of Nothing on 7 April, which Grand Central quietly acquired a year ago. The walkout came after Ronan Farrow, whose book “Catch and Kill” was published by a Hachette imprint, publicly blasted the company, the Daily Beast reported.
Farrow’s sister Dylan, Allen’s adopted daughter, has accused Allen of sexually assaulting her, which Allen has repeatedly denied, and never charged after two separate intensive investigations in the 1990s. Farrow has backed his sister’s allegations.
“Your policy of editorial independence among your imprints does not relieve you of your moral and professional obligations as the publisher of ‘Catch and Kill,’ and as the leader of a company being asked to assist in efforts by abusive men to whitewash their crimes,” Farrow said in an email to Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch, according to the publication.
“Obviously I can’t in good conscience work with you any more,” Farrow added. “Imagine this were your sister.”
Staff at the imprint that published “Catch and Kill,” Little, Brown and Co., circulated a memo about the walkout Thursday, saying staffers would “stand with Ronan and Dylan Farrow and survivors of sexual assault.”
“I’ve encouraged Hachette, out of respect for its readers, authors and reputation, to conduct a thorough fact check of Woody Allen’s account, in particular any claim that implies my sister is not telling the truth,” Farrow said in a statement.
“I’ve also told Hachette that a publisher that would conduct itself in this way is one I can’t work with in good conscience,” he added.
Hey, just wanted to share my thoughts on some recent news: pic.twitter.com/ovPczgx8pB
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) March 4, 2020
His mother, Mia Farrow, said in statement that that Hachette’s decision to publish her former partner’s memoir “provides yet another example of the profound privilege that power, money and notoriety affords.
“Hachette’s utter complicity in this should be called out for what it is and they should have to answer for it.”
Others in the publishing industry have come in support of the walkout. Unionized employees at HarperCollins sent out a tweet soon after Hachette staff walked out: “We stand in solidarity with Hachette workers. Collective action is how we hold the powerful accountable.”