Staffers at multiple imprints of Hachette Book Group walked out of the publisher’s U.S. offices on Thursday in protest of the company’s decision to publish a new memoir by Woody Allen.
Multiple sources told The Daily Beast that some employees at the publishing house have been furious with Hachette imprint Grand Central Publishing’s decision to release the book despite allegations that Allen molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow (allegations he has denied).
The walkout came after Dylan’s brother Ronan Farrow—whose best-selling book Catch and Kill was published by Hachette imprint Little, Brown and Company last year—publicly lashed out at the company over its decision to publish his father’s autobiography, titled Apropos of Nothing and reportedly due out April 7. The publishing giant defended its decision saying that its various imprints all have editorial independence.
Staff at Little, Brown and Company on Thursday circulated a memo about the walkout, saying employees of the imprint “stand with Ronan and Dylan Farrow and survivors of sexual assault.”
In response to the protest, Hachette said in a statement: “We respect and understand the perspective of our employees who have decided to express their concern over the publication of this book. We will engage our staff in a fuller discussion about this at the earliest opportunity.”
In an email earlier this week, addressed to Michael Pietsch, the chief executive of Hachette, Farrow blasted his publisher for secretly planning to publish Allen’s book all while editing Farrow's book, which at times explicitly dealt with his family history, including a section where the reporter recalled his sister’s decision to go public with the molestation claims.
“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.
The publisher has billed the book as “a comprehensive account of [Allen’s] life, both personal and professional,” including “his relationship with family, friends and the loves of his life.”
“Obviously I can’t in good conscience work with you any more,” Farrow concluded. “Imagine this were your sister.”