Staff of the Hachette Book Group walked out of their offices on Thursday to protest the company’s decision to publish the memoir of director and accused child molester Woody Allen.
Earlier this week, Allen’s son, reporter Ronan Farrow, issued a statement saying he would be cutting ties with the publisher, whose imprint Little, Brown and Company published Farrow’s book Catch and Kill in October 2019. Allen’s autobiography, Apropos of Nothing, is reportedly set to be published by Hachette’s imprint Grand Central Publishing on April 7.
“I was disappointed to learn through press reports that Hachette, my publisher, acquired Woody Allen’s memoir after other major publishers refused to do so and concealed the decision from me and its own employees while we were working on Catch and Kill — a book about how powerful men, including Woody Allen, avoid accountability from sexual abuse,” Farrow wrote.
Farrow added that Hachette did not fact-check Allen’s book, or reach out to Farrow’s sister Dylan, who has accused Allen of molesting her as a child, for comment. (Allen has denied the allegations against him.) Dylan issued her own statement on Tuesday as well, writing that Hachette’s decision to publish Allen’s book is “deeply upsetting to me personally and an utter betrayal of my brother.”
According to the Daily Beast, staff at Little, Brown and Company circulated a memo about the walkout saying they “stand with Ronan and Dylan Farrow and survivors of sexual assault.”
On Twitter, users began to voice their support of the walkout with the hashtags #HachetteWalkout and #LittleBrownWalkout.
While the walkout gained support online, employees are not sure that their action will change the minds of those in power. As one anonymous employee told Refinery29 their ideal outcome would be that Hachette “chooses to cut our losses and not publish the book. I am not optimistic that that is the choice they will make.”
“We respect and understand the perspective of our employees who have decided to express their concern over the publication of this book,” Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch said in an email statement to Vox. “We will engage our staff in a fuller discussion about this at the earliest opportunity.”
This post has been updated.