Just days after Hachette Book Group announced a forthcoming memoir by Woody Allen, staff at Little, Brown and Co. staged a walkout in protest of the book and in support of its vocal critics, Ronan and Dylan Farrow. Employees from the imprints Basic, Orbit, Forever and Hachette Books also walked out.
On Thursday, staff members announced they were walking out of the Hachette New York offices in protest of Allen’s autobiography, scheduled to publish April 7. A Times staff member who had emailed the Hachette imprint received an autoreply informing her of the walkout with the message: “We stand with Ronan and Dylan Farrow and survivors of sexual assault.”
According to an account in the New York Post, members of the staff went to the Human Resources department of Hachette on Thursday afternoon to lodge a complaint, prompting CEO Michael Pietsch to announce a town hall meeting. Instead, a broad swath of the editorial staff staged the walkout.
In an email statement to The Times, Hachette said: “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.”
On Twitter, the hashtag #LittleBrownWalkout quickly picked up steam, with many in the publishing world expressing their support.
75 plus employees of Hachette are standing in solidarity with @ronanfarrow, @realdylanfarrow and survivors of sexual assault and walked out of the Hachette offices today in protest of Woody Allen’s memoir. #HachetteWalkout #LittleBrownWalkout pic.twitter.com/wTNi3c7gy8— Kendra Barkoff Lamy (@kabarkoff) March 5, 2020
Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, announced Monday that Allen’s memoir, “Apropos of Nothing,” will be released next month. The book had been rumored for years and was thought unpublishable in the #MeToo era, but the publishing company quietly acquired it a year ago.
Soon after the announcement, Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, who has accused her father of sexually molesting her when she was a child, published a statement calling the upcoming memoir “deeply unsettling” and claiming it wasn’t fact checked.
The next day, her journalist brother Ronan Farrow threatened to cut ties with Hachette, whose Little, Brown imprint published his 2019 bestselling book “Catch and Kill.” In that book, Farrow writes about the challenges he faced reporting on sexual assault allegations against the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
“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,’” the journalist said in a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday. “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.”