Employees of the publisher behind the New York Times bestselling book "Catch and Kill" staged a walkout on Thursday as the book giant proceeds with the release of a memoir from director Woody Allen.
Hachette Book Group published the Ronan Farrow-penned exposé on convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, accused sexual predator Matt Lauer, and a major coverup by NBC News. So when Farrow learned that his publisher was moving forward with a memoir written by his estranged father, who had been accused by his sister Dylan Farrow of molestation, he vowed to sever ties.
“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 for sexual abuse,” Farrow said in a statement posted on his social media accounts.
At least 75 employees were seen walking out of the Hatchette office to express solidarity with the Farrow siblings.
"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," Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch said in a statement to Fox News.
Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, announced Monday that Allen’s book is called “Apropos of Nothing” and will be released April 7.
“Hachette did not fact check the Woody Allen book. My sister Dylan has never been contacted to respond to any denial or mischaracterization of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Woody Allen – a credible allegation, maintained for almost three decades, backed up by contemporaneous accounts and evidence,” Farrow continued. “It’s wildly unprofessional in multiple obvious directions for Hachette to behave this way.”
A rep for Allen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Farrow, son of actress Mia Farrow and Allen, has long sided with his mother and siblings amid a series of accusations against the filmmaker. He said the publisher’s actions show “a lack of ethics and compassion for victims of sexual abuse” and called for the company to meticulously examine Allen’s claims.
“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. ”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.”
The “Manhattan” director was accused of molesting his adopted daughter, Dylan, when she was 7. She recounted the allegations in a 2014 essay for The New York Times, as well as in an interview with "CBS This Morning" in 2018. Allen has denied the accusations.
Ronan Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein and other men accused of sexual misconduct has been widely praised. NBC News famously refused to air his explosive reporting on the now-convicted sex offender Weinstein, but The New Yorker jumped at the opportunity to publish the story and won the Pulitzer Prize. “Catch and Kill” details Farrow’s theories on why NBC passed on the report.
Back in May, The New York Times reported that Allen “quietly tried to sell a memoir” but was “met with indifference or hard passes” amid the #MeToo movement changing the way accusations are treated.
“With his career all but derailed by resurfaced allegations that he molested his daughter Dylan Farrow nearly three decades ago — allegations that Allen denies and that have left Americans unsure whom to believe — the prospect of publishing his memoir seems to hold little appeal,” the Times wrote. “Some publishing executives used the word ‘toxic’ when describing the challenges of working with Allen in the current environment, noting that while he remains a significant cultural figure, the commercial risks of releasing a memoir by him were too daunting.”
It seems Hachette decided the risks are worth the potential reward, but Dylan called the upcoming release “deeply upsetting” in a statement late Monday.
“Hachette’s publishing of Woody Allen’s memoir is deeply upsetting to me personally and an utter betrayal of my brother, whose brave reporting, capitalized on by Hachette, gave voice to numerous survivors of sexual assault by powerful men," Dylan Farrow said
Fox News' Brian Flood, Kathleen Joyce and The Associated Press contributed to this report.