Hachette Employees Staged A Walkout In Protest Of Their Company Publishing Woody Allen’s Memoirs (UPDATE)
On Monday, publishing company Hachette Book Group made a really smart PR decision, and announced that, next month, they’d release Woody Allen’s memoirs, “Apropos of Nothing”. Woody’s been shopping that shit around the last couple years, and hearing a lot of “No, because you’re an accused child molester”. But Hachette got cartoon dollar-sign eyes, and agreed to publish it.
Obviously, people were pissed. Especially Ronan Farrow, whose recent book about bringing down powerful sexual predators, Catch and Kill, was ALSO published by Hachette. Both he and his sister, Dylan Farrow, released online statements expressing their feelings of betrayal. Ronan announced he was done with the publishing company, and encouraged them to do some actual fact checking on Woody’s book. Well, it looks like the employees of Hachette agreed, because yesterday they staged a walkout in protest.
The walkout was synchronized to coincide with a 3pm “town hall meeting” (I just got office PTSD shudders) that their CEO, Michael Pietsch, scheduled to discuss (read: defend) the company’s decision to publish Woody’s book. How long does it take to say “CASH”? After standing outside for an hour, the protesters went home. Noice.
Employees tweeted out pictures and this statement:
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
I spy many pissed off people who’d love to keep their jobs without embarrassingly mumbling “Hachette” whenever someone asks where they work. In an interview with Slate, an anonymous employee of Little, Brown, and Company (a division of Hachette) said that “everybody at the company felt betrayed”, and they want Hachette to cancel the memoirs:
We want the book to be canceled. It’s going to be expensive, but it’s the right thing to do. We want a public apology from the CEO. This has ruined a really amazing relationship that Little, Brown had with Ronan Farrow, who’s been in touch with us and sent us support. The least they can do is cancel the book.
The company released a bullshit business statement to the Hollywood Reporter:
“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”
Translation: “Blah blah blah big words no apology money money money!”
Dylan, who accused Woody of sexually abusing her as a child, tweeted her gratitude to the protesting employees:
— Dylan Farrow (@RealDylanFarrow) March 5, 2020
So what’s it gonna be, Hachette? Double down on sleeping with the devil and lose all respect? Or do the right thing and bleed some money? Sigh, this whole fiasco coulda been avoided if Woody weren’t so darn lovable! How could Hachette say no to that face?
UPDATE: And it worked. Hachette has dropped that mess.
“Hachette Book Group has decided that it will not publish Woody Allen’s memoir Apropos of Nothing, originally scheduled for sale in April 2020, and will return all rights to the author.
The decision to cancel Mr. Allen’s book was a difficult one. At HBG we take our relationships with authors very seriously, and do not cancel books lightly. We have published and will continue to publish many challenging books. As publishers, we make sure every day in our work that different voices and conflicting points of views can be heard. Also, as a company, we are committed to offering a stimulating, supportive and open work environment for all our staff. Over the past few days, HBG leadership had extensive conversations with our staff and others. After listening, we came to the conclusion that moving forward with publication would not be feasible for HBG.”