A group of Hachette Book Group employees staged a sudden and dramatic walkout on Thursday in protest of the company’s plans to publish an autobiography by Woody Allen, NPR reports.
The employees were unhappy with Hachette’s decision to work with Allen, the author and filmmaker whose adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, has accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was seven years old.
Hachette is also the publisher of Catch and Kill, a book by Dylan Farrow’s brother, Ronan Farrow, about powerful men, including Allen, who get away with sexual assault. Ronan Farrow cut ties with Hachette after the publisher announced Allen’s book deal.
NPR reports that dozens of employees participated in the walkout; according to a Hachette employee interviewed by the New York Times, the number of protesters was more than 100. Some of the employees who walked out set up out-of-office reply emails that stated, “We stand in solidarity with Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow, and survivors of sexual assault.”
Slate interviewed an unnamed Hachette publicist, who said, “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.”
Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch has defended the company’s decision to publish Allen’s book, telling the Times on Tuesday, “Grand Central Publishing believes strongly that there’s a large audience that wants to hear the story of Woody Allen’s life as told by Woody Allen himself.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.