The Weinstein Books imprint is being shut down, following a week of sexual assault allegations against the film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
In a statement to staff issued on Thursday, Hachette Book Group said it had “terminated” the imprint. A joint venture between the Weinstein Company and the Hachette-owned publisher Perseus, Weinstein Books released around 10 books a year, with titles ranging from books by media personalities to film tie-ins. It was run by two women: editorial director Amanda Murray and publishing director Georgina Levitt.
In the future, Hachette said that Weinstein titles would be published by its Hachette Books imprint, with the Weinstein staff moving to the same branch of the organisation.
The move follows a New York Times story revealing accusations of sexual assault and rape against Weinstein, dating back decades. Another three women, in a New Yorker article, accused Weinstein of rape, while actors including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have accused him of sexual harassment. A spokesperson for the film producer has said that he “unequivocally” denies “any allegations of non-consensual sex”, and that “with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual”. Since the story was made public, Weinstein has been fired by the eponymous company he co-founded with his brother, Bob.
A spokesperson for Hachette told the Wall Street Journal that “given recent developments, we think a name change is in the best interests of our authors”.
Earlier this week, US TV news anchor Mika Brzezinski issued a statement saying that she would not be participating in a three-book deal Hachette until such time that he is no long associated with the company … We must all stand united against the mistreatment of women, even at our personal expense.”
Brzezinski later said that “there was no way I could write another book or rerelease Knowing Your Value – a book about women, money, and communicating your value effectively in the workplace – at a company where the top guy was Harvey Weinstein”.
But she praised Levitt and Murray, calling them “wonderful partners” and that she hoped to work with them.
The Weinstein Books Facebook account also shared a letter from one of its authors, the comedian Iliza Shlesinger, whose collection of essays, Girl Logic, will be released on 7 November. Shlesinger said that a big part of why she chose to publish with Weinstein Books was because it was “an all-female imprint that has, frankly, published many works about female empowerment written by strong women”.
Shlesinger condemned Weinstein’s “deplorable” behaviour, but said that she was not able to “vilify a company of women who have been supportive of me … I’ve never met Harvey, I’ve only met Amanda Murray and Georgina Levitt who have been part of the life of this book from concept to print. If I distanced myself from the women who helped me or, God forbid, didn’t celebrate my book, then it would be another example of a man harassing women and then women paying the price for it. I am proud of this book and the women who helped me.”
On Twitter, Weinstein Books also retweeted a comment from another of its authors, Fox News presenter Melissa Francis. Francis wrote that: “I have confidence Georgina Levitt can carry on w/ success-Many more predators out there in news & Hollywood.”