December 8, 2017
A PRH art director has resigned after artist and writer Charlyne Yi accused him of sexual harrassment
by Simon Reichley
As Jim Milliot reports at Publishers Weekly, Giuseppe Castellano, an art director at Penguin Workshop, resigned this week after artist and writer Charlyne Yi published on Twitter allegations that Castellano had sexually harrassed her during a meeting in early November. In a series of Tweets, Yi claimed that she’d met with Castellano at a bar to discuss the possibility of working on a book at some point in the future. While there, Castellano began a conversation about the unrelenting torrent of shit that has overwhelmed media over the last few months, professed to be an ally, and then, after waking Yi back to her hotel, insistently suggested that they have sex.
In response to Yi’s accusations (which she forwarded to Penguin Random House’s HR department before going public), Castellano wrote a lengthy blog post in which he strenuously denied any wrongdoing, called Yi’s account of the evening “fabricated,” and claimed that the pressures of the accusations, and the social media furor that erupted in their aftermath, had made continuing to work at PRH “untenable.”
It’s a pretty remarkable document. Castellano is strident in his denial and more than a little agressive towards his accuser. He calls Yi’s claims “strained and contorted,” “absurd,” “defamatory and false,” and low-key suggests that she was too drunk to be a reliable narrator of the evening: “We both drank too much and shared deeply personal stories.”
Unfortunately for Castellano, Yi appears to have kept her receipts. After the blog post was published, Yi took to Twitter again, posting screencaps of the email exchanges between her and Castellano that seem pretty clearly to demonstrate he was lying about the events in question:
Here you go: correspondence about business, your email asking me to get a drink after I asked for a response on my book, my response to you gaslighting me after you suggested having an affair several times, then you admitting it. May you never abuse your power or harm another. pic.twitter.com/PtW73DszHs
— Charlyne Yi (@charlyne_yi) December 4, 2017
This isn’t the first time this year that Yi has made a high-profile accusations of bad behavior. She called out David Cross earlier in the year, describing a seriously unpleasant, racist exchange with the comedian, which he also denied had happened as she described it. No receipts have been forth coming there, but Yi’s credibility seems to have been vindicated, at least in this instance.
Simon Reichley is the Director of Operations and Rights Manager at Melville House.