Three weeks after actress and comedian Charlyne Yi charged an art director at Penguin Random House with sexual harassment via Twitter, he has resigned. Giuseppe Castellano, executive art director of the Penguin Young Readers imprint Penguin Workshop, issued a statement on his personal blog about his decision, citing the incident with Yi as the cause. In the statement he maintained his innocence, saying that Yi's story is "false" and that he denies "every accusation made by her.”
In her initial tweets about the encounter with Castellano, Yi said he approached her about getting together at a local bar to discuss the possibility of her doing a book. After some conversation in which Castellano said he was appalled by the recent revelations about men using their power to sexually harass women, Yi said, it became apparent to her that he was one of the “untrustworthy creeps” he was talking about.
After leaving the bar together, Castellano, Yi claimed, became more assertive. When the pair arrived at her hotel, she said he tried to convince her to invite him up to her room. While Yi did ultimately turn him away, she said she emailed him a few days after the encounter to express how disturbed she was by what had taken place. In her account, Castellano cast what had happened as humorous and offered to meet her at a coffee shop to apologize. Feeling unsafe about another meeting with him, Yi said, she declined.
In his statement on his personal blog about the encounter, Castellano said Yi's description of the evening they shared was “fabricated."
In his version of events, Yi invited him out for drinks, but there was no mention of discussing a book. Castellano admitted that the pair drank too much and “shared deeply personal stories,” with both of them using coarse language during the encounter. He claims that he tried to assure her that what he said was intended as platonic. Castellano, who is married, acknowledged being “star struck" by Yi, who has appeared in movies and TV shows (like the Fox drama House), but said he was "in no way trying to flirt with her or entice her into anything.”
Yi decried Castellano's portrayal of the events in a Twitter thread following the release of his statement.
In a statement from PRH, the company said that as soon as it learned of the matter it conducted an internal investigation, and then hired an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation. The statement continued: "These two investigations have concluded. In the end, it became clear to [Castellano] that his presence at the company had the potential to impact the day to day workings of the Penguin Workshop imprint. As a result, he resigned.”
On his blog, Castellano said the charges made it unworkable to stay at PRH. He wrote that Yi's "online campaign against me" created "an untenable disruption of business" and made it impossible for him to continue working at Penguin. He went on: "So it was with a heavy heart that I decided to resign. I now begin the work of restoring any damage done to my name and reputation while I continue to care for and support my wife and three small children."
Yi’s accusations against Castellano mark the second time this fall she has brought public attention to someone harassing her. In October, she accused comedian and actor David Cross of directing racist remarks at her a decade ago. After initially saying he couldn’t remember the incident, Cross said he did remember what occurred and offered Yi an apology.
This article has been updated with further information.