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Woody Allen’s Publisher Cancels His Memoir After Outrage and Staff Walkouts
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Hachette Book Group (HBG) has decided to cancel the planned release of Woody Allen’s autobiography ‘Apropos Of Nothing’ after its employees staged a walkout in New York and Boston to protest against the publication.

The publishing house announced its decision Friday, after an intense criticism both online and within the company.

“Hachette Book Group has decided that it will not publish Woody Allen’s memoir A Propos of Nothing, originally scheduled for sale in April 2020, and will return all rights to the author.” a spokeswoman for the publisher said in a statement.

  
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“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.”

Woody Allen’s estranged son, journalist Ronan Farrow, whose book “Catch and Kill” was published last year by Little, Brown, and Company, which is a division of Hachette, expressed his dismay about the book on Tuesday and said he would cut ties with the publisher.

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 “Your policy of editorial independence among your imprints does not relieve you of your moral and professional obligations as the publisher of ‘Catch and Kill,’ and as the leader of a company being asked to assist in efforts by abusive men to whitewash their crimes,” Farrow wrote to Michael Pietsch, the chief executive of Hachette.

Farrow, who extensively covered the accusations of sexual abuse against Harvey Weinstein and other powerful showbiz moguls, and therefore helped create the #MeToo movement, is Woody Allen’s son with actress Mia Farrow.   



His adopted sister, Dylan Farrow, has accused the Oscar-winning filmmaker of molesting her in 1992 when she was seven years old. 

Allen denied the allegations, which was investigated at the time but led to no criminal charges.

Dylan Farrow released a statement on Monday evening, in which she said in part: 

“Hachette’s publishing of Woody Allen’s memoir is deeply upsetting to me personally and an utter betrayal of my brother whose brave reporting, capitalized on by Hachette, gave voice to numerous survivors of sexual assault by powerful men… This provides yet another example of the profound privilege that power, money, and notoriety affords. Hachette’s complicity in this should be called out for what it is and they should have to answer for it.”

Ronan Farrow, who shared a Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service in 2018, accused the publisher of failing to fact check the Woody Allen book.

“My sister Dylan has never been contacted to respond to any denial or mischaracterization of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Woody Allen, a credible allegation maintained for almost three decades, backed up by contemporaneous accounts and evidence. It’s wildly unprofessional in multiple obvious directions for Hachette to behave this way. But it also shows a lack of ethics and compassion for victims of sexual abuse, regardless of any personal connection or breach of trust here,” he said.

In an interview on Tuesday, Pietsch defended the decision to publish Allen’s book and said the company’s imprints don’t interfere editorially with one another. 

“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,” he said. “That’s what they’ve chosen to publish.”

Following an intense backlash on Social Media, HBG employees both in New York and Boston took part in Thursday’s walkout. Many also sent out an auto-reply email that read: 

“This afternoon, the staff of Little, Brown, and Company have walked out of the Hachette New York offices in protest of the company’s decision to publish Woody Allen’s forthcoming memoir. We stand with Ronan and Dylan Farrow and survivors of sexual assault.”

Michael Pietsch said: “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.”

Following the #MeToo movement and Dylan Farrow’s accusations, the Annie Hall director has been largely shunned by Hollywood. Actors say they regret working with him, Amazon has backed out of a four-movie deal, and his attempts to sell his memoir have been rejected by four publishers.

After HBG’s announcement on Friday, both Farrows took to Social Media to show their appreciation.

‘I’m grateful to all the Hachette employees and authors who spoke up and to the company for listening.’ Ronan Farrow tweeted. 

Dylan Farrow said in a tweet on Friday that she is “in awe and so very grateful.”

“For someone who has felt alone in my story for so long, yesterday was a profound reminder of what a difference can be made when people stand and unite together for what’s right,” she said.

However, not everyone was thrilled with HBG’s decision to drop Allen’s memoir. Author Stephen King struck out at publisher Hachette on Twitter.

“The Hachette decision to drop the Woody Allen book makes me very uneasy,” King, the horror writer, said on Twitter. “It’s not him; I don’t give a damn about Mr. Allen. It’s who gets muzzled next that worries me.”



 

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