Advertisement

Woody Allen memoir publisher backs out after staff protest

U.S. director Woody Allen poses during a photocall in the northern Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian, where he will start shooting his yet-untitled next film, on July 9, 2019.
U.S. director Woody Allen poses during a photocall in the northern Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian, where he will start shooting his yet-untitled next film, on July 9, 2019. ANDER GILLENEA / AFP via Getty Images

Woody Allen’s publisher has decided to cancel the planned release of his memoir Apropos of Nothing.

Hachette Book Group (HBG) announced the news on Friday following days of criticism based on allegations that Allen sexually abused his daughter Dylan Farrow.

Dozens of Hachette employees staged a walkout on Thursday.

READ MORE: Ronan, Dylan Farrow condemn publisher over Woody Allen memoir

“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,” the publisher announced.

“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.

Story continues below advertisement

“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 the publication would not be feasible for HBG.”

Allen’s book was scheduled to come out next month.

According to the The New York Times, the French arm of Hachette, Éditions Stock, wants to proceed with publishing the book. The imprint’s director, Manuel Carcassonne, revealed the news.

“The American situation is not ours,” Carcassonne said. “Woody Allen is a great artist, director and writer, and his New York Jewish humour is evident in each line of this memoir, in its self-mockery, its modesty, its ability to dress up tragedy as comedy. Including at his expense. It’s unfortunate that this decision was made — unfortunate for freedom of expression but perfectly understandable in the American context.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Times notes that Hachette reverted all rights when it cancelled the book, including translation rights. Any of its international branches would have to re-approach Allen and his agent about possible publication.

Last week Allen was publicly criticized by two of his children, daughter Dylan Farrow and son, author-journalist Ronan Farrow.

Dylan Farrow on Woody Allen sexual abuse allegations
Dylan Farrow on Woody Allen sexual abuse allegations

Ronan distanced himself from the publisher of his latest book, Catch and Kill, after Hachette announced plans to publish Allen’s memoir.

He said the move “shows a lack of ethics and compassion for victims of sexual abuse.”

READ MORE: Woody Allen suing Amazon for $68M over killed movie deal

“I was disappointed to learn through press reports that Hachette, my publisher, acquired Woody Allen’s memoir after other major publishers refused to do so and concealed the decision from me and its own employees while we were working on Catch and Kill — a book about how powerful men, including Woody Allen, avoid accountability for sexual abuse,” Ronan said in his statement.

Story continues below advertisement

“Hachette did not 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.”

Soon-Yi Previn breaks silence, defends husband Woody Allen
Soon-Yi Previn breaks silence, defends husband Woody Allen

“It’s wildly unprofessional in multiple obvious directions for Hachette to behave this way,” Ronan wrote. “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 then “encouraged Hachette” to conduct “a thorough fact check” of Allen’s memoir, “in particular any claim that implies my sister is not telling the truth.”

“I’ve also told Hachette that a publisher that would conduct itself in this way is one I can’t work with in good conscience,” Ronan concluded.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Soon-Yi Previn defends husband Woody Allen in rare interview

Dylan Farrow, who alleged Allen molested her as a child in the early 1990s, called the upcoming release “deeply upsetting.” Allen has denied any wrongdoing, and he was never charged after two separate investigations.

“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,” Dylan said in a statement late Monday.

“For the record, I was never contacted by any fact checkers to verify the information in this ‘memoir,’ demonstrating an egregious abdication of Hachette’s most basic responsibility,” Dylan added.

She said her story has “undergone endless scrutiny and has never been published without extensive fact checking.”

“This provides yet another example of the profound privilege that power, money, and notoriety afford.”

She said that Hachette’s “complicity in this should be called out for what it is and they should have to answer for it.”

—With files from The Associated Press

Story continues below advertisement