Hachette won't publish Woody Allen’s memoir after staff walk-outs and celebrity backlash
Second update, March 6th: After receiving major backlash including a walk-out from employees, Hachette Book Group has released a statement saying that it will not publish Woody Allen’s memoir. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company decided to cancel the controversial book—which was set for an April release—after “extensive conversations” with staff and others. “After listening, we came to the conclusion that moving forward with publication would not be feasible for HBG,” the statement read in part.
Hachette also called the decision to not release the memoir “a difficult one,” noting that the company is intent on publishing “challenging” books that reflect “different voices and conflicting points of views.” Yet considering the uproar around the original reveal that Allen’s book would be released, which included powerful condemnations from Ronan and Dylan Farrow, it’s not surprising that Hachette reversed their decision.
Update, March 6th:Yesterday, March 5th, employees of Grand Central Publishing and Little, Brown—both imprints of Hachette Book Group—staged a walk-out in support of Ronan and Dylan Farrow, who both called out Hachette earlier this week after it was confirmed the publishing house would release Woody Allen’s memoir, Apropos of Nothing.
Though employees of both the New York and Boston Hachette offices led the charge, those associated with HBG through other imprints including Basic, Hachette Books, Forever, and Orbit, also joined the staged walkout. The point is to remind Hachette that the majority of their staff is not okay with the book group publishing a memoir by Dylan Farrow’s accused (and yet uncharged) sexual assaulter—especially when the book group published Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill last year.
“This afternoon, Grand Central Publishing employees are walking out of the Hachette New York office in protest of the publication of Woody Allen’s memoir,” read an email auto-reply from Grand Central employees’ email addresses, per Publishers Weekly. “We stand in solidarity with Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow, and survivors of sexual assault.”
Supporters also shared their solidarity via Twitter, including Dylan Farrow.
In an email to Michael Pietsch, the chief executive of Hachette, Ronan Farrow informed him that he can no longer, in good conscious, work with the group again. However, when asked by the New York Times if Hachette would pull Allen’s memoir off the docket due to backlash, Pietsch said no.
“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. That’s what they’ve chosen to publish,” he told the Times. “We respect and understand the perspective of our employees who have decided to express their concern over the publication of this book,” Pietsch said in a statement, per Publishers Weekly, regarding the walkout. “We will engage our staff in a fuller discussion about this at the earliest opportunity.”
Original Post, March 4th: On March 2nd, Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, announced it will be releasing Woody Allen’s upcoming memoir titled, Apropos of Nothing. The book chronicles “Allen’s life, both personal and professional, and describes his work in films, theater, television, nightclubs, and print,” Grand Central claims, per NBC News. Although it’s troubling that any publishing house would want to release the memoir of a notorious accused sexual assaulter, Allen’s accuser, step-daughter Dylan Farrow, and her brother Ronan Farrow feel personally betrayed.
Hachette Book Group also published Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill in 2019—”a book about how powerful men, including Woody Allen, avoid accountability for sexual abuse,” as Ronan Farrow detailed in a recent tweet.
“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 Farrow wrote in a March 2nd tweet.
She added that she was never contacted by fact-checkers to verify any information pertaining to her experiences with Allen that may appear in his memoir. “This provides yet another example of the profound privilege that power, money, and notoriety affords,” she wrote.
On March 3rd, Ronan Farrow, whose detailed reporting of Harvey Weinstein’s history of assault helped launch the #MeToo movement in 2017, provided his opinion pertaining to Hachette’s involvement in Allen’s memoir, writing that Hachette agreed to publish Apropos of Nothing while working with Farrow on Catch and Kill.
He stood up for his sister and added, “it’s wildly unprofessional in multiple obvious directions for Hachette to behave in this way,” and this action shows a “lack of ethics and compassion for victims of sexual abuse.”
Allen has denied Dylan’s accusations of sexual assault for decades, despite a prosecutor once stating that he had “probable cause” to prosecute Allen on assault charges, as NBC News noted. However, Allen has never been charged for his alleged crimes, and has continued to work within Hollywood.
Hachette Book Group allegedly picked up Allen’s memoir after several other publishers declined to take on the project due to Allen’s shady history, which makes the back-stabbing move all the more disgraceful. Luckily, many are standing by the Farrow siblings and agree that Hachette should be dragged for this problematic move.
We’re not sure who would want to read the memoir of an accused sexual assaulter. As for us, we’re on Dylan and Ronan Farrow’s side as they fight the act of injustice from Hachette Book Group.