Less than 24 hours after dozens of employees of Hachette Book Group staged a walkout in protest over next month’s scheduled publication of Woody Allen’s memoir, the company has pulled the plug on the Oscar winner’s book.
“Hachette Book Group has decided that it will not publish Woody Allen’s memoir Apropos of Nothing, originally scheduled for sale in April 2020, and will return all rights to the author,” said the umbrella company of imprint Grand Central Publishing today.
“The decision to cancel Mr. Allen’s book was a difficult one,” the Michael Pietsch-run publisher added of the book that was to hit shelves on April 7.
“At HBG we take our relationships with authors very seriously, and do not cancel books lightly,” HBG went on to say Friday. “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 Memoir Publication Spurs Hachette Employee Walkout; 'In Solidarity' With Ronan Farrow
Coming with that widely supported staff walkout on March 5 and a proclamation earlier this week by Catch & Kill author Ronan Farrow that he was exiting HBG over the publication of his estranged father’s book, the move by the publisher is still a dramatic shift in a short spell. While all rights are going back to the author, no word yet on what the financial blast radius will be for all parties. Also will Allen try to seek another outlet for a book that likely is already sitting in boxes on a loading dock somewhere?
Hard to tell, but Hachette were certainly more measured in their initial reaction on Thursday to the outrage. “We will engage our staff in a fuller discussion about this at the earliest opportunity,” the publisher said hours after around 75 staffers headed out of the 6th Avenue offices in NYC.
Representatives for Allen did not respond today for request for comment on the axing of Apropos of Nothing.
Manhattan director and star Allen has been tainted for decades by allegations from the filmmaker’s daughter Dylan that he molested her when she was a child. Having become widely shunned by the industry and talent in the #MeToo era, Allen has repeatedly denied the accusations, and notes that he was investigated by the authorities on multiple occasions and never charged.
Calling out the limits of those probes and the fact that a judge in 1992 called Allen’s behavior in regards to Dylan Farrow “grossly inappropriate,” Ronan Farrow has become a strong public supporter of his sister.
On Thursday, Dylan Farrow said online that she was “unbelievably overwhelmed and so incredibly grateful for the solidarity demonstrated” by the Hachette employees for taking their stance to the streets and the resulting backing from authors and others. We will update if Allen or either of the Farrows have a response to today’s axing of the memoir.
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